Voters Trust GOP More Than Democrats on 8 Out of 10 Issues

By Matt Cover | March 9, 2010 | 4:57 PM EST

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., left, talks with Sen. John Cornyn, D-Texas, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 9, 2010, as they walk to McConnell's office, following the weekly caucus luncheons. (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)

( – Republicans appear to be winning the battle of ideas, according to a Rasmussen Reports survey of American voters that found the GOP is trusted more than Democrats on eight out of 10 policy issues.
The survey, released on March 5, shows that Republicans are trusted more than Democrats on issues ranging from the economy to abortion. 
The issue at the forefront of Americans’ minds – although not at the top of Congress’ agenda – is the economy, where a plurality of the public, 46 percent, trust Republicans, the survey found.
Only 41 percent of Americans trust Democrats more on the economy, marking a major turnaround during a year of rising unemployment despite nearly $800 billion in federal stimulus spending. At the start of President Barack Obama’s first term, January 2009, Democrats enjoyed a nine-point lead over Republicans on the issue.
Republicans are also trusted more, and by a similar margin, on what has become Obama’s and the Democrats’ signature issue: health care. Forty-five percent of Americans trust Republicans on health care issues, while only 42 percent put their faith in Democrats.
That gap widens among independents, who trust Republicans 45-to-29 percent over Democrats.
On taxes, Republicans hold an 11-point lead over Democrats, 48 to 37 percent. This gap has narrowed since February, the survey found, when Republicans enjoyed a 16-point advantage.
Republicans have a 10-point lead on national security issues, despite the fact that the Obama administration has continued many Bush-era policies and has increased U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan.
Rasmussen found that 47 percent of Americans place their trust in Republicans on national security issues compared with only 37 percent who trust Democrats.
Republicans have a smaller advantage on the more narrow issue of the war in Iraq, with 42 percent of the public trusting the GOP and only 38 percent putting more faith in Democrats.
Neither party earns much trust on the issue of immigration, though Republicans hold a slight advantage there as well. Thirty-nine percent of Americans have more faith in Republicans, while 34 percent place more trust in Democrats on the issue.
(A separate Rasmussen Reports poll found that 67 percent of Americans think that illegal immigrants place a “significant strain” on the federal budget.)
Americans also trust Republicans over Democrats by a small margin on Social Security, with 42 percent saying they trust the GOP and 38 percent saying they trust Democrats.
Surprisingly, Rasmussen reported an identical split on a different social issue: abortion.
Previous surveys had shown Republicans with a wide margin on the contentious issue; a margin which has shrunk to a mere four-point divide. Forty-two percent of Americans told Rasmussen they trusted Republicans more on the issue, while 38 percent said they put more trust in Democrats.
Democrats enjoyed a lead over Republicans on two issues: education and government ethics.
Americans reported that they trusted Democrats more than Republicans – 41 percent to 38 percent – on education issues, a finding that Rasmussen reported had swung back from a four-point Republican advantage in its previous survey.
Americans also said they had more faith that Democrats would run a more ethical government than Republicans. From the “likely voters” surveyed, 35 percent put more faith in the Democrats compared to 28 percent who trusted Republicans more to run an ethical government – 27 percent said they did not know who they trusted to run government ethically.
For these results, two surveys of 1,000 likely voters were conducted by Rasmussen Reports Feb. 27 - March 2, 2010. The margin of error for each survey was plus or minus three percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.