While everyone was distracted with Donald Trump's comments on Muslims and Cruz's polling numbers in Iowa, we decided to put our team of PhD Sociologists to the task over the last 72 hours. They studied over 4,000 self-identified Republicans online, deconstructing their social and political values, brand affiliations, beliefs towards politics, and their overall sense of agency including what motivation they had to take action on issues affecting their community and country.
What did we find?
ENGAGED REPUBLICANS: 35% of Republicans are very politically engaged and active, especially in their local communities. They care the most about those candidates who they feel will protect American Exceptionalism. That is, they want a leader who will remove the obstacles that are getting in the way of America competing with other emerging and established global powers.
Right now, the rational, hot-button issue is national security, and this group wants a leader that can take a definitive stance on the issue. But what is emotionally important to this cohort revolves around reviving American Exceptionalism, so that America can get back to focusing on what is important for the prosperity of its citizens -- leading in science, technology, manufacturing and more.
The best part? This "35% of Republicans" is highly influential and always gets the vote out. Which means winning over this group can mean winning over the Republican base in general.
DISENGAGED REPUBLICANS: 40% of Republicans are heavily influenced by sensationalism, and tend to engage with simple issues and narratives. They are predominantly Trump supporters today, but, they are also politically disengaged and have the lowest voter turnout rates among self-identified Republicans. Interestingly enough, this group is also indecisive, and is often influenced by members of the first cohort (aka the "Engaged Republicans").
What did we learn?
The candidate who positions himself/herself as the coach that isn't afraid to make tough decisions, that removes the barriers standing in the way of America's success at the world stage, will win the debate. This candidate will win over the hearts and minds of Engaged Republicans - a group that we believe will shape the primaries and set the tone for the 2016 elections.
Click here to download an infographic summarizing our research findings.
Ujwal is the co-founder of MotivIndex.com, the leader in Digital Motivation Research.