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Trump moral leadership less important to Republicans

Staff Writer |
Republicans are much less likely now than they were during the Bill Clinton years to say it is very important for the president to provide moral leadership for the U.S. Democrats.

On the other hand, they are more likely to believe moral leadership is important now, with Donald Trump in office, than they were under Clinton.

Across four polls conducted during the Clinton administration, an average of 72% of U.S. adults said it was very important for the president to provide moral leadership for the country.

A May 1-10 update of the question finds 66% of Americans holding that view.

The modest change at the national level obscures more significant shifts among partisans - a 23-percentage-point decline among Republicans and a 13-point increase among Democrats.

Both Clinton, a Democrat, and Trump, a Republican, faced substantial controversy during their presidential campaigns, and it followed them after they were elected president.

It appears that some partisans may discount the importance of the president providing moral leadership when a sitting president from their own party is under scrutiny.

At the same time, some supporters of the opposition party may magnify the importance of moral leadership when this is a weak area for the incumbent.

This turning of the tables is evident in the flip in Republican and Democratic views about the importance of the president providing a good moral role model between the Clinton and Trump eras.

Republicans, by 22 points, were much more likely than Democrats to say it was very important for the president to be a moral leader when Clinton was in office.

Now with Trump in office, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to hold this view, by 14 points.

Independents are slightly less likely now (62%) than during the Clinton years (69%) to regard presidential leadership on morals as important.

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