Ripon Society Releases Results of 6th Annual National Survey

Poll finds that GOP has a clear advantage on the issues, but neither party has a majority of the electorate’s trust

WASHINGTON, DC – With Republicans coming off a strong performance in last month’s elections and the mid-term elections less than 12 months away, The Ripon Society today released the results of its 6th Annual National Survey, a poll which, among other things, found that the GOP has a clear advantage on the issues, but neither party has captured a majority of the electorate’s trust.   

Among the poll’s key findings:

  • Voters in the political center, that is voters who are not very conservative Republicans nor very liberal Democrats, comprise fully seventy-two percent (72%) of the electorate.
  • President Biden has a job approval rating of forty-six percent (46%) approve and forty-nine percent (49%) disapprove.  There is a remarkable level of polarization in this assessment. Forty percent (40%) of voters and seventy-eight percent (78%) of Republicans approve of President Biden’s job performance on zero issues. Just under one-quarter (24%) of voters and forty-nine percent (49%) of Democrats approve of President Biden’s job performance on every issue tested.
  • However, President Biden has notably more goodwill among centrists. They give him a majority approval rating overall (50%) as well as majority approval ratings on jobs (52%) and education (51%). This gives him a strong opportunity to use this goodwill with this significantly sized segment of the electorate to pursue solutions, particularly on the critical issues of jobs and education.
  • The upcoming elections for control of Congress have a similar dynamic. Republicans have the advantage on most of the issues and on issues likely to be important in the 2022 cycle like the economy, cost of living, jobs, and inflation. However, neither party has the trust of the majority of the electorate on any of these issues.
Issue handlingGOP in CongressDEM in Congress
The economy48%42%
The cost of living48%42%
Dealing with COVID-1935%48%
  • There was also a similar level of polarization on this measure. Twenty-eight percent (28%) of voters and a majority of Republicans (59%) select the GOP in Congress on every issue. Thirty-one percent (31%) of voters and more than three-in-four Democrats (77%) select the Democrats in Congress on every issue. So, a majority of voters (59%) select one of the parties in Congress on every issue tested.
  • However, among centrists, Democrats have the advantage on the additional issues of cost of living and jobs along with majority support of education (52%) and dealing with COVID-19 (51%). Even with a political environment that favors the GOP this measure demonstrates that Republican candidates will need to make an affirmative case about the merits of their policies. Victory is not assured by party affiliation.

The Ripon Survey poll also found strong support around a range of policy proposals aimed at solving some of the most pressing challenges the American people face, from strengthening mental health care to reining in government growth.

ProposalApprove  (All voters)Approve (Centrists)
Providing incentives for health insurance companies and employers to provide more benefits and services for mental health programs.85%86%
Promoting private sector programs that lower emissions and lower the cost of energy.74%76%
Reducing burdensome regulations on businesses in order to promote job growth. 72%73%
Reforming federal spending by creating an independent committee of experts to eliminate federal programs that are no longer needed.72%73%
Providing federal funding so every child can attend pre-school for free. 71%75%
Reforming health insurance by ending surprise billing, a practice where a patient is billed an out of network rate even though they get treatment at a facility in their network. 70%70%
Reforming the tax code to make certain wealthy individuals and corporations pay more in taxes.67%71%
Allowing parents to receive Social Security benefits early so they can take up to four weeks paid leave after they have a child. 62%64%
Experiment with a performance-based funding model in K-12 education, rewarding schools for producing successful graduates.59%59%

The poll of 800 voters was conducted on November 13-18 by Ed Goeas and Brian Nienaber of the Tarrance Group.  In their analysis of the results, the pair said that the poll revealed one other key thing about the American people, as well.

“Voters are ready for solutions,” Goeas and Nienaber write, “and they are clearly frustrated by the lack of achievements by the Biden administration and the Democratic controlled Congress. This frustration provides a strategic opening for Republican candidates across the country. However, these GOP candidates cannot simply be against Biden and his Congressional allies. These GOP candidates need to be for solutions, particularly well-received ones.

“It is not enough to be the party of ‘no’. Republicans need to be the party that can pivot the country to pursuing popular solutions that benefit so many. Wins will need to be earned by offering better solutions.”

Links to their analysis and the slide deck from the poll can be found below:

The Ripon Society is a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 – Ripon, Wisconsin. One of the main goals of The Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s success. These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.