2012 US Election: How do the Democratic and Republican platforms differ?


Day two of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on September 5, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.


Joe Raedle

A recent Pew Research Center poll suggested that Americans were more interested in the Republican Party's platform than in the content of Mitt Romney's convention speech, according to CNN. The survey showed that 52 percent of Americans were interested in the platform, as compared to 46 percent who were interested in Romney's speech.

As the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina gears up to hear President Barack Obama accept his party's nomination Thursday night, here's a closer look at the platforms of both parties and how they compare.

The Republican platform, which was approved during the Republican National Convention, was widely noted to represent a shift to the right for the party. Most notably, on social issues, the platform hewed conservative, making no exceptions for abortions in cases of rape or incest and strictly defining marriage as "the union of one man and one woman."

The Democratic platform, on the other hand, included support for same-sex marriage for the first time, stating, "We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples." It also reaffirmed the party's support for abortion rights.

Time noted that the GOP platform included support for an annual audit of the Federal Reserve —a hat tip to Ron Paul — and adopted vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's reform of federal health-insurance entitlements.

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The GOP platform also takes a tough stance on illegal immigration and seeks to reshape Medicare so future beneficiaries would receive fixed amounts of money to buy their own coverage, The New York Times noted.

Slate magazine singled out "ten good" economic policies in the GOP platform, including downsizing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, granting work visas to holders of advanced degrees and managing spent nuclear fuel.

The Democratic platform made headlines because of confusion over the omission of mentions of God and of Jerusalem as Israel's capital in the original document. Bloomberg focused on economic ideas in the platform, including government support for early childhood education, retraining for the long-term unemployed and investment in research.

The platform seeks to retain highly-skilled immigrants, support free trade agreements and focus on transportation infrastructure, Bloomberg noted.

The Times also noted that the Democrats' platform echoed some promises made in the 2008 version, including comprehensive immigration reform, climate change legislation and collective bargaining rights.

While the GOP platform called for extending the Bush-era tax cuts, the Democratic platform called for extending tax cuts to the middle class while asking the richest individuals and corporations to "pay their fair share."

As Time noted, party platforms are not binding documents, but they do reflect on their party's leaders.

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