The largest single group, 24.4 percent, supported the most draconian option — closed borders and mass deportation — that is dismissed by every candidate in the race, including Trump. Add in the next group that supported Option Six, which would allow only a “small number” of highly skilled immigrants to enter the U.S. and also involve mass deportations, and the number increased to 38.2 percent. Then add Option Five, which would allow only highly skilled immigrants while physically blocking the border, and the number increased to 55.2 percent.
“Many citizens support policies that seem to fall outside of the range of policy options considered in elite discourse,” Broockman and Ahler conclude.
Trump’s immigration stance appears to fall somewhere between Option Five and Option Six, perhaps a little closer to the latter. It’s probably fair to say that, if Broockman and Ahler are correct, a majority of Americans — not just Republican voters, but all Americans — hold views that are consistent with Trump’s position, or are even more restrictive. Opponents like Graham portray Trump’s immigration position as far out of the mainstream, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.