Who supports Trump?

I haven’t done a Trump post in a while!  Anyway, I was long meaning to share this Richard Skinner post from last month looking at who supports Trump and was reminded to do so by this recent Ron Brownstein deep dive into the latest polling data.  Brownstein sums it up pretty succinctly:

The blue-col­lar wing of the Re­pub­lic­an primary elect­or­ate has con­sol­id­ated around one can­did­ate.

The party’s white-col­lar wing re­mains frag­men­ted.

That may be the most con­cise ex­plan­a­tion of the dy­nam­ic that has pro­pelled Don­ald Trump to a con­sist­ent and some­times com­mand­ing lead in the early stages of the GOP pres­id­en­tial nom­in­a­tion con­test.

Both na­tion­al and state polls show Trump open­ing a sub­stan­tial lead among Re­pub­lic­an voters without a col­lege edu­ca­tion al­most every­where. And in al­most all cases, Trump is win­ning more sup­port from non­col­lege Re­pub­lic­ans than any can­did­ate is at­tract­ing from Re­pub­lic­an voters with at least a four-year edu­ca­tion…

In oth­er words, Trump is ce­ment­ing a strong blue-col­lar base, while the white-col­lar voters re­l­at­ively more res­ist­ant to him have yet to uni­fy around any single al­tern­at­ive. That dis­par­ity is crit­ic­al be­cause in both the 2008 and 2012 GOP nom­in­a­tion fights, voters with and without a four-year col­lege de­gree each cast al­most ex­actly half of the total primary votes, ac­cord­ing to cu­mu­lat­ive ana­lyses of exit poll res­ults by ABC poll­ster Gary Langer. With the two wings evenly matched in size, Trump’s great­er suc­cess at con­sol­id­at­ing his “brack­et” ex­plains much of his ad­vant­age in the polls.

And, while I’m at it, here’s some still relevant insights from Skinner.  His post asks, “Do hate and racism drive support for Donald Trump?” and I think you know the answer (okay, “drive” might be a little strong, but you know it’s there):

Ethnocentrism. Authoritarians fear the “other.” No issue defines Trump’s campaign more than immigration—and, more so than any other candidate, he has been willing to use racially charged language in support of his positions. He also talks tough on trade and “law and order,” using polarizing language reminiscent of Patrick Buchanan or George Wallace. Trump seems to consistently appeal to ethnocentrism – favoring one’s own racial or ethnic group above others. Both in person and on-line, he attracts an alarming level of support from white supremacists. On the other hand, he vehemently backs “earned” entitlements like Social Security and Medicare, whose beneficiaries are disproportionately white. (This sets him apart from other Republicans like Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, who are more willing to back entitlement reform). Ethnocentric voters tend to display this combination of attitudes, judging policies based more on whether they apparently benefit their group rather than on more abstract criteria. European politics is now filled with extreme-right parties who back a welfare state—but only for our people…

Negative Partisanship: Alan Abramowitz and Stephen Webster have found that the past couple of decades have seen the rise of “negative partisanship.”  Voters are more likely to dislike strongly the opposite party. With racial, cultural, and ideological divisions now matching up with the partisan divide, Democrats and Republicans now see their opposites not just as mistaken, but as alien. Donald Trump’s credentials as a Republican, let alone as a conservative, are very weak. But his credentials as an anti-Democrat – and especially as an anti-Obaman—are much stronger. After all, he began his transformation from apolitical celebrity to right-wing hero, by engaging in the nastiest possible attacks on Obama: that he is a secret Muslim, that he was not actually born in the United States.  To some Republicans, if Donald Trump is saying bad things about That Kenyan in the White House, he can’t be all bad.

Trump has clearly had a drop in support from his peak, but he has nonetheless stabilized in the lead.  The good news for those who love watching politics (and for Democrats) is that Trump does not seem to be leaving us anytime soon.  (Also, I keep waiting for people to figure out that Carson is a clueless-about-non-brain-surgery-matters lunatic and for much of his outsider support to go to Trump, but who knows).

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

One Response to Who supports Trump?

  1. R. Jenrette says:

    Is Carson some new variety of the “idiot savant”???

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