Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Trump: Who Voted For, And Supports Him?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, April 21, 2018

Formerly titled, “With Trump WYSIWYG: Who Voted For, And Supports Him?”

African leopard, Panthera pardus pardus, near Lake Panic, Kruger National Park, South Africa, 31 December 2013
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0), Derek Keats, https://www.flickr.com/photos/93242958@N00/19448654130M

One either loves, or loathes, Donald Trump.

One does not simply “tolerate” him.

He is a divisive political figure.

He is starkly contrasted to former POTUS George W. Bush, who in a May 6, 1999 interview with David Horowitz of Salon magazine, famously said, “I’m a uniter, not a divider.”

Trump is a divider, not a uniter.

For Trump, e pluribus unum means nothing, even though we are the United States of America.

And for those who voted for him thinking he’d change, that he was merely spouting hollow campaign rhetoric, they might as well have asked a leopard to change it’s spots.

With Trump, WYSIWYG.

Specifically, I mean to refer to him in his executive Presidential capacity.

And yet, strangely enough, he has coalesced support from diverse, divergent sub-groups within, and without the GOP. The importance of that feat cannot, and should not be underestimated, glossed over, or minimized, because understanding it is key to political success, especially for Democrats. Given the particularly divisive nature of partisan politics now in Washington, and that well over 70 GOPpers are retiring or moving toward greater political office, the Democrats are having their future “handed to them on a silver platter.” But, they could still run awry of voter sentiment, despite the appearance of strong indicating signs.

The GOP political establishment that Trump calls “the swamp” in Washington, D.C. – KY Sen. Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader, and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI, 1), Speaker of the House, both figuratively representative of the “Washington establishment” – are more reserved in their criticisms of him, though it seems painfully evident that they care not one iota for him. They, like others, merely tolerate him. And they are, true to their course, hoping to use him for their means and ends.


Official White House portrait, Donald John Trump, 45th President of the United States, 58th presidential term, elected Tuesday, November 8, 2016, inaugurated Friday, January 20, 2017.

However, as a human being, Trump is known to be recalcitrant, obstinate, refractory, obdurate, treacherous, prevaricating, manipulative, narcissistic, insecure, petulant, boastful, arrogant, haughty, vainglorious, disdainful, conceited, lordly, supercilious, insolent, overbearing, contemptuous, selfish, unrepentant, avariciously unrestrained, degenerately lecherous, perniciously wretched, profligately depraved, licentiously craven, degenerately distorted, abominably horrific, grotesquely uncivil, egregiously bizarre, morally reprehensible, pathologically fantastic, spiritually contemptuous, intellectually vacuous, and fully, entirely and wholly specious… among other admirable qualities publicly observable.

That’s just his good side, of course, for every one has a bad side – some traits are simply more visible than others – and only now (it seems) the public is beginning to get a whiff of the deep decay and internal rot that is Donald John Trump. Suddenly, they don’t like it… any more. And yet, “you gotta’ dance with the one that brung ya’,” so the GOP is trying to dance just as Donald-like as they can to please their lord and master, which still isn’t good enough for him.

But to die-hard Trump supporters, he is doing quite well, and is working diligently to MAGA, or “Make America Great Again.” Either someone has yet to explain to them why that’s not a good slogan, or they can’t understand it, because logically, if a thing must be made great AGAIN, then that thing is NOT great in its present condition. And approximately when American “not-greatness” occurred is a matter of some debate, I would suppose, among Trumpsters, and other adherents. Nevertheless, we must become great… AGAIN! Because we’re not great, and don’t know why, but by golly, we’re gonna’ make it great again!

Disapproval ratings for POTUS Donald Trump are setting records for any office holder since record have been kept circa 1930’s by renown pollster George Gallup. Since Inauguration Day 2017, Trump’s lowest approval rating has been 37%, tying with POTUS Clinton on June 6, 1993.

And so, that’s the circular logic swimming around in the minds and hearts of the Trump faithful – it is because it is, because it is. And so, it is.

Clearly, even within his own party, he has little support. He is as divisive a figure internally, as he is externally. Again, one either loves him, or loathes him… there is no middle ground.

And that is precisely how Trump figures he has the people cornered – by promising to shake things up as an “outsider” with (monkey) “business” moxie. But to assert that predominately White Evangelical suburban soccer moms GOP voting bloc fell for his hot talk, hook, line, and sinker is not fully accurate, because there are at least FIVE Trump supporter groups, which, ironically, are quite diverse.

Dr. Emily Ekins, PhD, a Research Fellow and Director of Polling at the Cato Institute, whose research focuses on public opinion, American politics, political psychology, and social movements, found FIVE distinctly unique categories of Trump voters, and wrote about her findings in her analysis “The Five Types of Trump Voters: Who They Are and What They Believe,” published June 2017 online in Voter Study Group.

Dr. Ekins leads the Cato Institute project on public opinion in which she designs and conducts national public opinion surveys and experiments, and is the author of Policing in America: Understanding Public Attitudes toward the Police, which investigates the drivers of public opinion toward the police and reform. Dr. Ekins’ other publications include The Libertarian Roots of the Tea Party and Public Attitudes toward Federalism: The Public’s Preference for a Renewed Federalism. {Ed. note: The Cato Institute is a Libertarian “think-tank” founded in 1974 as the Charles Koch Foundation by Ed Crane, Murray Rothbard, and Charles Koch, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Koch Industries, and in July 1976 changed name to become Cato Institute.}

Before joining the Cato Institute, she was four years the Director of Polling for Reason Foundation where she conducted national public opinion polls and published specialized research studies. In 2014, she authored an in-depth study of young Americans, “Millennials: The Politically Unclaimed Generation.” Before joining Reason, Dr. Ekins was a Research Associate at Harvard Business School, where she co-authored several Harvard Business Case Studies and helped design and conduct research experiments and surveys. {Ed. note: The Reason Foundation is a Los Angeles-based Libertarian “think-tank” founded in 1978.}

In “The Five Types of Trump Voters,” she found:

• Five unique clusters of Trump voters: American Preservationists (20%), Staunch Conservatives (31%), Anti-Elites (19%), Free Marketeers (25%), and the Disengaged (5%).

• There is no such thing as “one kind of Trump voter” who voted for him for one single reason. Many voted with enthusiasm for Trump while others held their noses and voted against Hillary Clinton. {Ed. note: One CANNOT “vote against” a candidate, because there is NO “Against” ballot; one ONLY votes FOR a candidate, or FOR another candidate, NEVER “against” a candidate. Only matters of question/policy are “For” or “Against,” (i.e., “Are you FOR or AGAINST _X_?,” a”Yes,” or “No” vote only). One has NEVER been able to “vote against” any candidate.}

• Trump voters hold very different views on a wide variety of issues including immigration, race, American identity, moral traditionalism, trade, and economics.

• Four issues distinguish Trump voters from non-Trump voters: Attitudes toward Hillary Clinton, evaluations of the economy, views about illegal immigration, and views about Muslim immigration.

Perhaps the most peculiar of the Trump Voter Groups was the Disengaged, which comprise 5% of all Trump voters, who, though some may consider them stereotypical of Trump voters, are the antithesis of the GOP, or of any other political group because of their characteristics, which include:

• Ignorance of Political Matters
• Feelings of Detachment from Institutions
• Skepticism of Immigration

They are “less loyal Republicans who largely came to vote for Trump in the general election, skew younger, female, are religiously unaffiliated, are not very politically informed and have limited knowledge of political facts.”

“The Disengaged do not reveal many strong preferences on surveys, but what they do reveal is concern about immigration and support a temporary Muslim travel ban, and feel unable to influence political and economic institutions because they believe the system is biased against them.”

Of all 5 Trump Voter Groups, they are the ONLY ones with the most identification across 4 other Trump Voter Groups, and comprised 3 out of the remaining 4 (with total group proportion), which are Staunch Conservatives (31%), American Preservationists (20%), and Anti-Elites (19%). The Free Marketers (25%) only barely intersected the Staunch Conservatives and Anti-Elites, and did not intersect the Disengaged at all.

Anti-Elites also share a common denominator with The Disengaged, which is that they also have portions in all 4 quadrants of Identity and Economics measurements. In that sense, Anti-Elites share centrist positions with The Disengaged, which are positioned almost squarely in the middle intersection of the two axes. The two most isolated groups are Free Marketers, and American Preservationists who share no common denominators with each other, and very little with any others, while The Disengaged common denominators with all 4 others.

But the group which perhaps is singularly most responsible for ushering Trump into office are the American Preservationists, which comprise 20% of all Trump Voter Groups. By an 83% margin, they are the ones who voted Trump in early GOP Primaries – more than any other group. However, they are almost entirely incongruous in their beliefs insofar as they strongly identify with national policy positions most often identified with Democrats, including environmental issues, distrust of wealth, and a “social safety net.” Yet they skew away from similar positions on matters of immigration, personal health (42% smoke daily), and view themselves as non-traditional, despite their policy opinions. And they vehemently oppose those whom they perceive to be the D.C. establishment, aka “the swamp,” with only 15% having “very favorable” views of TX Senator Ted Cruz, 17% for Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, and only 12% for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

For example, “they are one of the most likely groups to believe that global warming is happening (58%), that it is serious (61%), and caused by human activity (a 40% plurality). Furthermore, 53% want their member of Congress to be “compromise oriented” to get things done and make deals.” Compromise is hardly a byword with the GOP-dominated 115th Congress (2017-2019), the veritable “swamp” about which Trump frequently complained.

Sociologically, they believe that obedience is crucial to social order, and are the only group that believes it “is more important to teach your child obedience (58%) than self-reliance (37%),” believe the death penalty is a deterrent to crime which is not used enough (78%) {despite numerous research findings that it is not, ed.}, which is 20-30 points higher than either Free Marketers and Anti-Elites.

And despite their desire for community members’ obedience, they do not see themselves as traditional, and a majority (57%) said they would not describe themselves as traditional, religious liberty issues among them were only a moderate priority, with only 33% describing themselves as pro-life.

American Preservationists (20%)
“These Trump voters lean economically progressive, believe the economic and political systems are rigged, have nativist immigration views, and a nativist and ethnocultural conception of American identity.

“Although American Preservationists are less loyal Republicans than other Trump voter groups, and nearly half had positive views of Clinton in 2012, American Preservationists comprise the core Trump constituency that propelled him to victory in the early Republican primaries.

“American Preservationists have low levels of formal education and the lowest incomes of the Trump groups—and non-Trump voters as well. Despite being the most likely group to say that religion is “very important” to them, they are the least likely to attend church regularly. They are the most likely group to be on Medicaid, to report a permanent disability that prevents them from working, and to regularly smoke cigarettes. Despite watching the most TV, they are the least politically informed of the Trump groups.

“American Preservationists appear more likely to desire being around people like themselves, who have similar backgrounds and cultural experiences. They are far more likely to have a strong sense of their own racial identity and to say their Christian identity is very important to them. They take the most restrictionist approach to immigration— staunchly opposing not just illegal but legal immigration as well, and intensely supporting a temporary Muslim travel ban. They feel the greatest amount of angst over race relations: they believe that anti-white discrimination is as pervasive as other forms of discrimination, and they have cooler feelings (as measured on a feeling thermometer scale) toward minorities. They agree in overwhelming numbers that real Americans need to have been born in America or have lived here most of their lives and be Christian.

“American Preservationists are trade skeptics and look more like Democrats on domestic economic issues, particularly on the nation’s wealth distribution, concern over old-age entitlement programs, and animus toward Wall Street. They feel powerless against moneyed interested and the politically connected and tend to distrust other people. They also share liberals’ views on the environment, believing that global warming is a serious threat and human activity is primarily to blame.”

“They also watch the most TV, with 42% who report watching more than four hours a day. Although more in this group report watching Fox News than other cable and broadcast channels, they are less likely overall than other groups to do so. In fact, much of their TV watching is not devoted to the news. They report paying less attention to the news than other groups—they are about 20 to 30 points less likely than the Staunch Conservatives and Free Marketeers to say they know “a lot” about politics (22%) and follow it “most of the time” (52%). By extension, they have less political knowledge than other groups— for instance, they are about half as likely as the Free Marketeers and Staunch Conservatives to know that John Roberts is a “judge” (42%).

“This is a less Republican group with only 40% identifying as such in 2012 and 23% identifying as Democrats. They are also less likely than other groups to self-identify as libertarian (6%), and half as likely to have been involved with the Tea Party movement (19%). American Preservationists and the Anti-Elites are the most likely groups to have experienced partisan shifts (+13 points) toward the Republican Party between 2012 and 2016.

Demographically, the group is less likely to have graduated from college—only 15% have done so. Instead, 61% have high school diplomas or less (20% say they did not finish high school). They are half as likely as other groups to be employed full time and are the most likely group to be underemployed (35%) with 19% reporting being unable to work due to a disability. They are also lower income and the most likely group to have incomes below $50,000 a year (56%). These differences cannot simply be explained by differences in age. They were not particularly older or younger than other groups, being about as likely as the Staunch Conservatives to be over age 55 (56%).

“This group is more likely than others to self-identify as a “born again” Christian (45%), and most likely to say that religion is “very important” to them (58%). But surprisingly, they are also the most likely group to “never” or “seldom” attend church (52%). Religion appears to be more a part of their identity rather than their daily life.”


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