The recently released NPR/Marist Poll from a highly respected polling organization gives us a lot to chew on. If you have hip waders and want to get deep in the weeds, go to the link above. If you only want to get ankle deep, read on. If you only want the Executive Summary, here it is:
- Trump’s support has held steady or even possibly increased in the wake of the controversy over his attacks on The Squad;
- His support remains well under 50 percent, with few undecided voters;
- Generation X (middle-aged) voters are notably more pro-Trump that younger and older voters;
- The gender gap remains huge, with women much more anti-Trump than men;
- The education gap remains large: even non-college women are narrowly pro-Trump;
- Suburbanites, especially women, are anti-Trump;
- There is a generic bias against Democratic policies, but when asked about individual proposals, voters are generally favorable toward such policies as Medicare for all who want it, or the Green New Deal.
Trump’s overall support among registered voters is 44 percent; 52 percent disapprove and only 4 percent are undecided. This is slightly higher than previous readings, but within the margin of error of such polls, so it’s not clear that his support has really increased, but it’s certainly clear enough that he hasn’t lost support in the wake of the controversy over his racist and xenophobic attacks on four minority congresswomen (The Squad).
Trump is still under water in public opinion, there are not enough undecided voters to get him above water, but his base is solid. We can beat him, but we can’t count on any defections from his side.
The upshot: Trump is still under water in public opinion, there are not enough undecided voters to get him above water, but his base is solid. We can beat him, but we can’t count on any defections from his side.
Even the South is 47-49 negative; other regions are all solidly disapproving of Trump.
White non-college voters approve Trump 57-39; white college graduates disapprove 38-59.
Whites overall are evenly divided, 48-48; nonwhites disprove 35-59.
Non-college white men support Trump 64-33. College graduate white women disapprove 33-64. Non-college white women are narrowly for Trump and college white men disapprove 43-53.
Generation X (39-54) approve of Trump 55-43. All other age groups disapprove.
White Evangelical Christians support Trump 73-23.
On the urban-rural dimension, only rural voters support Trump, 56-39. Big city, small city, suburban and small town voters all have net disapproval.
Small city/suburban men are evenly divided at 49-48. Small city/suburban women disapprove 33-62.
Of registered voters, 30 percent strongly approve of Trump while 42 percent strongly disapprove.
Since the June survey, those who strongly approve have increased by one percent, those who strongly disapprove have increased by 5 percent.
53 percent of voters say they will definitely vote against Trump; 39 percent will definitely vote for him. Even in the South, 50 percent will definitely vote against him and 44 percent will vote for him. Only among rural voters will a majority (55 percent) vote for him. Among all others, from big cities to small towns, the majority say they will definitely vote against.
Trump gets more approvals (52 percent) than disapprovals (44 percent) on handling the economy. The split is reversed on handling foreign policy. Two-thirds of registered voters say the economy is working well for them personally.
Overall, slightly more registered voters think the ideas offered by Democratic presidential candidates would move the country in the wrong direction. There is effectively a slight generic tilt against the Democratic “brand” on policy. Yet on a wide range of specific issues, voters favofr Democratic proposals.
On health care, 55 percent of voters think “Medicare for All” is a bad idea, but 69 percent of voters think “Medicare for All that Want It” is a good idea.
Sixty-two percent of voters oppose providing health insurance for immigrants who are in the US illegally.
Fifty percent of voters oppose repealing Obamacare; 45 percent favor repeal.
Two-thirds of voters support government regulation of prescription drug prices.
Half of voters support a tax on emissions of fossil fuels; 44 percent oppose it.
Sixty percent of voters support “a Green New Deal to address climate change by investing government money in green jobs and energy efficient infrastructure” while only 32 percent oppose it.
A slight majority of 52 percent support rejoining the Paris Climate agreement; 32 percent oppose it.
Regarding banning semi-automatic assault guns, 57 percent support it, 41 percent oppose it. Fully 88 percent support background checks for gun sales at gun shows or other private sales, while only 10 percent are opposed.
A narrow majority of 51 percent favor free public college tuition while 45 percent oppose.
Sixty-three percent favor a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants while 32 percent oppose it. But only 27 percent agree with decriminalizing illegal border crossings.
A $15 per hour minimum wage is favored by 55 percent and opposed by 42 percent.
Only 26 percent favor a universal basic income of $1000 per month for adults while 66 percent oppose.
On the Wealth Tax, described in the survey as a higher tax on incomes over $1million, 61 percent are in favor and 34 percent against.
Sixty-two percent favor national legalization of marijuana; 33 percent oppose.
On the death penalty, 36 percent would abolish it and 58 percent would keep it.
Sixty-three percent oppose reparations for slavery and only 26 percent are in favor.
Half of voters oppose getting rid of the Electoral College; 42 percent favor doing so.
A majority (54 percent) of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents think it is more important to have a candidate with the best chance of beating Trump, rather than one who shares their position on most issues.
Here are some take-aways from this mass of data:
- Trump’s base is a minority, will not become a majority, but will not melt. We will have to beat him and them in a head-on fight.
- The pivotal suburbs, and particularly suburban women, are decisively against Trump.
- Trump’s support is concentrated in rural America.
- The South is not as solid for Trump as we tend to assume.
- The only age group that favors Trump is Generation X (39-54). Those younger and older than this middle-aged group all oppose Trump.
- People tend to assume in general that Democrats’ ideas would be bad for the country, but on a wide range of specific policy issues, voters favor the Democratic position. This means that Democrats have work to do in moving public opinion, but they start from a strong position.
- The Green New Deal, for all the effort by Republicans to cast aspersions on it, is actually strongly supported.
There are some policy proposals that are so weakly supported that they should probably be abandoned. They would include decriminalizing illegal immigration and providing health insurance to such immigrants. The death penalty looks likely to live on. A universal basic income looks like an idea whose time has not yet come.
- The overall tilt of public opinion does not present an insuperable obstacle to a progressive Democratic nominee with a progressive program, as long as a serious effort is made to convince voters that the candidate stands for ideas that make sense.