We’ve all heard the endless refrains on cable news, in the editorial pages of the major newspapers and through social media feeds from conservative thought leaders: Donald Trump says crazy stuff. These are horrible, unworkable ideas which nobody supports. So how could it possibly be that the latest NBC poll shows him closing in on 50% support nationally among Republican voters? I’m sure that seems like a mystery to many, but Morning Consult is out with a new survey this week which will go a long way toward explaining it. This isn’t some poll asking about who you will support for the nomination or favorability numbers, but rather the overall view of Americans on some of the aforementioned crazy statements.
Whether you’re talking about bans on Muslim immigration, torturing terrorists or letting the government pry into the contents of our attackers’ cell phones, a lot of the country doesn’t seem to think that Trump’s ideas are crazy at all. Let’s start off with that whole “ban Muslim immigration” thing.
In a national survey taken from March 24 to March 26, 50 percent of voters polled support a temporary ban on all Muslims traveling to the United States. The support for a ban doesn’t break along party lines as neatly as one might have thought. About one-third of likely Democratic voters (34 percent) support the ban, along with 71 percent of Republicans and 49 percent of independents.
Here’s the breakdown:
This isn’t a sign of a partisan break between Democrats and Republicans, nor is it a line in the sand between #NeverTrump and his supporters. That’s half the country agreeing with Trump on this concept even if it’s completely impossible to achieve in reality. (Until somebody comes up with a Muslim DNA test kit, anyway.) Both Republicans and independents are in favor of the idea by significant margins over those who are opposed. And even among Democrats, fully a third of Hillary Clinton’s own base of supporters disagree with her on this and agree with Trump. Incidentally, 65% of Cruz supporters and basically half of Kaisch voters are on board as well.
So how about that offensive question of “additional law enforcement patrols of Muslim neighborhoods” following the last attacks? Again, 49% of all respondents agreed, including 70% of Republicans, a plurality of independents (46%) and more than a third of Democrats.
That brings us to the question of allowing the government to crack into the smart phones of terrorists.It turns out that the feds were able to employ the services of some clever hackers and got into the phone of the San Bernardino killers without Apple’s help, but should we be cheering this development? For some reason, the libertarian wing of the GOP seems to be running the show on social media, saying that it’s a horrible violation of privacy and puts everyone’s data at risk. Trump’s most vocal critics are leading that particular chorus every time I browse the headlines. But you may be surprised to find that they are in a significant minority on this one as well.
Almost three-fourths of respondents (71 percent) said they support requiring tech companies, such as Apple, Facebook or Google, to give the government access to their personal data to support U.S. national security interests. About the same percentage (76 percent) think those companies should help government in investigations related to terrorism and to monitor accounts of people already suspected of being terrorists. Two-thirds of voters think those companies should turn personal data over to the government in order to monitor accounts to identify people who may be terrorists.
When you’re talking about three quarters of the country we’re no longer dealing with just the Democrats or only the #NeverTrump contingent. The nation largely is willing to risk a hacker figuring out how to crack their phones if it uncovers a terrorist network in the United States.
You can take a principled stand on any of these issues and say you disagree, but let’s at least put aside one of the ruling media narratives here. Trump isn’t saying “incredibly unpopular” things on many of these issues which should cause us to scratch our heads over why people keep showing up at his rallies and voting for him in primaries. He’s touching on some issues which have a lot more support than you might think if you get all of your information from the Washington Post editorial board.