GOP candidates’ anti-'wokeness' crusades 'may be losing their punch' with voters: report

GOP candidates’ anti-'wokeness' crusades 'may be losing their punch' with voters: report
ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA - JULY 17: Republican presidential candidate Florida Governor Ron DeSantis departs after delivering remarks at the 2023 Christians United for Israel (CUFI) summit on July 17, 2023 in Arlington, Virginia. For this year's summit, CUFI hosted 2024 Republican Presidential Candidate hopefuls to speak amidst other pro-Israel activists . (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images).

Editor's note: This story has been changed to include additional clarifying language.

Thrice-indicted former President Donald Trump's domination of the 2024 Republican presidential primary field remains, and new polling suggests that a key reason is increased displeasure among GOP voters toward right-wing culture wars. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, for example, has championed limits on what can be taught in public schools, opposed to LGBTQ+ equality, and engaged in an economic spat with The Walt Disney Company as principal rallying cries of his White House campaign. But according toNew York Times correspondent Jonathan Weisman, that approach is failing.

"Attacks on 'wokeness' may be losing their punch," Weisman reported on Sunday. "The term has become a quick way for candidates to flash their conservative credentials, but battling 'woke' may have less political potency than they think. Though conservative voters might be irked at modern liberalism, successive New York Times/Siena College polls of Republican voters nationally and then in Iowa found that candidates were unlikely to win votes by narrowly focusing on rooting out left-wing ideology in schools, media, culture and business."

Rather, Weisman explained that "Republican voters are showing a 'hands off' libertarian streak in economics, and a clear preference for messages about 'law and order' in the nation's cities and at its borders."

READ MORE: 'What a joke': Newsom spox pans DeSantis’ debate proposal as evidence of 'insecurity and ineptitude'

Weisman recalled that in June, Trump said in Iowa that 'I don't like the term 'woke'" and that 'it's just a term they use — half the people can't even define it, they don't know what it is.'"

Weisman found that "the Times' polls suggest Mr. Trump may be right. Social issues like gay rights and once-obscure jargon like 'woke' may not be having the effect many Republicans had hoped."

Weisman noted that "when presented with the choice between two hypothetical Republican candidates" in the Times/Sienna Collegesurvey, "only 24 percent of national Republican voters opted for 'a candidate who focuses on defeating radical ‘woke’ ideology in our schools, media and culture' over 'a candidate who focuses on restoring law and order in our streets and at the border.'"

Furthermore, Weisman continued, "around 65 percent said they would choose the law and order candidate," while "among those 65 and older, often the most likely age bracket to vote, only 17 percent signed on to the 'anti-woke' crusade. Those numbers were nearly identical in Iowa, where the first ballots for the Republican nominee will be cast on Jan. 15."

READ MORE: DeSantis’ 'hostile' laws have 'been absolutely devastating' to Florida’s convention business: report

View Weisman's analysis at this link (subscription required).

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