Gallup headlined on 28 January 2014, "Democrats and Republicans Differ on Top Priorities," and reported that the biggest difference between supporters of the two Parties concerned "The environment," where 71% of Democrats said it's important to them, versus only 32% of Republicans who did: a whopping difference of 39%, between the two Parties, considered that issue to be important. The second-biggest difference was on "The distribution of income and wealth": 72% of Democrats, versus only 38% of Republicans - a 34% difference. Third came "Poverty and homelessness": 82% of Democrats, versus 53% of Republicans - a 29% difference. Fourth came "Education": 91% of Democrats, versus 70% of Republicans - a 21% difference.
Here were the four issues on the conservative end, the four issues where Republicans scored the largest amount higher (more concerned) than Democrats: First, "The military and national defense": 76% of Republicans, versus 61% of Democrats - a 15% difference - considered that issue to be important. Second, "Taxes": 69% of Republicans, versus 56% of Democrats - a 13% difference. Third, "Terrorism": 77% of Republicans, versus 68% of Democrats - a 9% difference. Fourth, "Government surveillance of U.S. citizens": 45% of Republicans, versus 37% of Democrats - an 8% difference (but if the President had been a Republican, Democrats might have been more concerned about that issue than Republicans would have been).
Clearly, selfish fears swept concerns on the Republican side, whereas concerns for others (and especially the weak) swept concerns on the Democratic side.
One can therefore reasonably infer from this survey that the main difference between Democrats and Republicans is the difference between compassion versus psychopathy.
If these findings are accurate, then one will expect that in political primary elections, where candidates make their appeals to members of their own Party, Democratic candidates will compete with one another mainly on the basis of their proposals for improving things for everyone but especially for the most vulnerable; whereas Republican candidates will compete with one another mainly on the basis of their proposals for improving things for their individual voters. And, in the general election, one will expect that the Democratic nominee will have been chosen on the basis of his concern for everyone, while the Republican nominee will have been chosen on the basis of his concern for Republicans.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.