How racist and bigoted are Donald Trump’s supporters, really?

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Donald Trump won the Nevada Caucuses pretty handily last night and pundits are beginning to step back from the assumption that Trump is unelectable.

It's clear that Trump has tapped into something with his rhetoric and is winning over voters, but who are the people supporting Trump? If the numbers are to be believed, a disparate group of bigots.


The data comes from the New York Times, which crunched exit polling data and survey results from YouGove and Public Policy Polling to show that, far and away, "Mr. Trump has upended the contemporary divide in the party and built a significant part of his coalition of voters on people who are responsive to religious, social and racial intolerance." These voters cut a swath from non-religious moderates to conservative evangelicals.

Polling showed that close to half of the Republican voters in last weekend's South Carolina primary were in favor of deporting undocumented immigrants immediately; Trump carried those voters with 47%. A whopping 74% of Palmetto State voters said they approved of Trump's plan to put an indefinite hold on non-American-Muslims from entering the country; Trump scored 41% of those ballot-casters, "more than twice as many supporters of the ban in South Carolina as any other candidate."

The Times also reports that Trump supporters are overwhelmingly in favor of troubling things Trump himself has not commented on.

He has said nothing about a ban on gays in the United States, the outcome of the Civil War or white supremacy. Yet on all of these topics, Mr. Trump’s supporters appear to stand out from the rest of Republican primary voters.


The data from Public Policy Polling, which the Times notes is aligned with the Democratic Party, shows that Trump has nearly double the support of voters in favor of outright banning gay and lesbian people from entering the country that Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have, and nearly five times as many supporters who support that position than Ben Carson and John Kasich.

YouGov's data says that Trump supporters are more likely to disagree with President Truman's 1948 decision to desegregate the military. However, Trump supporters are equally in agreement with Cruz's that the unconstitutional internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II was a good idea at close to 33%.


P.P.P.'s numbers showed that a lower number of Trump voters in South Carolina disagreed with the idea of white supremacy than the four other candidates' supporters. Nearly two-fifths of Trump's base "wish[es] the South had won the Civil War" and 70% "wish the Confederate battle flag were still flying on their statehouse grounds." According to YouGov, nationally, 20% of Trump voters would not have freed the slaves after the Civil War.

Last week, before the South Carolina primary, The New Republic wrote about how Trump had taken the lead in the campaign, namely: the Republican party has been chasing racist voters for years, ever since the Democrats started desegregating things or passing Civil Rights Acts. As the data shows, 2016 might be the year they get all of them.


David Matthews operates the Wayback Machine on—hop on. Got a tip? Email him:

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