Mar 25, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Exclusive: Trump pollster identifies top 7 issue groups within GOP

Data: Fabrizio, Lee & Associates; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The post-Trump Republican Party cares most about issues in seven key categories, with most prioritizing economic issues like job creation and limited government, according to a new survey conducted by former President Trump's chief 2016 and 2020 pollster.

Why it matters: The survey of 1,264 GOP voters comes as Republican lawmakers are struggling to navigate the future of the party amid a Democratic administration. It could help guide key messaging areas ahead of the 2022 midterms.

  • Survey respondents were given a list of 40 issues and asked to select the five most important to them. Republican polling firm Fabrizio, Lee & Associates then identified seven distinct “issue groups” from that data.


  1. Dollars & Cents GOP: These voters care most about a balanced federal budget, economic growth, taxes, international trade and limited government. Middle-aged men are concentrated here.
  2. Core GOP Conservatives: All GOP voters remaining who didn’t fit into the other categories. Considered "extremely conservative" and the "most committed GOPers." Care most about honesty in government.
  3. Don’t Tread on Me GOP: Heavily focused on personal and individual freedoms, such as privacy, gun rights and marijuana legalization. Top category for young men.
  4. Government-Friendly GOP: Least conservative of the seven groups, and consisting of older and more female voters. More likely to favor an involved government. Top issues include Social Security/Medicare, health care, coronavirus and education.
  5. Moralists: Top issues consist of abortion and religion-based values. The most female and conservative group.
  6. Border & Order GOP: Oldest group within the GOP. Prioritizes immigration and responds well to "law and order" messaging.
  7. Neo-Cons: Veterans are concentrated here. Favor large military and believe the U.S. should be "outward-facing on a global scale."

The backstory: This is the third time Fabrizio, Lee & Associates conducted a national study of Republican voters to determine the topology of the party; others were done in 1997 and 2007.

  • The group found the rise of Donald Trump has "somewhat diminished the importance of differences by issue," but it concluded, "There are still clear gaps on top issues that differentiate today’s GOP."

Methodology: Fabrizio, Lee & Associates conducted the nationwide survey of voters who are registered Republicans or affiliate as Republicans. The survey was conducted from Feb. 20 to March 2, 2021.

  • Respondents were randomly selected from the registered voter lists. The margin of sampling error at the 95% confidence is ±2.76%.
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