There’s two things that Republican voters seem to really agree on, according to a new Pew Poll: They know they need to change to win the White House, and they like Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).
A full two-thirds (67 percent) of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, the poll finds, agree the party “needs to make major changes” in order to do better in future presidential elections, with 59 percent agreeing that it needs to “reconsider some positions.”
However, a slight majority of Tea Party members and sympathizers — 51 percent — say that the party should simply make a stronger case for existing stands. While only 37 percent of Republican-leaning voters identify with the Tea Party, that group makes up 49 percent of those who are most likely to vote in a primary.
A majority of Republicans, 54 percent, say the party should be more conservative, but the party is nearly split in thirds when asked if elected Republicans had compromised too much, too little or just right. Most Tea Partiers, however, think leaders have compromised too much.
Given that most congresspeople and senators occupy safe seats, they’re far more likely to lose in a primary election than to a Democratic opponent, which means Tea Party opinions will probably drive the GOP agenda even as its popularity wanes with Republicans.