Apr 21, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Poll: GOP voters say fighting "woke" ideology more important than stopping Social Security cuts

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a news conference after signing HB 7, known as the âStop Woke Act,❠in Hialeah Gardens, Florida, on April 22, 2022.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a news conference after signing HB 7 in Hialeah Gardens, Florida on April 22, 2022. Photo: Daniel A. Varela/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Most Republican primary voters say fighting "woke" ideology in schools and businesses is more important to them than protecting Medicare and Social Security from cuts, a new Wall Street Journal poll out today showed.

Driving the news: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), a potential 2024 candidate, has made conservative cultural issues in education a central part of his agenda, a move the poll indicates could help him with the GOP's most ardent supporters.

  • He signed into law a ban on the instruction of gender and sexuality in elementary school, which was recently expanded to include middle and high school.
  • He also signed the "Stop WOKE" Act which would ban classroom and corporate trainings that make students or employees feel discomfort over their race. (The bill has been temporarily blocked by a federal judge.)

The big picture: Former President Trump has attacked DeSantis over his past support for changes to Social Security and Medicare.

  • But 55% of Republicans say that fighting "woke ideology in our schools and businesses" is more important than protecting entitlement programs from cuts, per the Journal poll.
  • 27% of Republican voters say protecting Social Security and Medicare benefits from cuts is more important to them.
  • However, 49% of all voters said they would support a candidate who pledged to keep entitlements as they are rather than push for cuts.

Zoom out: The poll also shows DeSantis trailing Trump 51% to 38% among likely Republican voters in a hypothetical matchup.

  • That's a marked change from December, when the Florida governor led led Trump 52% to 38% in a hypothetical matchup, per the WSJ.
  • In a potential field of 12 Republican candidates, Trump wins 48% of support to DeSantis' 24% among likely Republican primary voters, 13% of which say they are undecided.

Methodology: The Journal poll was conducted April 11-17 by Impact Research and Fabrizio, Lee & Associates. The poll is based on a sample of 1,500 registered voters, with a margin of error of ± 2.5 percentage points.

  • The margin of error was ±4 percentage points among a sample of 600 likely Republican primary voters.

Go deeper... The DeSantis conundrum

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