No Shades of Purple for PA Convention Delegates

Columnist : Lincoln Institute

Democrats and Republicans find little common ground 

Harrisburg (PA) – Pennsylvania is a battleground state in the upcoming Presidential election. If a recent Lincoln Institute survey of Delegates and Alternate Delegates to the Republican and Democrat national conventions is any barometer of their party’s overall views, the divide between the two sides is wide and unbridgeable.

U.S. military action in Iraq remains a flashpoint between the two sides. And while Democrat Presidential Nominee John Kerry has voiced support for the initial military action, PA Delegates to the recent Democrat National Convention disagree. Ninety-one percent of the Democrat Delegates say American intervention in Iraq was not justified. Conversely, 96% of Republicans agree with President George W. Bush that the intervention was necessary.

Republican Delegates and Alternate Delegates largely believe (84%) that America ‘s intelligence gathering abilities have improved since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 , but just 17% of Democrats hold that view. Additionally, 80% of the Republican Delegates feel America is safer and less likely to suffer another catastrophic terrorist attack as a result of the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, only 11% of Democrat Delegates are in agreement.

There is agreement that U.S. intervention in Afghanistan was justified with 100% of the Republican Delegates support that move, and 77% of the Democrats in agreement. Delegates for the two parties also came close to agreement on the need for America to expand its military resources, with 75% of Republicans and 57% of Democrats saying our armed forces need more resource.

Republicans and Democrats also parted ways on their view of the U.S. economy. Ninety-six percent of Republican Delegates say the U.S. economy is on the right track, while 94% of Democrats say the economy is seriously off in the wrong direction. Sixty-five percent of Republicans voice support for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), while 52% of Democrats opposed the agreement. Seventy-four percent of Republicans would support a constitutional amendment to require a balanced Federal budget, while just 48% of Democrats would back such a proposal.

The gulf on social issues is also wide. A proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman garnered support from 76% of Republican Delegates, while 82% of Democrat Delegates oppose the proposed amendment.

On their overall philosophy regarding the Federal government, 53% of Republicans said they view Federal government as an adversarial force when it comes to helping people solve their problems, with 25% offering no opinion on the question. Conversely, 69% of Democrat Delegates said the Federal government is a positive force in helping people in need.

Seventy-nine percent of the Democrats and Alternate Delegates to the upcoming Republican National Convention view themselves as conservatives – with 24% labeling themselves “very conservative.” Another 18% of the Republicans claimed to be “moderates,” with just 2% proclaiming a liberal bent. Conversely, 42% of Democrat Delegates and Alternates labeled themselves liberal – 11% saying they are “very liberal”. Forty-six percent of Democrats called themselves moderates, while just 6% said they are conservatives.

The Lincoln Institute poll of Delegates and Alternate Delegates to the Republican and Democrat national conventions also included a number of questions on state-level issues. Complete numeric results of the poll can be found on-line at and at .