There could not be a more stark difference of opinion on three key issues facing the nation than the diametrically opposed views of Democrats and Republicans in Iowa, one of the critical states on the road to the White House and next year’s presidential election. While Connecticut’s primary may again be little more than a footnote in the selection process of presidential nominees, Iowa is the lead-off state, with its traditional and closely watched caucuses only a half-year away. The pivotal issues with partisan attitudes as different as night and day: income inequality, immigration and the battle against ISIS, according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll. And the differences do not stop there.
Income Inequality: Likely Republican caucus-goers say 70 - 25 percent that the federal government should not pursue policies to reduce the income gap between wealthy and less wealthy Americans. Likely Democratic caucus-goers say 91 - 6 percent that the federal government should try to reduce income inequality.
Immigration: Among Republicans, 46 percent say illegal immigrants should be required to leave, with 34 percent saying illegal immigrants should stay and be offered a path to citizenship and 17 percent say that they should stay, but with no path to citizenship. Among Democrats, 83 percent say illegal immigrants should be allowed to stay and apply for citizenship, while 9 percent say they should stay, but with no path to citizenship, and 8 percent say they should be required to leave.
Fighting ISIS: Republicans support 72 - 23 percent sending U.S. ground troops to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Democrats oppose sending troops 63 - 29 percent.
"Democrats and Republicans see completely different worlds," is how Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, described the findings. "Ideas that are part of Democratic orthodoxy are an anathema to Republicans, and vice versa. Democrats think illegal immigrants should be able to stay in the United States and eventually become citizens. Republicans don't. Democrats want government to pursue policies that are aimed at reducing the income gap between the wealthy and those lower on the income scale, Republicans say no."
By a resounding margin of 83 - 9 percent likely Republican caucus goers say that political experience outside Washington is better than inside experience; a majority of likely Democratic caucus attendees have the opposite view, but much more narrowly - 50 believe that political experience inside Washington is better than outside experience, 31 percent do not.
Another divergent view is evident when political party affiliates are asked whether business experience or government experience is preferable in the next president. Among Republicans, the split is 68 - 28 percent with most of the view that working in business is better preparation for a president than working in government. Democrats take the opposite view - by 76 - 14 percent they believe that government experience is better preparation for a president than business.
The only similarity of opinion comes when individuals are asked if the "right experience is better than fresh ideas" and "a candidate who comes closet to their views on issues is better than a candidate with the best chance" to defeat the opponent of the other party. The majority of would-be Iowa caucus goes in both parties agree with both statements, although Republicans do so more strongly.
The Connecticut presidential primary is scheduled for April 26, 2016. The Iowa caucuses are currently scheduled for Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, quickly followed by the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary on Feb. 9. The Nevada caucuses and the South Carolina primary will also be held by both parties in February. By April 26, more than half of the states will have held their caucuses or primaries, as the selection process for Republicans and Democrats continues on toward the respective party nominating conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia, next July.
From June 20 - 29, Quinnipiac University of Hamden, Connecticut surveyed 666 likely Iowa Republican Caucus participants with a margin of error of +/- 3.8 percentage points and 761 likely Iowa Democratic Caucus participants with a margin of error of +/- 3.6 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.