While some of the 2016 candidates questioned the fairness of the presidential nominating process, a majority of American voters have a different opinion. Although each party employs different nomination rules, an identical 59 percent majority of Democrats and 59 percent of Republicans think that the process for selecting their presidential nominee is fair.
These results are from the latest NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking Poll conducted online from May 30 through June 5 of 9,240 adults who say they are registered to vote.
Throughout the primary process, it was clear that both Trump and Sanders did well with independent voters when they were allowed to participate. It is important to note that in some states, unaffiliated or independent voters can participate in either party’s primary or caucus, and in other states only those registered as belonging to a specific party can participate. Several groups on either side of the aisle think the process should be limited to party members. Many of Ted Cruz’s supporters, for example, are going to the Republican convention to try to limit participation in primary contests to only registered Republicans. This week’s Election Tracking Poll also asked if primaries should be open or closed.
When asked if Republican primaries and caucuses should be open to all voters regardless of party registration or if only registered Republicans should be able to participate, Republicans and Republican-leaning voters were fairly split, 47 percent (registered Republicans only) to 52 percent (any registered voter).
On the Democratic side, however, two-thirds of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters said primaries and caucuses should be open to any registered voter regardless of their party affiliation. Just 35 percent said Democratic primaries and caucuses should only be open to registered Democrats.
While some political elites seem to have complaints about the system, the voters overall on both sides think the process is fair. A majority of voters on both sides also think the primary contests should be open to both registered party members and those who are not. While the country is highly polarized attitudinally, there does seem to be some agreement across the parties that the presidential nomination process is fair.
The NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking poll was conducted online May 30 through June 5, 2016 among a national sample of 10,520 adults aged 18 and over, including 9,240 who say they are registered to vote. Respondents for this non-probability survey were selected from the nearly three million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. Results have an error estimate of plus or minus 1.4 percentage points. For full results and methodology for this weekly tracking poll, please click here.