tags: , , , , Polling, Press Releases

There He Goes Again: Trump Turns to Tired, Xenophobic Playbook Again as American Public Rejects His Anti-Immigrant Divisiveness

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Yesterday in the White House Rose Garden and in a series of interviews, President Trump delivered a mix of racism, xenophobia and fact-free incoherence. But as Trump again turns to his old playbook, there is growing evidence that the American public is rejecting his divisiveness:

  • New Pew Research polling finds that the public is focused on real issues like Covid-19 and the economy and isn’t animated by “illegal immigration” compared to recent election cycles. Across all partisan affiliations, the public’s prioritization of “illegal immigration” as a “very big problem for the country today” has declined precipitously:
    • Among Republicans, just 43% of respondents said “illegal immigration” is a big problem in the new Pew poll, compared to 67% in both 2016 and 2018 polls; 
    • The decline is also apparent among Independents: 44% in 2016, 42% in 2018, and 28% now;
    • Among Democrats, it has decline from 25% in 2016 to 23% in 2018 to 15% now;

Despite public sentiment for solutions to real problems, Trump insists going back to his ugly one-note focus.

  • July 2020 Gallup polling: By a 77-19% margin, Gallup finds a record-high number of Americans think immigration is a “good thing” rather than a “bad thing” for the country. Gallup has asked that question 19 times previously, going back to 2001. 
    • The current 77% support for “immigration is a good thing” is the highest ever recorded; 
    • The 19% support for “bad thing” is tied for the lowest ever; 
    • The 58-point margin between the two is the greatest differential Gallup has ever recorded.
  • The American people stand with the Biden vision and focus on immigration. The cornerstone of the Biden immigration approach is his commitment to introduce legislation in the early days of his administration to create a line to get into for 11 million undocumented immigrants settled in America. 
    • This proposal enjoys broad and deep support from Americans and stands in sharp contrast to Trump’s ugly divisiveness on race and immigration.
    • In addition, a recent NYT/Siena deep-dive polling identified a small but significant slice of battleground state voters who backed Trump in 2016 but back Biden in 2020. The top two reasons why? Biden will unite the country; and Trump has made race relations worse. 
    • Down the list some, but still making the cut as a top reason for the shift toward Biden: immigration. By a margin of more than 50 percentage points, former Trump voters “trust Biden to do a better job handling immigration.”

According to Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communication for America’s Voice:

The public wants a unifying focus on the biggest issues facing the country: 1) the COVID-19 pandemic and our health and safety; 2) the ongoing racial reckoning and drive to enact related reforms; and 3) efforts to cushion the effects of the economic crisis and sky-high unemployment. 

Instead we get more ugly racism and xenophobia from Trump invoking gangs and crime in an effort to shift blame and focus away from his incompetence and mismanagement. Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda has always been unpopular outside his diehard base, but it’s growing even more so at this moment. Trump’s is a one-note presidency that reeks of failure and desperation. 

Trump has forced Americans to choose sides. We have and it’s a broad rejection of Trump’s tired playbook of xenophobia. Trump’s attacks on immigrants lost at the ballot box in 2017; backfired on the GOP in 2018; and the public is gearing up to repudiate it this November up and down the ballot.