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Poll: Sending Troops to U.S.-Mexico Border Is Popular. Other GOP Policy Planks Are Struggling.

The latest NBC News poll tests 11 different proposals and issues Republican presidential candidates are campaigning on so far — and the recent push on using the military at the border is resonating with general election voters, though they are down on several other high-profile policy planks. 

The most popular position tested, both among all registered voters and Republican primary voters, is deploying the U.S. military to the Mexican border to stop illegal drugs from entering the country, with 55% of all voters and 86% of GOP primary voters saying they’d be more likely to vote for a candidate supporting this position.

It was the only proposition that received majority support from poll respondents, and candidates are already promoting platforms similar to this on the campaign trail. On Monday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was at the the Southern border rolling out his agenda, which included the use of “deadly force” against migrants suspected of carrying drugs into the U.S.

The least popular position is cutting Medicare and Social Security to ease the federal deficit. Several candidates have ruled out touching those programs, while others, like former Vice President Mike Pence, have spoken broadly about long-term changes to Medicare and Social Security. DeSantis, meanwhile, has taken heat over congressional votes in favor of budget proposals that included major changes to Medicare — but more recently said on Fox News, “We are not going to mess with Social Security as Republicans.”

Just 12% of all respondents say they would be more likely to support someone who wants to reduce entitlements, with just 19% of GOP primary voters saying the same.

A position associated with DeSantis and his ongoing feud with Disney — threatening “to penalize or financially harm businesses that make statements on LGBTQ and other issues that they do not agree with” — fared almost as badly with general election voters. Just 12% of respondents said that made them more likely to support a candidate, while 70% said less likely.

Meanwhile, a majority of GOP voters say they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supports providing more funding and weapons to Ukraine.

While the only proposition that receives majority support from all respondents was about sending troops to the Southern border, a variety of the other policy positions earned support from a majority of Republican primary voters.

Seventy-six percent of Republican voters say they would be more likely to support a candidate who says we should not allow K-8 teachers to discuss sexual orientation or gender identity with students, and 70% would they would be more likely to vote for someone who supports states banning transgender adolescents from taking puberty-blocking medication.

Both of these positions are already law in several states led by Republicans.

Additionally, 40% of Republican primary voters say they would be more likely to vote for someone who says that former President Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election. Twenty-nine percent of GOP respondents say they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who said the same.

A key split on abortion

A slim majority of GOP primary voters, 52%, say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports banning abortion after the first six weeks of pregnancy.

But this position finds little favor among general election voters, including the subset of voters in swing states. Fifty-five percent of swing state voters say they would be less likely to vote for someone who supports banning abortion that early, while 31% of swing-state respondents say that position would make them more likely to vote for someone.

DeSantis signed a six-week abortion ban in Florida earlier this year, but he hasn’t yet outlined a proposed federal policy. Others, like South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, have supported a 15-week abortion ban on the federal level, though Scott has also said he’d support the most conservative legislation on abortion that Congress could pass.

The only policy platforms that are more unpopular with swing state voters than banning abortion after six weeks are believing that Trump won the 2020 election; saying that they would pardon all rioters who overtook the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021; threatening to financially harm businesses over statements on LGBTQ and other issues; and reducing Social Security and Medicare to address the federal deficit