Measuring Donald Trump’s Supporters for Intolerance

Lynn Vavreck, New York Times, February 23, 2016

Exit poll data from the South Carolina primary revealed that nearly half the Republicans who turned out on Saturday wanted undocumented immigrants to be deported immediately. Donald Trump won 47 percent of those voters.

Voters were asked if they favored temporarily barring Muslims who are not citizens from entering the United States, something Mr. Trump advocates, and 74 percent said they did. He won 41 percent of that group.

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New data from YouGov and Public Policy Polling show the extent to which he has tapped into a set of deeply rooted racial attitudes. But first, two caveats about these data are worth bearing in mind. The national YouGov survey was done near the middle of January, before the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries. Public Policy Polling is a company aligned with the Democratic Party, and some of its results over the years have been suspected of bias. Taken by itself, its conclusions could be doubted. Taken with the YouGov and exit poll data, however, these three surveys can give us a better idea of Mr. Trump’s backers.

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Possibly more surprising are the attitudes of Mr. Trump’s supporters on things that he has not talked very much about on the campaign trail. {snip}

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Similarly, YouGov data reveal that a third of Mr. Trump’s (and Mr. Cruz’s) backers believe that Japanese internment during World War II was a good idea, while roughly 10 percent of Mr. Rubio’s and Mr. Kasich’s supporters do. Mr. Trump’s coalition is also more likely to disagree with the desegregation of the military (which was ordered in 1948 by Harry Truman) than other candidates’ supporters are.

The P.P.P. poll asked voters if they thought whites were a superior race. Most Republican primary voters in South Carolina–78 percent–disagreed with this idea (10 percent agreed and 11 percent weren’t sure). But among Mr. Trump’s supporters, only 69 percent disagreed. Mr. Carson’s voters were the most opposed to the notion (99 percent), followed by Mr. Kasich and Mr. Cruz’s supporters at 92 and 89 percent. Mr. Rubio’s backers were close to the average level of disagreement (76 percent).

According to P.P.P., 70 percent of Mr. Trump’s voters in South Carolina wish the Confederate battle flag were still flying on their statehouse grounds. (It was removed last summer less than a month after a mass shooting at a black church in Charleston.) The polling firm says that 38 percent of them wish the South had won the Civil War. Only a quarter of Mr. Rubio’s supporters share that wish, and even fewer of Mr. Kasich’s and Mr. Carson’s do.

Nationally, the YouGov data show a similar trend: Nearly 20 percent of Mr. Trump’s voters disagreed with the freeing of slaves in Southern states after the Civil War. Only 5 percent of Mr. Rubio’s voters share this view.

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