Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders might both be outsider, anti-establishment candidates — but policy-wise, their supporters don't agree on much.
A new survey from the Pew Research Center asked supporters of the five remaining presidential candidates where they fall on various major issues. And on pretty much every issue tested, as the below chart shows, Sanders and Trump supporters have more in common with the other people in their party than they do with each other.
Plenty of pundits have seized on the notion that Trump and Sanders have succeeded because they channel an economic populism that both major parties have eschewed. A lot of Americans are feeling left behind by the 21st-century globalized economy, and both candidates promise to protect them from it.
Trump and Sanders do share both a populist tone and some populist economic positions: a protectionist approach to trade, the belief that the government should guarantee health care, and a distrust of foreign intervention.
Their supporters might be attracted to the populist tone. And as the chart shows, Sanders and Trump do attract the voters who are most skeptical of US intervention abroad. But the supporters don't necessarily agree with the candidates when it comes to issues of economic populism.
Instead, Sanders voters generally fall somewhat to the left of Clinton voters — indicating that they're the leftward wing of the Democratic Party, rather than a new electoral coalition.
In particular, a majority of Sanders voters believe that "free trade is good for the US" — a pretty unpopulist proposition — and they're only slightly more skeptical of free trade than Clinton voters are. And even though Sanders says his belief that "health care is a right" is an important difference between him and Clinton, his voters are, if anything, less likely to believe that providing health care is the government's responsibility.
Trump's voters aren't quite as straightforward: While they're predictably to the right of the rest of the candidates on racial issues (involving immigration and Muslims), they're every bit as supportive of Social Security as Sanders and Clinton voters are.
And while Sanders supporters aren't much more skeptical of free trade than Clinton supporters are, Trump voters are much more likely to oppose free trade than the rest of their party.
But when it comes to Trump's most flagrant break with Republican orthodoxy — his belief that the government should guarantee health care — his voters just aren't there. Only 14 percent of Trump voters believe it's the government's responsibility to provide health care. That makes them only a little more open to government-guaranteed health care than supporters of Ted Cruz.
This isn't to say that there aren't any similarities between the Sanders and Trump candidacies, or that their supporters aren't both responding to the feeling that finally they're not being ignored. But it's a reminder that voters' feelings aren't necessarily linked to their policy preferences. The story of why "Washington" failed to understand how well Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump would do, and how the parties can tap into that enthusiasm, is a little more complicated than getting the parties to change a few planks in their platforms.