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Poll: GOP voters see party as divided, Democrats see party as united

Trump vs. Clinton

By Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus and Anthony Salvanto

The Republicans and Donald Trump

As the convention approaches, most Republican voters are at least satisfied with Donald Trump as the Republican nominee, though just a quarter are excited and 36 percent are disappointed or upset. More than half of those who supported a candidate other than Trump are disappointed or upset.

Six in 10 Republican voters feel Donald Trump represents their party's core principles and values, though about a third (35 percent) does not. While Trump primary voters overwhelmingly think Trump represents the core values of the Republican Party, those who voted for someone else in the primary tend to disagree.

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But when it comes to the future direction of the Republican Party, most Republican voters think Republican leaders in Congress should have more influence than their party's presumptive nominee.

Nevertheless, three in four Republican voters think leaders of the Republican Party should support Trump even if they disagree with him on important issues. Even those who voted for someone other than Trump think their party's leaders should get behind their nominee.

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Most Republicans voters don't have much of an appetite for a convention-floor challenge to the Trump nomination. Six in 10 Republican voters think that delegates to the Republican Convention should be bound to vote for the candidate they were chosen to represent based on primary election results, while just 38 percent think they should be able to vote for a different candidate.

The Democrats and Hillary Clinton

Just like her Republican counterpart, most Democratic registered voters are at least satisfied with Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee -- though only a quarter say they are excited, and just a third of those who supported Clinton in the primaries are excited. Most Sanders voters are not satisfied - 47 percent say they are disappointed and another 17 percent are upset about Clinton as the Democratic nominee.

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Nearly three in four Democratic voters think Hillary Clinton shares the core values and principles of the Democratic Party, though Sanders voters are divided.

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Democratic voters think Sanders supporters should support Hillary Clinton even if they disagree with her on important issues. Most of the interviewing for this poll took place before Bernie Sanders officially endorsed Hillary Clinton for President on Monday.

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CBS News/New York Times poll

But 86 percent of Democratic voters also think Sanders should have at least some influence on the ideas and proposals that are included in the Democratic Party's platform at the convention, including a third who think he should have a lot of influence.

Party Unity and Views of the Parties

Fully eight in 10 Republican voters see the Republican Party as divided. In contrast, 58 percent of Democratic registered voters think the Democratic Party is united - up eight points from May.

Voters have largely unfavorable views of both parties. Sixty-two percent of voters have an unfavorable view of the Republican Party, while 55 percent view the Democratic Party unfavorably.

Partisans tend to view their own party favorably, but Democrats are more likely than Republicans to see their party in a favorable light. Sixty-five percent of Republicans view their own party favorably, compared to 80 percent of Democrats who have a positive view of the Democratic Party.

Gender in the Campaign

Hillary Clinton is the first woman to be a major party candidate for president, but most registered voters don't think this will play much of a factor in the presidential election. While twice as many voters think Clinton's gender will help (30 percent) rather than hurt (14 percent) her chances, 56 percent don't think her gender will make a difference.

First Spouses

Former President Bill Clinton remains popular. Among voters overall, views of him are more positive (45 percent) than negative (37 percent) - and they are especially favorable among Democratic voters. Still, Bill Clinton's favorable rating is 21 points lower than his all-time high of 66 percent, right after he spoke on behalf of Barack Obama at that the 2012 Democratic Convention.

If Hillary Clinton becomes president, it will mark the first instance of a former President as a "First Spouse". Most Democratic voters -- 58 percent -- would like to see former President Bill Clinton have at least some influence on the decisions Hillary Clinton makes as president, though just one in five thinks he should have a great deal of influence.

Few registered voters have an opinion of Melania Trump, the potential First Lady in a Donald Trump presidency. Sixty-nine percent are undecided or haven't heard enough about her to have an opinion.


This poll was conducted by telephone July 8-12, 2016 among a random sample of 1,600 adults nationwide, including 1,358 registered voters. Data collection was conducted on behalf of CBS News and the New York Times by SSRS of Media, PA. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones.

The poll employed a random digit dial methodology. For the landline sample, a respondent was randomly selected from all adults in the household. For the cell sample, interviews were conducted with the person who answered the phone.

Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish using live interviewers.

The data have been weighted to reflect U.S. Census figures on demographic variables.

The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The margin of error for the sample of registered voters is three points. The error for subgroups may be higher and is available by request. The margin of error includes the effects of standard weighting procedures which enlarge sampling error slightly.

This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.


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