HUFFPOLLSTER: Trump’s Muslim Ban Proposal Unlikely To Hurt Him Among Republicans

Americans oppose Trump's Muslim ban, but Republicans are more split. Fear of terrorism is at its highest rate since the weeks following the 9/11 attacks. And PBS Newshour highlights the challenges of polling. This is HuffPollster for Friday, December 11, 2015

AMERICANS REJECT TRUMP’S MUSLIM BAN PROPOSAL - HuffPollster: "A solid majority of Americans opposes Donald Trump's plan to ban Muslims from entering the U.S., but Republicans are divided on the proposal, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Thursday. Fifty-seven percent of Americans said they were against the 'proposal to bar Muslims from entering the U.S.'....Three in four Democrats opposed Trump's plan, but Republicans were split. Thirty-eight percent of GOP primary voters favored the proposal, and 39 percent opposed it." 

Another poll shows more Republicans in favor of the ban - More from HuffPollster: "A Bloomberg/Purple Strategies poll released Wednesday also found a majority opposed to Trump’s 'temporary ban on all Muslims who are citizens of foreign countries from entering the United States.' But that poll showed a stark divide among Republicans and Democrats. Sixty-five percent of likely Republican primary voters were in favor of the plan, while 22 percent were opposed. Among likely Democratic primary voters, 75 percent opposed the plan and 18 percent favored it. This difference in the two polls is likely due in part to the wording of questions. The WSJ/NBC poll question included more details of Trump's plan than did the Bloomberg/Purple Strategies poll." A CBS/NYT poll out Friday morning also shows that a majority of Republicans supports a temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S. [HuffPost, CBS]

But the proposal doesn’t seem to be hurting Trump in the polls -  So far, Trump remains in the lead in HuffPost Pollster’s charts nationally as well as in Iowa and New Hampshire. Polls out this week have shown his numbers holding steady or increasing, but most of those polls were conducted mostly or completely before his latest remarks.

FEAR OF TERRORISM RISING AMONG AMERICANS - Public Religion Research Institute: "Three-quarters (75%) of Americans say that terrorism is a critical issue in the country, while roughly one in five (21%) say it is one among many important issues and only four percent say it is not that important. Concerns about terrorism have increased substantially over the last few years. In 2011, slightly more than half (53%) of the public said the issue of terrorism was critical….Republicans are somewhat more likely than Democrats to say the issue of terrorism is of critical importance." [PRRI]

Increased fear could be helping Trump - Jonathan Martin and Dalia Sussman: "Americans are more fearful about the likelihood of another terrorist attack than at any other time since the weeks after Sept. 11, 2001, a gnawing sense of dread that has helped lift Donald J. Trump to a new high among Republican primary voters, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll….Mr. Trump...has been the clear beneficiary of this moment of deep anxiety. More than four in 10 Republican primary voters say the most important quality in a candidate is strong leadership, which eclipses honesty, empathy, experience or electability. These voters heavily favor Mr. Trump" [NYT]

AMERICANS VIEW ISLAM NEGATIVELY - HuffPollster: "The recent terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California -- and Republican front-runner Donald Trump's subsequent call for a 'total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States' -- further stoked worries about rising Islamophobia….Just 17 percent of Americans hold a favorable view of Islam, according to the poll, which was also conducted after the San Bernardino shooting but prior to Trump's comments. Fifty-eight percent have an unfavorable view of the religion, while 25 percent are unsure. The results are similar to those of a March HuffPost/YouGov poll....Underlying the apparent lack of change, however, is an uptick in the number of people who now consider themselves strongly anti-Islamic….The shift is especially pronounced among Republicans and political independents." [HuffPost]

American Muslims don't support violence - Brendan Nyhan: "On Monday, Donald Trump singled out American Muslims as supporting repression and violence, citing a discredited poll from an anti-Muslim group as evidence for imposing border restrictions. But if he is worried about extremist public opinion in the United States, he should take a broader look around. Research shows that Muslim Americans are less likely to endorse violence against civilians than other religious groups. Moreover, the evidence suggests that a non-trivial minority of Americans of all faiths and backgrounds is willing to endorse the sorts of violence against the government and repressive legal measures that Mr. Trump accused Muslims of disproportionately supporting." [NYT]

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THE CHALLENGES OF POLLING PRIMARIES -  Judy Woodruff: “What do polls really tell us? Historically, at this point in the race, they aren’t always a good predictor of the eventual party nominee. In a report that’s part of our collaboration with “The Atlantic” magazine, we break down the art and science of polling.” [PBS NewsHour]

MILLENNIALS MORE INCLINED TO VOTE OUTSIDER CANDIDATES - HuffPollster: "Millennials, especially those who feel disenchanted about their own future, are gravitating toward outsider presidential candidates, according to a poll released Thursday by Harvard University's Institute of Politics. The survey showed 41 percent of millennials who gave themselves at least a 50-50 chance of voting in the Democratic primary support Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), while 35 percent prefer Hillary Clinton….Donald Trump and Ben Carson were leading among young Republicans, with 22 percent and 20 percent respectively, even though a majority of the potential GOP voters considered neither man qualified to be president, according to the survey. (The poll was conducted in late October and early November; since that time, Carson has fallen significantly in other national polls that include all age ranges.) Supporters of both Trump and Sanders have something in common: Most say that the idea of the American dream is dead for them personally, unlike the backers of other candidates." [HuffPost]

Millennials also support sending troops abroad, as long as it's not them -More from the Harvard IOP - Amsa Khalid: "The institute has asked millennials about the idea of American boots on the ground at three different times this year, and the survey results have fluctuated somewhat, but there seems to be a 'hardening of support.' In this most recent survey, 60 percent of the 18- to 29-year-olds polled say they support committing U.S. combat troops to fight ISIS. But an almost equal number (62 percent) say they wouldn't want to personally join the fight, even if the U.S. needed additional troops. The disconnect in joining the fight comes down to how millennials feel about the government writ large, according to Harvard IOP Polling Director John Della Volpe." [NPR]


-The share of wealth held by the middle-class reaches the lowest point in four decades. [HuffPost, Pew]

-A new AP-NORC/Yale School of Forestry study finds complex American attitudes on the environment. [AP-NORC] 

-Fifty-eight percent of Americans are against defunding Planned Parenthood. [USAToday]

-Americans' trust in the government to protect them against terrorism falls to a new low [Gallup]

-Two Iowa polls show Ted Cruz gaining on Donald Trump. [Monmouth, CNN]

-Trump is gaining in New Hampshire, but so is Chris Christie. [WBUR]

-Sixty-six percent of likely Republican voters say they'd be excited or optimistic if Trump were elected president. [CBS]

-Cruz, Marco Rubio and Ben Carson duke it out for second place in IBD/TIPP poll. [IBD]

-Most Republican voters who support Trump, 68 percent say they would vote for him if he ran as an independent. [USAToday]

THIS WEEK'S 'OUTLIERS' - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:

-Rand Paul might not make it to the main stage at the next CNN debate. [WBUR]

-The pollster who conducted the survey Trump cited as support for his Muslim ban says he is misusing the numbers. [NYMag]

-Iowa pollsters find that Trump’s support is less pronounced among those who have a record of voting in primary elections. [WashPost]

-Nate Silver partly blames the instant gratification of seeing effects in the near-daily polls for Trump’s outlandish statements. [FiveThirtyEight] 

-Spending on campaigns has increased drastically since 2010, but voter turnout remains static. [Pew]  

-Researchers find evidence that partisanship matters more than religion on issues of tolerance. [FiveThirtyEight] 

-Ezra Klein and Alvin Chang report on a study measuring discrimination along partisan lines. [Vox] 

-YouGov reveals that skewed age distributions were a big part of why they miscalled the result in the 2015 UK elections. [YouGov]

-Annie Petit argues that fixing bad tracking question wording is worth harming continuity of the data. [MRA]

-Iowa pollsters find that Trump’s support is less pronounced among those who have a record of voting in primary elections. [WashPost]