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New Poll Appears To Show Majority GOP Support For Trump’s ‘Ban Muslims’ Immigration Plan

Trump Nixon V

A new poll appears to show that Republican voters are apparently receptive to Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslim immigrants for some unspecified period of time:

Almost two-thirds of likely 2016 Republican primary voters favor Donald Trump’s call to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the U.S., while more than a third say it makes them more likely to vote for him.

Those are some of the findings from a Bloomberg Politics/Purple Strategies PulsePoll, an online survey conducted Tuesday, that shows support at 37 percent among all likely general-election voters for the controversial proposal put forward by the Republican front-runner.

“We believe these numbers are made up of some people who are truly expressing religious bigotry and others who are fearful about terrorism and are willing to do anything they think might make us safer,” Doug Usher, who runs polling for Washington-based Purple Strategies, said in his analysis of the findings. ”This indicates that, despite some conventional wisdom expressed in the last 48 hours, this is unlikely to hurt Trump at least in the primary campaign.”

Support for Trump’s proposal remains virtually unchanged even after voters are told both sides of the argument. On one side, they were told that ”leaders from across the political spectrum have condemned this policy” as one that will make the U.S. “less safe by alienating the allies we need to fight ISIS.” They were also told that Trump has said it is needed until more is known about the threat and that the nation “cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in jihad.”

When voters were provided with this additional information, support for the proposal remains essentially unchanged, with 64 percent of likely Republican primary voters saying they favor the idea. That includes 52 percent who say they strongly support the proposal.

After being told about the idea, 37 percent of likely Republican primary voters say it makes them more likely to support the billionaire real estate mogul, while 16 percent say less and 46 percent say it has no impact.

Among all likely general-election voters, including Democrats and independents, 18 percent say it makes them more likely to back Trump, while 33 percent say less likely and 44 percent say it has no impact.

These graphs show the results among likely voters, likely Republican voters, and likely Democratic voters:

Bloomberg GOP Muslim Poll One

And here’s the breakdown after respondents are given details about the national and international reaction to what Trump proposes:

Bloomberg GOP Muslim Poll Two

There are two caveats to keep in mind with regard to this poll. The first is that this is an online poll that was conducted in a manner similar to those that have been released for the past several months that tend to show doing better than most of the more traditional polling has shown him. As I noted when I discussed these types of polls last week, these polls are purporting to be done in a scientific manner that avoids the problems traditionally associated with online surveys, they are still a relatively new phenomenon that have not undergone the same kind of testing for reliability that live person and automated polling has since this is the first election cycle in which they are being used on a regular basis. It may turn out that these polls are as reliable as traditional polling, or even more reliable in some ways, but at the very least it’s worth taking this new type of polling with a grain of salt. Presumably, this very same question is being put to the test by more traditional pollsters, and we could start to see the results of that polling later this week or early next week, and at that point it would be useful to compare those result to what we see here. Additionally, it’s worth noting that the smaller sample size of “likely Republican voters” comes with a higher margin of error of seven points, which means that support for Trump’s idea could be as low as 56% or as high as 71%. Again, until we’ve seen other polling on this issue it’s worth not putting too much significance on a single poll result.

That being said, it is worth noting that these numbers are consistent with other polling that has been done regarding the opinions of likely Republican voters when it comes it Islam in general and the extent to which Muslims should be treated as a threat:

Polling indicates Trump’s suspicion of Muslims will appeal to many Republican voters. A study by the Public Religion Research Institute released last month found 76 percent of Republicans say Islam is “at odds with American values and way of life,” compared to 43 percent of Democrats. A survey by the Pew Research Center last year found Republicans rate Muslims more negatively than any other religious group, giving them an average of 33 on a scale of 100, compared to 71 for evangelical Christians, 67 for Jews, and 66 for Catholics.

In a Bloomberg Politics national poll conducted last month, 32 percent of Republicans said Islam is “an inherently violent religion” that leads its followers to violence.

“As much as anyone may disagree with his policies (and I do), Trump is not hurting himself with GOP voters with his negativity toward Muslims,” said Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior adviser to 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney, on Twitter.

Given these previous numbers, nobody should be surprised if polling shows that likely Republican voters support Donald Trump’s plan to bar Muslims from the country no matter how insane, bigoted, or demagogic it might sound to anyone with, well, even a modicum of common sense and decency. At the same time, these numbers shouldn’t be taken as proof that all Republicans support Trump’s proposal or that they would support him if he ended up being the Republican nominee. For the most part, the Republicans and conservatives that I’ve come to know online and personally over the years have expressed nothing but disdain for Trump for months now, and they have been particularly disdainful of the border control “plan” he announced on Monday. To a person, they have nearly all said that they would not support Trump is he were to become the nominee, and there’s a general sense of bewilderment as to how someone like him could end up becoming such a strong force in the party they support. Now, one could make an argument that Donald Trump as the Republican frontrunner is largely a case of the Republican Party’s chickens coming home to roost — and to a large degree that’s an argument that I agree with — but it’s also fairly apparent that these latest comments on his part are seeming to serve as something of a wake up call to a segment of the party that has unwisely let the Tea Party and the hard right take control of the GOP in recent years because it seemed like a smart way to win elections. The problem they face now, of course, is that the inmates have arguably taken over the asylum and stopping Trump individually won’t necessarily wipe Trumpism out of the party. If these poll results are any indication, in fact, it’s arguably the case that Trump speaks for the GOP base far more than any of the other candidates in the race, and that’s a problem for an establishment that seems to finally recognize the monster they’ve helped create.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Mikey says:

    The problem they face now, of course, is that the inmates have arguably* taken over the asylum and stopping Trump individually won’t necessarily wipe Trumpism out of the party.

    You misspelled “definitely.”

    There’s a lot the GOP has done lately that’s unforgivable, but for me personally the worst is making my wife feel a pang of regret at having given up her German citizenship and becoming an American. Sure, she understands America isn’t all about the GOP, but it’s a natural emotional reaction for a German as she watches what looks too much like history repeating itself.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 3

  2. Tony W says:

    Freedom isn’t free.

    If we are going to have a free country, we’re going to have to accept some risk. There are many easily frightened people who are bad at math and cannot accept any risk, and so are willing to trade their freedom away.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 1

  3. sam says:

    “there’s a general sense of bewilderment as to how someone like him could end up becoming such a strong force in the party they support.”

    To paraphrase Bertrand Russell, their bewilderment bewilders me.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 2

  4. Stan says:

    @Mikey: I know you’re not supposed to bring Hitler into online conversations, but I can’t help myself. If you study modern German history you find that respectable conservatives felt it was safe to entrust the government to him because they could control him and keep him from doing anything really radical. That was the argument Von Papen used when he persuaded Hindenburg to make Hitler chancellor.

    Like many people, I’ve often been puzzled about Marx’s statement that great historical events occur twice, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. Thanks to Trump, I understand it now.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 3

  5. Rafer Janders says:

    @Stan:

    I know you’re not supposed to bring Hitler into online conversations, but I can’t help myself.

    You know, people should really understand that references to Hitler aren’t out of bounds when discussing fascism….

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 3

  6. SenyorDave says:

    @Stan: Between Trump’s Muslim ban, his Muslim registration and the closing if mosques, Godwin’s Law no longer applies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  7. rodney dill says:

    @Tony W: sounds like an ad for the NRA.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  8. Dave Schuler says:

    As I noted in a post over at my place on this subject, the PRRI poll you cited above not only found that 76% of Republicans held that view, it found that 57% of independents did, 56% of black Protestants did, and 43% of Democrats did.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  9. gVOR08 says:

    So two thirds of Republicans agree with Donald Trump that we should blow away our Constitutional protections of religious freedom and ban Muslims, thereby shooting ourselves in the foot tactically. In other news, water is wet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  10. LaMont says:

    and there’s a general sense of bewilderment as to how someone like him could end up becoming such a strong force in the party they support.

    Side observation – This is the difference between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Those who like to make the claim that Bernie is the equal opposite of Donald would have to reconcile the fact that the typical Republican with any sense strongly disagree with Trump while the typical Democrat with any sense would likely still support Bernie in my opinion.

    You could argue that both are taking their party’s base ideologies toward it’s logical conclusions. However, Trump’s rhetoric is the one that is unpalatable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  11. Pete S says:

    it’s worth noting that the smaller sample size of “likely Republican voters” comes with a higher margin of error of seven points, which means that support for Trump’s idea could be as low as 56% or as high as 71%.

    So when you take out the “don’t knows” the MOST favourable view of Republicans is that those who support this “idea” only outnumber those who don’t by about 2 to 1. But it also possible the supporters outnumber non-supporters by almost 5 to 1. At this point Trump is not the disease, he is just a symptom. Even if the supposed Republican elites can get him out of the race what can they do about the base?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  12. gVOR08 says:

    @Pete S: They could stop inflaming the base. But then they couldn’t get Republicans elected, so I guess that’s out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  13. Bill Lefrak says:

    If you polled the GED demographics and trust fund babies that listen to the likes of Levin and Limbaugh, this poll probably would be somewhat correct.

    If however you polled the adult professionals, business owners, business managers, executives, etc., who make up the actual general election base of the GOP, you’d get a far different result. But polling that demographic is tougher. Too busy working, raising their families, etc., to play phone games with pollsters.

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  14. CSK says:

    @Bill Lefrak:

    The talk show hosts are certainly pushing Trump, and for those listeners who hang on their every word, yes, Trump is The Man.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill Lefrak:

    who make up the actual general election base

    That may or may not be true Bill, but the problem for the GOP at this time is the primary electorate**, and has been asserted many times, that electorate skews right.

    ** and FWIW, I don’t think Trump’s supporters are going to turn out to vote in the #s that they currently poll. who knows…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  16. rodney dill says:

    @Stan:

    I know you’re not supposed to bring Hitler into online conversations, but I can’t help myself.

    We may have to rethink Godwin’s law in Trumps case.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  17. Tony W says:

    @rodney dill:

    sounds like an ad for the NRA.

    I’m glad you commented, when writing the statement I realized that it could be read many ways.

    I have no problem with that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  18. Tony W says:

    @Bill Lefrak:

    If however you polled the adult professionals, business owners, business managers, executives, etc., who make up the actual general election base of the GOP, you’d get a far different result. But polling that demographic is tougher. Too busy working, raising their families, etc., to play phone games with pollsters.

    No true Scotsman, huh?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  19. Jeremy R says:

    @rodney dill:

    sounds like an ad for the NRA.

    Speaking of NRA ads, over the last couple days I’ve been served this fear-mongering NRA ad at least three times (before unrelated YouTube videos):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-HbOJGSPSg

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  20. Tyrell says:

    Meanwhile Iran tests another missile ! I thought they weren’t supposed to do that ! Somebody has to be kidding ! Secretary Kerry needs to do something !
    (“The worst secretary of state in US history “)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 12

  21. Davebo says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    The US is not the new Rome. I’m not even sure what idea you were trying to convey there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. JKB says:

    @gVOR08:

    Oh, so now you are all about the constitutional protection of religious freedoms. But it was just a few short months ago that you were all about forcing Christians to violate their beliefs.

    But Trumps “plan” does not impact our Constitution as no foreign national has a right to enter the US for any reason. It is entirely in conformance with international norms to ban groups of individuals based on any chosen criteria. Not to mention historical norms in the US.

    I don’t particularly think Trumps idea is a good one, but it is fun to see all the ignorance, lies and stupidity Trump exposes in his emotional opponents.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 12

  23. MBunge says:

    Help me out here.

    Trump’s Muslim ban is stupid, unworkable and counter-productive but I’m having trouble grasping the moral outrage. We’ve been killing Muslims in foreign countries for years, not all “enemy combatants either, and that bothers our political elite at all. Trump proposes something that won’t physically harm a single Muslim and (Joker voice) everyone loses their minds!

    Again, Trump’s plan is beyond dumb, but what else is going on?

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  24. Mikey says:

    @MBunge: Well, IMHO: the problems with our various wars (and they have been many) notwithstanding, there’s a major difference between targeting members of terrorist networks with the tacit or expressed consent of the governments within whose nations those networks are based and operating, and a blanket ban on immigrants absent evidence they are any danger at all, but simply because they profess a specific religion.

    And of course there’s the entirety of Trump’s anti-Muslim proposals and how this one fits in with those.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  25. Pete S says:

    @gVOR08: I get your point, but I don’t think they can. By the time my campfire is burning down the forest, me not putting on more lighter fluid really doesn’t help.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  26. MBunge says:

    @Mikey: there’s a major difference between targeting members of terrorist networks with the tacit or expressed consent of the governments within whose nations those networks are based and operating, and a blanket ban on immigrants absent evidence they are any danger at all, but simply because they profess a specific religion.

    Not to belabor the point but the difference seems to be that one has killed a great many innocent people, which pricks our collective conscious not a bit, and the other tramples on some prissy ethical standard without harming a soul.

    Again, not to defend what is pretty obviously a terrible idea but I just don’t understand it. I mean, the reaction against this has been significantly stronger than his “deport all illegals” plan which is far more morally problematic.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  27. Mikey says:

    @MBunge:

    Not to belabor the point but the difference seems to be that one has killed a great many innocent people, which pricks our collective conscious not a bit,

    Really? Plenty of Americans have had quite a lot to say about that over the last dozen or so years.

    and the other tramples on some prissy ethical standard without harming a soul.

    Blanket bans on purely religious grounds go far deeper than mere “prissy ethical standard,” they fly in the face of America’s stated bedrock principles. And the effect of the ban certainly would harm actual people, both by preventing them escaping danger and by damaging our legitimate efforts to combat IS and terrorism in general.

    I mean, the reaction against this has been significantly stronger than his “deport all illegals” plan which is far more morally problematic.

    The different response to this is due to a few factors, most significantly the fact his “deport all illegals” plan was made when everyone thought his candidacy was a temporary joke and the fact it would be entirely impossible to actually implement. Neither is true of his recent anti-Muslim proposals.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  28. KM says:

    @MBunge:

    Because it hits too close to home in a way they aren’t smart enough to quantify but feel all the same. In order to ban by faith, the government necessarily must come up with definitions, guidelines and criteria to judge by. The kicker is they can’t just define Islam as any smart person will give the answer they know gets them by. You have to define other religions as well to help exclude what Islam isn’t as well as what it is. Meaning Christianity is suddenly up for debate. Are you are a real member of your faith or not?

    If a known terrorist tells you he found Jesus in Guantanamo, is he now your born-again brother welcome to Alabama? If a woman in a full burqa tells you she’s Christian, do you question it? If they are wearing a cross but say Allah, does that raise a flag? If a man has a tonsure, does he get a pass? If they claim to be atheist, how do you prove it?

    How do you prove any of this at all? What do you do when you make a mistake?

    When we start defining religions in the context of whether they apply to you, you’re on a bad road. The conservatives who fear government overreach and the stripping of religious freedoms can sense that allowing the government to say Yes, You are X Faith or No, You Don’t Meet the Criteria is a bad bad thing. It trips the subconscious alarm all Americans have when the federal government starts playing around with the First Amendment because it theoretically could be applied to you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  29. MBunge says:

    @Mikey: Blanket bans on purely religious grounds go far deeper than mere “prissy ethical standard,” they fly in the face of America’s stated bedrock principles.

    From a few seconds of online searching. http://immigration.procon.org/

    1903 – Anarchist Exclusion Act Enacted; Exclusion of Immigrants Based on Political Ideology Begins

    “…[F]oreign-born political radicals stirred public concern. Beyond urban machine politics that relied on alien grist and rising religious differences between largely Protestant natives and Catholic immigrants, alien troublemakers — anarchists — were afoot on American soil… President William McKinley, who had campaigned on a platform of tariffs and ‘big tent’ themes directed at immigrants (‘America for Americans, native and naturalized’), fell to an assassin’s bullet in 1901. Leon Czolgosz, called ‘an anarchist of American birth but obviously foreign extraction,’ sparked congressional action to add anarchists to the exclusion list. The 1903 law provided for exclusion and deportation of alien anarchists — those foreigners who believe in or ‘advocate the overthrow by force of violence of the Government of the United States or of all governments or of all forms of law, or the assassination of public officials.’ The 1903 Act also both bolstered public health exclusions and provided for limited exceptions for certain diseased aliens…”

    1917 – Immigration Act of 1917 Denies Entry to Immigrants from Eastern Asia and the Pacific Islands

    “Immigration Act of 1917 (2.5MB) (‘Asiatic Barred Zone Act’). Denies entry to immigrants from the ‘Asiatic Barred Zone’–much of eastern Asia and the Pacific Islands. It also sets a literacy requirement for immigrants over 16 and a head tax for entry into the country; it bars entry by ‘idiots,’ ‘feeble-minded persons,’ ‘epileptics,’ ‘insane persons,’ alcoholics, ‘professional beggars,’ all persons ‘mentally or physically defective,’ polygamists, and anarchists.”

    May 1921 – First Quota Act Becomes Law and Limits the Number of Immigrants from Certain Countries

    “In May, 1921, the first of the quota or percentage laws was passed. Being sponsored by the American Legion and American Federation of Labor, it became a law over Wilson’s veto… It limited the number of immigrants who could enter this country from Europe, Australia, Africa, New Zealand, Asiatic Turkey, Persia, and certain islands of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to 3 percent of the number of foreign-born of such nationalities residing here when the 1910 census was taken… This law accomplished two things. (1) It reduced the total number of immigrants coming to this country… (2) It favored and stimulated the immigration of Protestant northwestern Europeans and excluded most of the Catholic southern and eastern Europeans.”

    Trump, at least officially, isn’t proposing to keep Muslims out of the US just because he doesn’t like Muslims. There’s a clear terrorist threat to this country that originates from within one particular religious group. In the wake of two horrific attacks by people from that group, he’s saying we should not let anyone from that group into the country until we figure out what to do about these most recent sort of attacks.

    It’s knee jerk, stupid and would almost certainly do far more harm than good, but the response to it goes beyond any of that.

    Mike

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  30. MBunge says:

    @KM: Because it hits too close to home in a way they aren’t smart enough to quantify but feel all the same.

    I’d agree with that but I’m not sure it’s a religious response, especially since the reaction from elites is so entirely different than the hoi polloi. It feels more like a post-nationalist reaction to a brutally nationalistic proposal.

    Mike

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  31. Mikey says:

    @MBunge: I’m not going to pretend there’s total consistency in America’s decisions about what to support or oppose, because there isn’t. Still, there’s good reason people are up-in-arms about Trump’s proposals: they are fundamentally un-American in principle, and the fact that principle has been imperfectly adhered to doesn’t mean we shouldn’t call out potential future violations when they come up.

    And even entirely independently of that point, there’s still the negative practical effects of such a ban, a couple of which I stated above. Once could argue a temporary restriction isn’t really a severe violation of principle, especially in the national protection context, and still understand the proposal’s effects would be terrible. I think you’ve done this, but it seems to me most of Trump’s supporters haven’t thought it through that far.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  32. grumpy realist says:

    @MBunge: It’s a knee-jerk reaction. If we can keep out “THEM”, no bad things will happen.

    The fact that it’s far more likely that you’re going to get killed by some nut on a Jesus kick with a rifle (especially if you’re a woman visiting a Planned Parenthood clinic) is carefully ignored.

    Heck, around here I’m far more likely to die at the hands of some idiot teenager texting in her SUV and cruising through a red light.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0