Bloomberg Poll: Nearly Two-Thirds of Likely GOP Primary Voters Back Trump's Muslim Ban

Wednesday, December 9, 2015 01:23 PM
By: John McCormick

Almost two-thirds of likely 2016 Republican primary voters favor Donald Trump's call to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the U.S., while more than a third say it makes them more likely to vote for him.

Those are some of the findings from a Bloomberg Politics/Purple Strategies PulsePoll, an online survey conducted Tuesday, that shows support at 37 percent among all likely general-election voters for the controversial proposal put forward by the Republican front-runner.

“We believe these numbers are made up of some people who are truly expressing religious bigotry and others who are fearful about terrorism and are willing to do anything they think might make us safer,” Doug Usher, who runs polling for Washington-based Purple Strategies, said in his analysis of his poll's findings. "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."

Support for Trump's proposal remains virtually unchanged even after voters are told both sides of the argument. On one side, they were told that “leaders from across the political spectrum have condemned this policy” as one that will make the U.S. “less safe by alienating the allies we need to fight ISIS.” They were also told that Trump has said it is needed until more is known about the threat and that the nation "cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in jihad."

When voters were provided with this additional information, support for the proposal remains essentially unchanged, with 64 percent of likely Republican primary voters saying they favor the idea. That includes 52 percent who say they strongly support the proposal.

After being told about the idea, 37 percent of likely Republican primary voters say it makes them more likely to support the billionaire real estate mogul, while 16 percent say less and 46 percent say it has no impact.

Among all likely general-election voters, including Democrats and independents, 18 percent say it makes them more likely to back Trump, while 33 percent say less likely and 44 percent say it has no impact.

While Trump has considerable strength among likely Republican primary voters, the survey shows weakness for him in a general election. Including all likely voters, 33 percent view him favorably and 64 percent unfavorably.

That's a worse favorability rating than President Barack Obama, who was at 51 percent favorable and 47 percent unfavorable in this survey. It's also worse than Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, who is seen favorably by 45 percent and unfavorably by 52 percent of likely general-election voters.

Those with less education are more likely to be strongly supportive of Trump's Muslim proposal, with 34 percent of those without a college education feeling that way compared to 22 percent of those who do have a college education. Older voters, evangelical Christians, and whites are also more likely than the overall general election population to favor Trump's plan.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points on the full sample and higher on subgroups, such as likely Republican primary voters, where it's 7 percentage points.