May 11, 2016

Trump supporters differ from other GOP voters on foreign policy, immigration issues

Supporters of Donald Trump differ substantially from other Republican voters in many of their foreign policy attitudes. And these differences extend to their views of immigration and government scrutiny of Muslims in the U.S.

Trump supporters have a distinct approach to global affairs, according to Pew Research Center surveys conducted in March and April. Fully 84% of those who support Trump for the GOP presidential nomination favor building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. That compares with 56% of Republican voters who preferred another candidate for the Republican nomination – those who supported Ted Cruz or John Kasich, who last week suspended their presidential campaigns, or volunteered someone else.

Trump supporters differ from other GOP voters on immigration, other issues

Trump supporters also are far more negative about the effects of free trade agreements than are non-Trump supporters.

Trump supporters more likely to say free trade agreements have hurt their financesTwo-thirds of Trump supporters (67%) say free trade agreements have been bad for the country, and 60% say they have definitely or probably hurt their own finances. Among GOP voters who supported other candidates for the party’s nomination, fewer than half (43%) say free trade agreements are bad for the country, while 39% say their own finances have been impacted negatively.

And while 65% of Trump supporters view U.S. engagement in the global economy as a bad thing, just half of non-Trump supporters say the same.

More generally, 54% of Trump backers say the U.S. does too much in solving world problems, while 29% say it does too little and 12% say it does about the right amount. Among non-Trump supporters, opinion is more mixed, with 40% saying the U.S. does too much globally.

Opinions about immigrants and immigration policy also divide Trump supporters from those who back other GOP candidates. Nearly seven-in-ten Trump supporters (69%) say that immigrants today are a burden on the U.S. because “they take our jobs, housing and health care.” Fewer than half of Republican voters who did not support Trump (47%) say that immigrants are a burden.

Non-Trump Republicans are twice as likely as backers of Trump to say immigrants strengthen the countryTrump supporters are divided over whether undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay in the U.S. if they meet certain requirements; 47% say they should, while 52% disagree. Those who say undocumented immigrants should not be allowed to stay legally in the U.S. were asked if there should be a “national effort to deport” all of those here illegally. Overall, about four-in-ten Trump supporters (42%) support this action.

But among non-Trump supporters, a majority (64%) says undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay in the U.S. legally if they meet certain requirements. Only about a third (34%) of non-Trump supporters oppose providing a path to legal status for those here illegally, and just 25% favor a national effort to deport all undocumented immigrants.

Trump supporters favor greater scrutiny for Muslims living in U.S.; non-Trump supporters are dividedTrump supporters also are more likely than GOP voters who do not support him to favor greater scrutiny for Muslims in the U.S. as part of government anti-terrorism efforts.

Nearly two-thirds of Trump supporters (64%) say that Muslims living in the U.S. should be subject to additional scrutiny than people in other religious groups. That compares with about half (45%) of non-Trump supporters.

Points of agreement among Trump backers, non-Trump supporters

Trump supporters, non-Trump supporters largely in sync on support for ISIS military campaign, IsraelThere is broad support of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters, regardless of which candidate they preferred in the nomination contest, for the U.S. military campaign against the Islamic militant group ISIS. In addition, large majorities of both Trump supporters (70%) and non-Trump supporters (66%) favor the use of U.S. ground forces to fight ISIS.

More generally, the predominant view among GOP voters is that using overwhelming military force is the best way to defeat global terrorism. Fully 77% of Trump supporters and 68% of non-Trump supporters favor the use of overwhelming force against global terrorism; just 18% and 25%, respectively, say that relying too much on force creates hatred, leading to more terrorism.

And when it comes to views of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, identical majorities of Trump supporters and non-Trump supporters say they sympathize more with Israel (77% each). Just 7% of Trump backers and 5% of non-Trump supporters say they sympathize more with the Palestinians.

Topics: 2016 Election, Foreign Affairs and Policy, Globalization and Trade, Immigration Attitudes, Muslim-Western Relations, Terrorism

  1. is a research assistant focusing on U.S. politics and policy at Pew Research Center.

19 Comments

  1. Anonymous7 months ago

    Please post number of respondents; margin of error, and any other statistical information that may be relevant to help interpret the findings. Thank you.

    1. Bruce Drake7 months ago

      Methodology for March survey pewrsr.ch/25yv0sy

      Methodology for April survey pewrsr.ch/1WK0urJ

  2. Anonymous7 months ago

    The problem in Washington lies not who is in the White House but within the “Great Division of America”, Congress.

  3. Anonymous7 months ago

    Trump supporters can be summed up in a single word, Pragmatists.

    1. Anonymous7 months ago

      Using 5000 year old technology to solve modern immigration reform is a really poor approach to solving the problem. It’s laughably wrong.

  4. Uwe Meller7 months ago

    Great survey, thanks

  5. Anonymous7 months ago

    I am Canadian. But I am very interested in US presidential process of 2016. I almost follow every primary. I feel that Donald’s Trump is not treated fairly. I can see the personal jealousy and hatred even from GOP personal. I also noticed same issue from the media. Yes all are free to say what they believe, but, if it this comes with jealousy and hatred, will not represent the true free comments. As a human, if Trump lies or change his course, all start comment as if he made a crime, but, when others did even worse, not one talk about it even the media.

  6. David John Francis7 months ago

    Of course border fences work and so will Donald Trumps wall–more so? And that is exactly why the GOP establishment is so vociferously intent an opposite opinion for the construction of a giant, high rise wall or any effectual blockade at the Southern border between an adversary of Mexico and the sovereignty of the United States. Annually there is some new law invented by both political parties for illegal aliens to assimilate into our nation, which has corrupted our system of immigration policies. The $113 billion dollars afforded to illegal aliens, should be funding our Veterans and the Social Security cutbacks to our Senior Citizens and not foreign people who violated the law.

    The bipartisan open borders cartel is all in favor of thrash out miscellaneous forms of “National border security,” specifically if it will grant them the supported wrapping to pass a path to citizenship or amnesty? But the one physical form of border security they will fight tooth and nail, to prevent, is the completion of the border fence–let alone a solid wall?

    THE PLEDGE IS IN NOW ABOUT THE TRUMP WALL, WHICH NOW HIS VOTERS EXPECT AND DEMAND. AND A POX ON BOTH HOUSES IF THEY TRY TO REIGN IN THE MASSIVE STRUCTURE THAT THE PEOPLE NOW EXPECT. BY UNKNOWN NUMBERS OF A ‘SILENT MAJORITY’ OF THOSE WHO ARE SICK OF THE CORRUPTION IN WASHINGTON ARE NOW REVITALIZED TO VOTE IN THE GENERAL ELECTION.

    IF AMERICA IS UNDER THE PROTECTION OF NEW MANAGEMENT THE WALL WILL BE BUILT? BUT IF IT WERE ALLEGED CRIME BOSS HILLARY CLINTON, CRAZY OLD BERNIE SANDERS, SENATOR CRUZ, GOVERNOR JOHN KASICK, PAUL RYAN AS NOTHING WILL BE DONE OF THEIR PROMISES AND THE WALL WILL NEVER MATERIALIZE AND THE DRUGS WILL KEEP POURING THOUGH OBAMAS OPEN BORDER, RUINING THE LIVES OF ADULTS AND CHILDREN.

    IF YOU ARE LIVID FROM BEING FORCED TO BE “POLITICALLY CORRECT” STUFFED DOWN OUR THROATS BY THIS PRESIDENT AND HIS LIBERAL ZEALOTS, THEN GET OUT THE VOTE AND STOP THE DEMOCRATS FROM MOVING US TOWARDS A “NEW WORLD ORDER” OR THE GOP PROFESSIONAL CLASS OF THE GLOBALISTS PROFITEERS WITH THEIR ECONOMY KILLING FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS.

    The first great surge of illegal immigration after the 1986 amnesty, which first and foremost came through the California-Mexico border, Congress passed a bill in 1996 to require construction of a double-layered fence (triple-layer in some places) in the San Diego corridor along the coast. By the end of the decade, apprehensions fell by 95% as illegal aliens moved eastward, even though the fence covered only 14 miles of the 60-mile sector. The majority of this border sector, unlike most other areas of the border, also has a tall and solid single-layer fence.

    While nothing is a full 100 percent, fences clearly work and take much of the pressure of the border patrol to keep up with the flow. In 2006 former President Bush signed the well intentioned Secure Fence Act, with a reach of 700 miles. But with Politicians having their palms greased, with boat loads of cash for their campaigns and hidden offshore bank accounts, excused building the fence by saying they couldn’t find the funding?

    We have a last and final chance to build that wall, is with the tough pledge of Donald Trump. With millions of jobs at risk, and the Obama administration handing out welfare like dollar candy we cannot and mustn’t except any excuses this time. The open border Globalist’s and hierarchy of the Republican’s Establishment and a Democratic agenda are either for “Cheap labor” for their business cronies or the Left using illegal aliens to vote in our elections, must be brought to the attention of the authorities?

    A carefully, yet a stealth method by the giant State of California where 3 million plus of foreign nations thrive on the working backs of the state taxpayers not only instituted driving licenses for illegal aliens, but attached the Motor Voter application? This action smells of wrongdoing, but in a blue Liberal state as California and a Governor with a serious mental problem, especially now he is shoving through health care for illegal aliens with could easily be devastating? The Motor Voter bill outcome could cause fraudulent violations of our election laws. With the larger proportion of illegal aliens that are poorly educated, cannot speak or understand English and additionally unable to comprehend that perjury which is a serious felony with the Democrats pressing them to vote, as with the “ACORN” organization, which had hundreds of thousands of illegal registrations. With foreigners handed a drivers license, the situation will get worse.

    Although ‘foreign nationals ’ driver’s licenses in California feature the phrases “Federal Limits Apply” and “not valid for official federal purposes,” True the Vote spokesman Logan Churchwell pointed out that state officials “specifically chose not to make illegal alien license holders searchable in their DMV database.” So therefore there is likelihood that illegal aliens could heavily change the results of citizen voting, if not remedied?

    With the former President of Mexico Vicente Fox raising his voice about the Trump Border wall as one of his first orders as President, and then tell us why Mexico has built a Border fence with it next door neighbor Guatemala, with a reasonable explanation to keep out freeloaders? Check out pictures on Google of the barbed razor wire, watch towers, and armed guards. Should not the United States have the same sovereign right as degreed in the US Constitution to protect ourselves from the illegal alien invasion? You enter Canada without permission your facing a fine of $5000 dollars, in Mexico a two year prison term and fine, in Iran 10 years incarceration and if you are stupid enough to trespass into North Korea, you will likely be shot. Those who venture illegally into our country, without documentation are handed drivers licenses in certain states, food stamps, free natal care for babies, healthcare, housing and cash payments for illegal alien babies born in the U.S.

  7. Anonymous7 months ago

    In my mind, a “conservative” is most focused on traditional interpretation of the US Constitution. Trump says little re his philosophical, Constitutional ideology. Seems like he is either a snake-oil salesman, or he believes the American voter is too shallow to see the genius of our founders. Either is disturbing.

    Live free or die (or at least try)!

    1. Anonymous7 months ago

      When he says that he will not use executive action but work with Congress on getting everything done, is that unconstitutional? When he says that Americans should be able to own any kind of weapon they want including any size clip and that the second amendment should be preserved without restriction, is that unconstitutional? He is a true American that loves this country deeply, He has always, since the 80’s, talked about how he would not want to run for President, that he would love to see someone else come in and fix what both sides have ruined, but he always said if it got bad enough and he did not see anyone that would fix the problems running, he would at that time run and win the Presidency. Our Founders, especially George Washington, thought that it would be better for a man not wanting to be President is a better choice than someone who is running for themselves.

      1. Karen Kerames7 months ago

        Right again! Great posts Anonymous.

  8. undefined7 months ago

    It’s amazing though that people like Kristol and others though perceive the exact opposite. They think that THEY are the pillars of conservatism. Hmm.. Where were they in 2012 when Romney ran though? Wasn’t he a liberal from Massachusetts who was pro-choice before being pro-life, anti-2A before being pro-2nd, Romneycare before being anti-Obamacare…..? Trump though has been an opponent of so-called “free trade” for at least a few decades and has been calling for a wall for years. Will be interesting to see how this all shapes up.

  9. Jim Russell7 months ago

    Is this slow moving Republican clown train wreck a hoot to watch or what? The Republican cynical 40 year “Southern Strategy” to recruit the nations intolerant and ignorant has finally come to fruition. Republicans have succeeded and turned the
    South from blue to red and picked up the like minded in the North along the way. But Houston, we have a problem. The recruited mindless inmates have become the rank and file majority and hijacked the Grand “Old” Party from the old, stingy rich, angry, country club white guys and taken over the asylum. Lesson, be careful what you wish for my GOP friends, you got the South and the like minded North, but they are driving you to extinction. Republican’s sowed the whirlwind and are now harvesting their richly deserved bitter harvest, adios

    1. Marina Morales7 months ago

      Buddy, look behind you, the train wreck is on the other track. The “D” line track. Denial will only make it more painful. Good luck, Tums are on sale now.

    2. undefined7 months ago

      I’m afraid that just based on this one paragraph, you yourself fall into the “intolerant” category.

  10. Packard Day7 months ago

    I am guessing the Trump supporters are also decidedly not members of the; “any war, any time, just so long as America can be in the middle of it” foreign policy strategy currently espoused by Hillary Clinton, and Republican stalwarts like John McCain, Lindsay Graham, and the rest of the Washington DC establishment. Then again, its only a guess.

    1. Anonymous7 months ago

      Precisely. We are anti-neocon and want sanity restored to the nation in trade, government, foreign policy, domestic policy. We are also in favor of preserving national sovereignty. Many not well-informed people do not realize that opening our border is intended to end our national sovereignty and terminate the existence of the US as an independent nation – which allows the elite to simultaneously extinguish the existence of our constitution and constitutional protections.

      The Clinton democrats – and the RINOs and their supporters – now have the dubious distinction of being the supporters of the neocons.

      1. Karen Kerames7 months ago

        Exactly right!

    2. Uwe Meller7 months ago

      Great survey, thanks
      And thank you Mr. Day, I think you have it right. We haven’t won a war since WW II, but we seem to like doing that so we keep on and on and….