Trump is the New Mainstream

Brendan Kirby,

Supporters of upstart candidate are newly formed GOP majority on a slew of issues.

The views of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump are the new GOP mainstream.

In smashing his way to the cusp of the nomination, Trump challenged recent Republican orthodoxy on a number of issues, from international trade to intervention in foreign conflicts. That policy schism is one of the reasons that has kept Establishment Republicans from fully embracing him and why House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) still has not endorsed him.

But a Pew Research Center report released this week, which combines surveys taken during the primary season, demonstrates that Republican voters are far closer to Trump on foreign policy issues than his critics.

Trump supporters are more likely than voters who favored another GOP candidate, by a margin of 84 percent to 56 percent, to favor building a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border. Trump backers also were more likely to believe that free trade has been bad for the country (67 percent to 47 percent), that immigrants are a burden to the country (69 percent to 47 percent) and that Muslims should be subjected to more scrutiny (64 percent to 45 percent).

On all four of those issues, the Trump view has the support of a majority of all Republican and Republican-leaning voters.

PP_16.05.09_TrumpSupporters Trump is the New Mainstream

On a fifth issue, Trump’s view that the U.S. does too much to solve the world’s problems, Trump’s view is not the majority but still enjoys plurality support. Among all GOP voters, 46 percent agree and 32 percent disagree.

A majority of GOP voters — and Trump supporters, specifically — believe that U.S. involvement in the global economy is a bad thing. Trump supporters were overwhelming more likely to say free trade agreements have definitely or probably hurt them personally. Sixty percent agreed, while 48 percent of all GOP-leaning voters — a plurality — also agreed.

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One area where Trump supporters are outside of the majority view among all Republicans is what to do about the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants living inside the country. Among all Republicans, 57 percent favor allowing them to stay as long as they meet certain requirements. Support for that position was even higher, 64 percent, among non-Trump supporters. But a majority of Trump backers, 52 percent, believe they should not be allowed to stay. Trump, himself, has said that some illegal immigrants should be able to gain legal status but that they must go home first.

The Pew report indicates several areas of shared interest where Trump and his rivals — and their rank-and-file supporters — might find common ground. An identical 77 percent in both camps sympathize more with Israel than the Palestinians. Republicans off all stripes also support by similar margins a military campaign against the Islamic State, including he use of ground troops. Strong majorities said overwhelming military force is the best way to defeat terrorism, although non-Trump voters were slightly more likely to believe that relying too much on military force leads to more terrorism.

Taken as a whole, the results suggest Trump has popular will on his side as he and Establishment leaders attempt to reach a reconciliation to unify against likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.