Fewer than half of Republican voters say politicians should disavow racism from their supporters

Zach Gibson/Getty ImagesPresident Donald Trump at a rally in North Carolina on Wednesday.
  • Just under half of self-identified Republican voters believe that politicians should disavow racist behaviour from their supporters, according to new INSIDER polling.
  • The poll comes on the heels of a racist incident at a rally in support of President Donald Trump that seized the nation’s attention last week.
  • INSIDER asked over 1,100 respondents about their views on what politicians should do if their supporters engage in racist behaviour.
  • Among self-identified Republican voters, only 45% agreed or strongly agreed that politicians must distance themselves from racist behaviour by supporters.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Just under half of self-identified Republican voters believe that politicians should disavow racist behaviour from their supporters, according to new INSIDER polling.

The poll comes on the heels of a racist incident at a rally in support of President Donald Trump that seized the nation’s attention last week.

Trump attacked Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar while speaking to supporters in North Carolina on July 17, and many of his supporters chanted, “Send her back!” The chant went on for 13 seconds before Trump resumed speaking.


Read more:
Trump supporters chant ‘send her back’ as the president attacks Ilhan Omar at rally in North Carolina

The chant echoed Trump’s racist tweets only a few days before when he called on four progressive lawmakers of colour 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 in question – Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley – were born in the US.

Trump later tried distancing himself from the rally, only to embrace it yet again, calling the rallygoers “incredible patriots.”

INSIDER asked over 1,100 respondents about their views on the relationship between politicians and what they should do if their supporters engage in racism.

The question, “Do you agree or disagree that a politician has an obligation to disavow racist behaviour from their supporters?” was meant to determine a respondent’s attitude towards what a politician’s responsibility is should their supporters take part in any form of racism.

Among self-identified Republican voters, only 45% agreed or strongly agreed that politicians must distance themselves from racist behaviour by supporters. That’s a 31-percentage point difference from self-identified Democratic voters, 76% of whom answered in the same way.

Thirty-one per cent of Republican respondents were neutral on the question, while 15% disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement. 9% said they didn’t know.

The poll also found that Democrats are far less likely to harbour neutral feelings on racism in American politics. Only 8% said they neither agreed nor disagreed with the statement. 11% disagreed or strongly disagreed, and 4% responded: “I don’t know.”


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Timeline of the chaotic series of events surrounding Trump’s racist tweets attacking ‘the Squad’

With Trump turning race into a deeper fault line in American politics, it highlights the past behaviour of lawmakers who had little tolerance for making racism a central part of their political appeal to voters. Perhaps none more famously than John McCain, the late Republican Arizona senator who shut down a voter after she said she couldn’t trust Barack Obama because he was “an Arab” during his failed 2008 presidential campaign.

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 1,184 respondents collected July 20 to July 21, 2019, a margin of error plus or minus 3.01 percentage points with a 95% confidence level.

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