More than a third of self-identified Republican primary voters say they supported the racist chant at President Donald Trump’s North Carolina rally earlier this month in a new INSIDER poll.
The poll mirrored a clear partisan divide when it comes to racial attitudes. Around 38% of Republican respondents either somewhat approved, approved or strongly approved of the supporters’ racist chant. But only five percent of self-identified Democratic primary voters expressed similar attitudes.
Instead, Democrats overwhelmingly disapproved of the crowd’s chanting.
At the rally on July 17, Trump supporters chanted “send her back!” in reference to Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Somali-born Minnesota congresswoman, who is a US citizen. She was one of four progressive lawmakers of color that Trump targeted in a series of racist tweets a few days before, telling them to “go back” and “help fix the totally broken and crime infested” countries “from which they came.” Omar was born in Somalia while the other three lawmakers he called out — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley — were born in the US.
Trump briefly tried to distance himself from the crowd’s behavior, but later embraced it and lauded them as “incredible patriots.”
As with Trump’s inflammatory tweets, the chant plays on racist tropes about deporting black Americans who are critical of the US.
INSIDER asked over 1,100 respondents about their views on the “send her back!” chant. Of those, 962 people provided an answer to the question: “Do you approve or disapprove of the crowd chanting “send her back” in this clip?” They were invited to watch a brief clip of the chant.
Around 64% of all respondents strongly disapproved, disapproved or somewhat disapproved of the chants. Then 11% neither approved nor disapproved of the chants and 17% expressed some form of approval. Seven percent didn’t know how they felt about it.
While a larger share of Republicans said they approved of the chants, the INSIDER poll also found:
- 36% of them either somewhat disapproved, disapproved or strongly disapproved of the Trump supporters’ racist behavior.
- Around 19% of self-identified Republicans neither approved nor disapproved, which is higher than the portion of Democrats who felt neutral about the chants.
- 7% said they didn’t know how to respond.
Among self-identified Democratic primary voters, around 78% said they strongly disapproved of the crowd chanting “send her back” which was the highest share and reflects the party’s general support of cultural diversity and tolerance. Only 4% said they were neutral on the chants.
Still, among Republicans, the political cost for Trump of employing such fiery attacks is considerably less. And his presidency so far has sought to entrench its support rather than broaden it. Another INSIDER poll conducted late last month found that 31% of Republican respondents didn’t express an opinion on whether a lawmaker should disavow racist behavior from their supporters. 15% of them said they generally disagreed with the question — that makes up almost half of the GOP respondents.
While Trump has continued to say he isn’t a racist, his barrage of attacks against lawmakers of color continued over the past week when he criticized Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings and his majority-black district of Baltimore. He called Cummings’s district a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” where “no human being would want to live.”
Trump’s advisors have reportedly concluded that his anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies are resonating among the white-working class voters that form a key part of his base. And though Trump’s edge in the Electoral College may be larger next year compared to 2016, according to a recent New York Times polling analysis, the effectiveness of such attacks in galvanizing white-working class voters to turn out and vote is still unclear.
But a no-holds-barred campaign rooted in racial resentment and a hardline immigration stance recreates the dynamics of his last campaign — giving Trump a decent chance of keeping the White House in 2020.
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. SurveyMonkey Audience doesn’t try to weight its sample based on race or income. Total 1184 respondents collected from July 19-20, 2019, a margin of error plus or minus 3.01 percentage points with a 95% confidence level.