Colin Powell held out a poll Wednesday showing that his moderate social views have appeal among Republicans as evidence that the party is big enough to accommodate a range of opinions.
The retired general, visiting Boston to promote his new book, said the Los Angeles Times poll showed there “is a broader spectrum within the Republican Party than one might have expected just listening to the right.”
The survey found that Powell’s views on social issues, including support for some gun controls and affirmative action programs, increased his appeal among Republicans.
Powell is considering a presidential bid. He has ruled out running as a Democrat but leaves open the possibility of running as a Republican or independent.
He told reporters the Republican Party “is a broad tent, and many, many people can fit under it and take moderate positions without touching a so-called ‘political electric third rail.”’
The poll, published Wednesday, found that 44 percent of self-described Republicans think Powell’s support of some forms of gun control would make them more likely to vote for him. Twenty-three percent said less likely and 27 percent said it wouldn’t sway them.
Powell’s support for affirmative action without quotas made 34 percent of Republicans more likely to vote for him, while 17 percent were less likely and 42 percent said it would make no difference.
Powell is on a 25-city tour to promote his book, “My American Journey.”
If Powell were running as a Republican in an election now, he would lead President Clinton 50 percent to 40 percent, the poll found. Self-declared independent voters would choose Powell by 2-1 and he would have the support of a third of blacks.
In a hypothetical GOP primary, Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole carries 32 percent, Powell has 30 percent and Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, has 7 percent. All other candidates get 5 percent or less.