Poll: What do voters in each party want in a candidate?

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The latest CBS News Battleground Tracker takes a look at what — and who — would motivate voters to back a candidate.

For Republican voters, Trump-endorsed candidate — one who makes liberals angry — more likely to earn their vote

Trump endorsement viewed as asset among base, particularly frequent primary voters

For most Republicans, an endorsement by the former president is a plus for that candidate, and even more so among Republicans who say they "always" vote in Republican primaries, most of whom identify as MAGA Republicans.

A Trump endorsement doesn't have as much sway among Republicans who are less frequent primary voters, but on balance, an endorsement by the former president is a net positive for this group of Republicans, too.

2020 election still a factor for many Republicans

Beyond Trump himself, there is also a desire among many Republicans for a candidate who says President Joe Biden did not legitimately win the 2020 election, perhaps not surprisingly, as two-thirds of Republicans continue to say Biden did not legitimately win.

By almost four to one, Republicans would be more likely — rather than less likely — to back a candidate who says Mr. Biden did not legitimately win in 2020.

A mere 8% of Republicans would be more likely to back a candidate who says Mr. Biden legitimately won.

A candidate taking a public stance that Joe Biden legitimately won doesn't garner much support even among Republicans who think this is true — most say doing so will make no difference to them.

It's the Republicans who do not believe Mr. Biden legitimately won (two-thirds of whom call themselves "MAGA" Republicans) who likely make up a larger share of the GOP primary electorate. By double-digits, more say they always vote in GOP primaries compared to Republicans who believe Biden really did win in 2020.

Making liberals angry: A motivator for GOP, particularly MAGA Republicans

For Republican voters, a candidate who makes liberals angry appears to be just as much of a reason to back that candidate as an endorsement from Donald Trump. Fifty-three percent of Republicans say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate to make liberals angry, a figure that rises to 69% among MAGA Republicans.

We tested a range of potential candidate descriptors, including some that have been used by congressional candidates this year. For Republicans, a "MAGA Republican" would potentially be the most popular, with most saying they would back a candidate who described themselves that way. A "capitalist" would also be net positive. Calling oneself a Christian nationalist garners a very small net positive among Republicans overall, but encourages the strong support of the very conservative and self-described "MAGA Republicans.

What about Jan. 6?

Our polling has shown that while most Republicans disapprove of the actions of those who forced their way into the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, they do differ from the voters overall in their descriptions of what took place that day. More Republicans view it as patriotism, rather than an insurrection.

And by two one, Republicans tell us they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who criticized the events of that day.

For Democratic voters, most want a supporter of Biden's policies,  more of a factor than someone who makes conservatives angry

Democrats more likely to back progressive, Black Lives Matter supporter

Most Democratic voters would be more likely to vote for a candidate who described themselves as a "Black Lives Matter supporter, a "social justice" Democrat or as a progressive, and this is even more true of those who always vote in primaries. Most also want a candidate who generally supports President Biden's policies, which is far more important to them than a candidate who makes conservative angry, though the latter does appeal more to self-described progressives in the party.

This CBS News/YouGov Battleground Tracker survey was conducted with a nationally representative sample of 1,743 registered voters interviewed between July 27-29, 2022. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the U.S. Census American Community Survey and Current Population Survey, as well as to 2020 presidential vote. The margin of error is ± 3.0 points. The House seats estimates are based on a multilevel regression and post-stratification model incorporating voter responses to this survey. Each party's seat estimate has a margin of error of ±12 seats.

Toplines

Ex-Laker puts championship rings up for auction for Ukraine

80-year-old store owner shoots attempted robber

Biden names monkeypox response coordinator