A new Pew poll shows a staggering majority of Donald Trump supporters believe life in America today is worse than it has ever been: A full 81% of Trump backers said that, for people like them, life is worse than it was compared with 50 years ago. Meanwhile, 59% Clinton supporters said life is better today than it was 50 years ago.
Trump supporters were also more likely to be pessimistic about the country's future, with 68% saying the next generation of Americans will fare worse than today's.
The survey by Pew Research Center was conducted August 9–16 among 2,010 adults, including 1,567 registered voters. Ages were not given, so it's unclear how many respondents were actually alive 50 years ago.
We know the demographic makeup of a typical Trump supporter: white, male, some college, with most older than 50. They're also more likely to be married. And as USA Today has reported, while Trump supporters huddle under a large ideological umbrella, some common themes among them emerge: Many say they appreciate that he is not "politically correct," a concept that has gone hand-in-hand with granting more rights, respect, and opportunities to underprivileged communities in the past several decades. They also see immigrants as a major problem for the country, despite the fact that immigration flows, especially from Mexico, have stagnated in recent years. Some argue that this view is instead shorthand for resentment that America has simply become more diverse. Indeed, the Pew poll found that just 40% of Trump supporters view the nation's increasing diversity positively, compared with 72% of Clinton supporters.
The Pew poll confirms Trump supporters see immigration as the biggest problem facing America, while only 17% of Clinton supporters say they think the same, the largest gap for any issue posed. Clinton supporters instead see the gap between rich and poor and relations between racial and ethnic groups as representing the country's biggest problem.
While Trump is currently trailing in almost every nationwide poll, the Pew survey found that among all respondents, 47% said life for people like them is worse today than it was 50 years ago, suggesting the real estate mogul shouldn't be counted out yet. But it's also worth noting that it was black respondents who said life had improved most.
Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.