It’s an online survey, in case you’re looking for reasons to doubt the result. Says the pollster who conducted it for Bloomberg, “This indicates that, despite some conventional wisdom expressed in the last 48 hours, this is unlikely to hurt Trump at least in the primary campaign.” Has anyone claimed that it might? Ninety percent of the write-ups, including mine, after Trump first floated the idea on Monday night were “Smart play, if we’re being honest.”
Bloomberg’s pollster followed that question by informing respondents that most political leaders on both sides have condemned Trump’s plan and then asked them how they feel about it now. Result: Almost no difference. And it’s silly to think that there would be, really. What person would change their view of a controversial policy instantly upon being told that a bunch of elites think differently? Doing so would amount to an admission that your opinion is shallow and easily influenced. What they should have done is asked one group what they think of the plan without mentioning what political leaders think and then asked a different group what they think after mentioning all the condemnation. I doubt the results would change much but we’d have more confidence in the result.
Or better yet, do what Jay Cost suggests and ask this same question without mentioning Trump. How many more Democrats would be open to this proposal if it wasn’t attached to the name of the Democratic villain du jour? Go back and look at the AP poll that I posted in the Ben Sasse thread and you’ll find that 39 percent of Dems say we’re letting in too many immigrants from the Middle East. That’s within spitting distance of a majority even though the topic is completely taboo among the Democratic leadership and bitterly opposed by the open-borders left. More interestingly, how many Trump critics inside the GOP would be open to the policy if he weren’t attached to it? (And how many Trump fans, some of them inclined to defend him no matter what, might otherwise look dimly on it?) We’re probably approaching the point on the right, if we’re not there already, where Trump’s support for or opposition to a new policy is compelling evidence in favor or against it depending on which side you’re on. The next pollster who asks this question should try to control for “the Trump factor.”
By the way, 37 percent of likely GOP voters say this makes them more likely to vote for Trump. Sixteen percent say it makes them less likely. On that note, here’s Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson replying to S.E. Cupp’s criticism of the ban by saying, “So what? They’re Muslim.” That made the rounds on social media last night among fans of the “not who we are as a party” approach to Trump. Per the poll, whose side are “we” actually on in this debate?