'Forward' or 'Great'? What a New Poll Says About 2016 Slogans

A supporter wears a Make America Great Again hat during a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Monday, April 25, 2016, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. (Jake Danna Stevens/The Times-Tribune via AP) WILKES-BARRE TIMES-LEADER OUT; MANDATORY CREDITJake Danna Stevens / AP

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By Carrie Dann

In the fall, American voters will have a choice between a candidate who pledges to move the country “Forward” (Hillary Clinton) and one who promises to “Make America Great Again” (Donald Trump.)

Regardless of the messengers behind those slogans, which one does the public really want?

A new NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll shows that it’s a bit of a mixed bag for Clinton and Trump, with voters preferring a president focused on progress but also one who will bring major changes to the country rather than staying the course.

Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they believe the next president should focus on “progress and moving America forward,” while 38 percent said they want the next commander-in-chief to focus on “protecting what has made America great.”

That could be seen as a rebuke of Trump’s more conservative “Make America Great Again” slogan, but the poll also showed good news for the real estate mogul.

In a separate question, voters indicated that they are more interested in a change candidate than the kind of steady continuation of current policies embodied by Clinton’s pitch.

Fifty-three percent said they would rather choose a leader who will “bring major changes to the way government works operates even if it is not possible to predict what the changes will be.” That’s compared to 43 percent who said they prefer “someone who will bring a steady approach to the way government operates even if that means fewer changes to how things are now.”