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Voters Wonder Where Conservatives Are in Washington

Senator Rand Paul stood as a lone dissenting voice late last week as Senate leaders rammed through a bipartisan budget that dramatically increases military and domestic spending. The Kentucky Republican bemoaned the lack of conservatives in power right now, and a lot of voters agree with him.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 42% of Likely U.S. Voters agree with Paul’s statement: “When the Democrats are in power, Republicans appear to be the conservative party. But when Republicans are in power, it seems there is no conservative party.” Thirty-four percent (34%) disagree, but one-in-four voters (23%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Democrats (50%) agree with the statement more than Republicans (37%) and unaffiliated voters (40%) do.

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It is important to note that Rasmussen Reports’ question about the statement did not identify Paul as the one who said it.

Forty-two percent (42%) of all voters have a favorable opinion of Paul who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, while just as many (41%) view him unfavorably. This includes 11% with a Very Favorable opinion and 15% with a Very Unfavorable one.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted on February 11-12, 2018 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

The government shut down for five-and-a-half hours last Friday night as Congress wrestled with the budget, but voters would rather see a shutdown until Congress can cut spending.

Fifty-eight percent (58%) of Republicans view Paul favorably, compared to 25% of Democrats and 44% of unaffiliated voters.

Interestingly, there is little ideological difference of opinion over Paul’s statement about the lack of a conservative party when Republicans are in power. Moderates (47%) agree with it only slightly more than conservatives (40%) and liberals (41%) do.

Voters who Strongly Approve of the job President Trump is doing (43%) disagree with the statement more than those who Strongly Disapprove of his job performance (30%).

But voters who agree and disagree with the statement share similar views of Paul.

Voters in surveys over the years have tended to be fiscally conservative and socially liberal.

Republicans currently control both the House of Representatives and the Senate. But if elections for Congress were held today, 45% say they would vote for a Democratic candidate, while 37% would vote for a Republican.

Voters are closely divided, however, when asked if any of the major power players in Washington, D.C. have a plan for the country’s future.

Most voters in surveys for years have opted for a smaller government with fewer services and lower taxes over one with more services and higher taxes.

Seventy percent (70%) believe the unwillingness of politicians to cut government spending is more to blame for the size of the federal deficit than taxpayer’s unwillingness to pay more in taxes.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted on February 11-12, 2018 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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