Trump’s Approval Among Republicans Rises After Racist Tweets

Well, maybe.

A depressing headline from Reuters: “Republican support for Trump rises after racially charged tweets: Reuters/Ipsos poll.”

Support for U.S. President Donald Trump increased slightly among Republicans after he lashed out on Twitter over the weekend in a racially charged attack on four minority Democratic congresswomen, a Reuters/Ipsos public opinion poll shows.

The national survey, conducted on Monday and Tuesday after Trump told the lawmakers they should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” showed his net approval among members of his Republican Party rose by 5 percentage points to 72%, compared with a similar poll that ran last week.

Trump, who is seeking re-election next year, has lost support, however, with Democrats and independents since the Sunday tweetstorm.
Among independents, about three out of 10 said they approved of Trump, down from four out of 10 a week ago. His net approval – the percentage who approve minus the percentage who disapprove – dropped by 2 points among Democrats in the poll.

Trump’s overall approval remained unchanged over the past week. According to the poll, 41% of the U.S. public said they approved of his performance in office, while 55% disapproved.

At this point, the results aren’t shocking. A combination of blatant racism, xenophobia, and “owning the libs” has become part and parcel of Republicanism is central to Trump’s brand.

Still, this is one poll. An online poll with “a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of 3 percentage points for the entire group and 5 points for Democrats or Republicans.” So, the fluctuation in Republican and Democratic approval since the previous Reuters/Ipsos poll could theoretically be random.

The poll hasn’t yet been added to the RealClearPolitics average and there are no other surveys conducted since the remarks to compare to look for a trend. Ditto FiveThirtyEight.

So, at this point, we really don’t know what impact, if any, Trump’s racist attacks against “The Squad” had on his approval ratings. Given how on-brand they were, I’d be surprised if they have any lasting impact. The racism is just baked in at this point.

FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, Campaign 2020, Donald Trump, Public Opinion Polls, Race and Politics, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The racism is just baked in at this point.

    The Southern strategy reaches it’s inevitable conclusion.

  2. Cheryl Rofer says:

    These polls should always point out the fraction of self-identified Republicans in the general population. I think it’s about 27%, so about half of that is 15% full-on Nazis.

  3. MarkedMan says:

    I’m not surprised by this in the list, but also not exactly sure how to take it. After all, these are people who self identify as Republicans and, as you said, racism is an integral and open part of the party at this point. But how many have left the Republican Party and how many have joined, and will they change how they vote? James, you are an example of someone who was fairly solid in the R column but has left and won’t be voting for Trump and probably not for many other Repubs you would have pulled the lever for in the past. How many people are like you? And how many people didn’t identify as R in the past but felt the party wasn’t sufficiently harsh on minorities and immigrants in the past, and have now started identifying with the party? How did these people vote in the past? Repub? Libertarian? Didn’t vote?

    The last time I checked there was no short term trend line showing a net loss or gain for Republican party identification, but the noise in that signal is huge. If you can see a trend line in this, you have sharper eyes than me. Interestingly, a Dem trend line does seem to be emerging and it is negative, but looking at the historical data that can reverse in the next poll. Independents, on the other hand, definitely show a long term trend upwards.

  4. Kylopod says:

    The trajectory of his approval ratings has remained essentially flat since the summer of 2017. Everything that’s happened in the meantime–Charlottesville, ACA repeal, the tax bill, the shutdowns, family separation, the tariffs, the midterms, Michael Cohen, the Mueller report, Iran–hasn’t budged his numbers in any permanent way. Occasionally there’s a dip in his ratings, but a couple of weeks later they’re right back to where they started. I wouldn’t be surprised to see such a dip now, but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see nothing happen, or even to see a slight uptick. There’s apparently a certain small percentage of Republican-leaning voters inclined to go “Ugh!” whenever Trump says stuff like this, but they soon get over it.

  5. Teve says:

    former statewide judge leaves GOP citing Trump’s racism

    She’s a Latina in Texas, though, so Trump will probably tell her to go back to Mexico.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: Maybe she’ll take Texas back where it came from too.

  7. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: 🙂

    “You have said a lot of racist things. You demanded the execution of the Central Park Five, who were innocent. You said Barack Obama was from Kenya. You wanted to ban all Muslims. You said Mexicans were murderers. Racism is your brand. It’s like Colonel Sanders saying, ‘I don’t have a finger-lickin’ bone in my body.’”

    -stephen colbert

  8. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: Starting from Dubya, the overall trend for the GOP is downward, but the line is pretty flat as the range appears to go from a little over 30 to a little under 30. The most surprising feature to me is that the biggest drops seem to show up during Obama’s second term. That’s almost encouraging. The downside is that they rose then under Trump.

  9. Jen says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I noticed the same thing. The lowest point of Republican self-identification was 20%, with 47% identifying as independents and 30% as Democrats, polling Oct. 3-6, 2013.

    I think if it was plotted out visually the trendline would be more apparent, as it’s gradual. Going back to 2004, Republican self ID was consistently in the 30s-range, with a high of 39% Republican ID Sept. 24-26 in 2004. Going from being consistently in the mid-30s range to the upper 20s/30 as a ceiling is a drop.

  10. Kari Q says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Most polls include that information but the news stories written about them don’t always mention it. In this case, according to the last paragraph of the story, there were 406 self-identified Republicans from a sample of 1113, so 36%. There were 478 Democrats, 43%.

    I agree with James that it’s open to question whether approval among Republicans was up or not. Until and unless approval moves outside the usual range, which this poll doesn’t, it’s just noise. Good for headlines and clicks, though, so you have to give them that.

    Even if approval was actually up, would it be because they agree with the racism? Or because they are rallying to him in the face of criticism?

  11. Hal_10000 says:

    Five points in any opinion poll is nothing. Five points when you break it down by party is even less. In this particular instance, you get the evaporative cooling effect with fewer people identifying as Republicans.

    In short, this is manufactured news.