After several weeks of President Donald Trump making xenophobic and racist comments aimed at Democratic lawmakers and immigrants, 57% of Americans said in a new INSIDER poll that the president is a white supremacist or emboldens white supremacy.
The poll posed this questions to 1,091 American adults: “Political opponents have said that they believe President Trump espouses white supremacist beliefs. How do you feel about that allegation?”
- 31% said “I think President Trump is a white supremacist.”
- 26% said “I think President Trump is not a white supremacist, but his actions encourage them.”
- 12% said “I think President Trump is not a white supremacist.”
- 18.5% said “I think President Trump is absolutely not a white supremacist, I think he opposes them.”
- 13% didn’t know or weren’t sure.
A majority of every racial and ethnic group also linked Trump to white supremacy, with 54% of white respondents, 59% of Asian-Americans, 70% of Hispanic or Latino respondents, and 77% of African-Americans agreeing that Trump is a white supremacist or emboldens white supremacy.
All told, of the 305 respondents who said they were people of color, 37% indicated they thought the president personally is a white supremacist. Another 27% said Trump is not a white supremacist, but he has emboldened white supremacists.
As expected, the vast majority of people who identified as liberal said they believed Trump either espoused or encouraged white supremacy.
Non-liberals also think Trump emboldens white supremacists
But a surprisingly high percentage of non-liberals, including 51% of slightly conservative respondents, 27% of moderately conservative Americans, 13% of very conservative respondents, and 51% of those who said they were neither liberal nor conservative agreed that Trump is a white supremacist or that he emboldens white supremacy.
Trump has trafficked in racially inflammatory language and xenophobia for much of his career in the public eye, including the years he spent claiming that President Barack Obama was not an American citizen.
But in recent weeks, an increasing number of prominent leaders and Democratic politicians — including at least seven 2020 Democratic presidential candidates – have taken the extraordinary step of not only calling Trump’s words racist, but point-blank calling him a white supremacist.
In mid-July, Trump inserted himself into a dispute between a group of four progressive congresswomen of color and Democratic leadership, telling the congresswomen to “go back to the broken and crime-infested places from which they came,” despite three out of the four being born in the United States.
And in the past month, Trump unleashed a tweetstorm attacking Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland and predominantly African-American areas of Baltimore in his district as “a disgusting, rat and rodent-infested mess,” and further calling African-American activist Rev. Al Sharpton a “con man” who “hates whites/cops” after Sharpton criticized him.
But the proverbial dam broke when a gunman opened fire in an El Paso Walmart, killing 22 primarily Latino victims and injuring dozens of others. In a manifesto published to the website 8chan, the suspected shooter wrote that he was defending Texas from a “Hispanic invasion” — directly echoing the Trump campaign’s own language.
More 2020 candidates are calling Trump a white supremacist
While political candidates directly accusing an opponent of being a white supremacist would have been unthinkable in the recent past, scholars of racial politics told INSIDER’s Joseph Zeballos-Roig that Trump is weaponizing race as a campaign tactic more than any major politician since the 1960s — and Democrats are responding in kind.
In his first TV ad of the 2020 cycle, presidential candidate and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro directly addresses Trump, saying, “you referred to countries as s—holes. You told congresswomen to ‘go back to where they came from.’ You called immigrants rapists,” adding, “as we saw in El Paso, Americans were killed because you stoked the fire of racists. Innocent people were shot down because they don’t look like you.”
SurveyMonkey Audience polls from a national sample balanced by census data of age and gender. Respondents are incentivized to complete surveys through charitable contributions. Generally speaking, digital polling tends to skew toward people with access to the internet. Total 1114 respondents collected August 11, 2019, a margin of error plus or minus 3.01 percentage points with a 95% confidence level.