Trump supporters don’t like Muslims

Sean McElwee and I have a piece on Salon about the relationship between hating Muslims and supporting Donald Trump. The empirical facts are that people who support Trump hold nasty stereotypes about Muslims, and dislike them, more even than the average Republican.

Sean did most of the writing, and I produced two of the figures. I hope you’ll read it (and check out Sean on Twitter if you like funny leftism). The data, the ANES 2016 Pilot Study, which was collected in January, is available free (with registration) here.  I put my code for these figures here; feel free to use it if you’re interested in the data (lots of good potential there).

Here are the two figures. The first shows the responses to the question of how well the word “violent” describes “most Muslims.” The Trump supporters are in gray, all Republicans are red, and Democrats are Blue.* Trump supporters have by far the nastiest views:

muslim and hispanic figures.xlsx

The second is from models predicting whether respondents support Trump, identifies as Republican, or identifies as Democrat, as a function of their feelings toward Muslims. In the models, hating Muslims increases the odds of being a Trump supporter or Republican, and lowers the odds of being a Democrat. The slopes for Trump and Republican are significantly different, meaning the nasty relationship is strongest for Trump support.

muslim and hispanic figures.xlsx

Here is the conclusion:

The explanation of Trump’s success is simple: The latent racism, xenophobia and other powerful social forces fostered by the right for decades have simply been extended by Trump to their next logical extreme. As racial scholar Ian Haney-Lopezwrites,

“[George W.] Bush was careful to cabin his remarks in terms of extremists and ‘a perverted visions of Islam,’ but the global terms in which he framed his analysis belied such fine distinctions.”

That is, Bush’s language “was operating more in the register of a dog whistle, a way to advance a basically racial message while still maintaining plausible deniability.” Even today, Bush is seen as more moderate on issues related to Islamophobia. But the aggressive domestic surveillance policies he pursued, and the rhetoric of the last few years indicate Islamophobia was ripe on the right. Trump is just the most successful politician to date at picking the fruit.

* We restricted Trump supporters to those who identified as Republican or independent, since everyone was asked to pick their favorite Republican and we didn’t think Democrats were likely to really support Trump.

6 Comments

Filed under Politics

6 responses to “Trump supporters don’t like Muslims

  1. micah

    “We restricted Trump supporters to those who identified as Republican or Democrat, since everyone was asked to pick their favorite Republican and we didn’t think Democrats were likely to really support Trump.”

    Did you mean restricted to those who identified as Republican only?

    I wonder if Trump supporters are more xenophobic than others in general, or if it is mostly about Muslims? My guess might be more of the former than the latter – with the caveat that they are most xenophobic about a handful of specific others.

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  2. Good article. A video called Reel Bad Arabs can be found on the Internet. Hollywood and TV programs have dedicated decades, using one brush, to paint a negative image of Muslims and everyone in the Arab world.

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  3. Reblogged this on psychanne and commented:
    I concur

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  4. Why are we giving so much importance to Politicians like trump who stand up for radicalism..which is the worst thing..

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  5. The empirical facts are that people who support Trump hold nasty stereotypes about Muslims, and dislike them, more even than the average Republican.

    And three days later, Muslims carry out a large-scale, coordinated attack against a Western European nation which has regularly chided us for our racism. If it wasn’t so devastatingly tragic, it would be the ultimate irony.

    Of course, now Muslims say, “I pray that God punishes them, and rids us of this scourge” (http://metro.co.uk/2016/03/23/what-everyday-muslims-think-of-the-brussels-attacks-5769703/), but how many moderate Muslims report radicals to the police?

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