Pollster: Trump’s feud with the Koch brothers shows ‘fissures’ between conservatives, libertarians

Pollster Emily Ekins said Wednesday that President Trump’s feud with Republican mega-donors Charles and David Koch has put a spotlight on the differences between conservatives and libertarians. 

“Charles and David Koch are libertarians, and that’s different from conservative in many ways,” Ekins, who is the polling director at the libertarian Cato Institute, told Hill.TV’s Joe Concha on “What America’s Thinking.” 

“Conservatives and libertarians are very similar on having a lot less regulation than we have, limited government, free markets, but they have different opinions on immigration, criminal justice reform and, in some instances, free trade,” she continued.  

“So we’re seeing those fissures come about because President Trump, he has kind of deemphasized issues of limited government, at least his rhetoric, and he’s focused more on immigration, trade, and those issues,” she said. “Those are the areas in which libertarians and conservatives are often at odds.”

Conservative pollster Brett Loyd, president and CEO of the Polling Company, took aim at the Koch network, which he considers to be conservative-leaning.

“In campaign politics circles, President Trump’s absolutely right here over the past two years or so, Koch industries and their PAC, and political arm have been disarray,” Loyd told Concha. 

Trump slammed the Kochs in a tweet on Wednesday after their political network, Americans for Prosperity, announced it would not support Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) in his Senate bid against incumbent Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.). 

Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips cited Cramer’s support for the Export-Import Bank, the farm bill and the $1.3 trillion spending package for the decision not to back the Republican candidate.

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