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We know that racial incitement and xenophobia will be the animating force of President Trump’s 2020 re-election effort. But despite Trump’s relentless focus on scapegoating immigrants, the American public doesn’t share the anti-immigrant views of Trump, his white nationalist advisors and his nativist base. In fact, by many measures, the public is becoming more pro-immigrant (for more on the shape of public opinion regarding immigration, see this assessment by Bloomberg columnist Frank Wilkinson).
Recently, a series run by The Upshot in the New York Times showcases findings from the Democracy Fund and the UCLA partnership on what they call the Nationscape Project — a massive-sample public opinion analysis, reflecting the opinions of more than 110,000 people nationwide on more than 50 issues. Among its findings, the polling finds:
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
The public is rejecting Trump’s immorality and indecency. Trump’s embrace of ugly and divisive race-baiting and xenophobia isn’t a brilliant political strategy if it mobilizes core supporters of Trump but mobilizes a majority in opposition. In the 2018 midterms, Trump and most GOP candidates closed with ugly and cynical attack ads focused on caravans, criminals, sanctuary cities and amnesty. It backfired badly. In the off-year election in 2017 and in 2019, the same GOP strategy backfired. If these results hold in 2020, it just may turn out that the signature issue for Trump and the GOP turns out to be a loser.