Trump’s approval rating increases with Republicans after racist tweets

President ‘doing exactly what Republicans want him to do’, says political scientist

Adam Forrest
Wednesday 17 July 2019 13:12
Trump refuses to back down on racist tweets: 'it's my opinion they hate our country'

Support for Donald Trump among Republicans rose after his racist tweets attacking Democratic congresswomen of colour, a poll has revealed.

The survey – conducted on Monday and Tuesday following Mr Trump’s bigoted tirade – showed his net approval rating with party voters climbed 5 per cent points to 72 per cent, compared with the equivalent poll from last week.

The president has lost support with Democrats and independents in the Reuters/Ipsos poll, however, since calling on four lawmakers to “go back” to the countries “from which they came”.

Among independents, about three out of 10 said they approved of Trump, down from four out of 10 a week ago. His net approval dropped by 2 points among Democrats in the poll.

Mr Trump’s overall approval remained unchanged over the past week. According to the poll, 41 per cent of the American public said they approved of his performance in office, while 55 per cent disapproved.

A separate USA Today/ Ipsos poll out on Thursday showed 57 per cent of Republicans said they agreed with Mr Trump’s “go home” tweets. Overall, more two-thirds of Americans, 68 per cent, said they found the president’s tweets “offensive”.

Cliff Young, president of Ipsos Public Affairs, said: “There’s a huge partisan difference in how we interpret what’s racist in this country.”

The public response to Mr Trump’s statements appeared to be a little better for him than in 2017, after the president said there were “very fine people” on both sides of a deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. His net approval dropped about 10 points in the week after the event.

The president has remained utterly unrepentant in recent days. Doubling down in his attacks on the liberal congresswomen, he claimed they “hate our country” while tweeting: “I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!”

Mr Trump was accused of “mass distortion of reality” after he shared misleading polling data on the two of the Democrats – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar – targeted in his racist tweets.

'How low can he go?' Kamala Harris says Donald Trump should go back to where he came from and 'leave office'

Democrats and some independents may see clear racism in Mr Trump’s tweets, but Republicans are hearing a different message, according to Vincent Hutchings, a political science and African-American studies professor at the University of Michigan.

“To Republicans, Trump is simply saying: ‘Hey, if you don’t like America, you can leave’,” Mr Hutchings said. “That is not at all controversial. If you already support Trump, then it’s very easy to interpret his comments that way.”

By criticising some of the most left-wing members of the House, Mr Trump is “doing exactly what Republicans want him to do”, Mr Hutchings added. “He’s taking on groups that they oppose.”

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English and gathered responses from 1,113 adults, including 478 Democrats and 406 Republicans in the US.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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