CA120: 2016’s Trump Voters – what do they think now?

People at a 2016 political rally in Anaheim for Republican presidential contender Donald Trump. (Photo: mikeledray, via Shutterstock)

(Part 1 of a three-part series)

Throughout the 2016 election cycle, Capitol Weekly conducted several polls. Two of them, one during the primary and the other during the general, were targeted to voters right after they had mailed in their ballots.

In total, more than 80,000 Californians participated in these surveys.

Now, more than a year since we began, we went back and asked these voters how they feel about the candidates they backed. We asked about the issues of greatest importance to them, and we sought their perceptions about the political climate since the election.

We even asked them again who they backed to see if their recollection has changed.

California’s Republican members of Congress have soured dramatically. About 70% disapprove of the Republican majority in the House and 48% strongly disapprove.

This might sound strange, but in polling research it is common to find that a voter will, as an example, vote for Jimmy Carter in 1976, but then after long gas lines and a hostage crisis in Iran, suddenly “remember” differently and say they backed Ford all along.

In the first part of this three-part series we look at the Trump voters.  The survey, which can be seen here in a fully-interactive infographic, polled 1,192 voters who told us previously that they supported Donald Trump.

The findings are extremely interesting.

–A solid 96% of voters from the General Election still say that they voted for Trump in November, but only 86% of the Primary voters say they voted for him in June.

–80% of voters who supported Trump in the Primary believe he should run in 2020, but that softens to 72% among those who voted for him in the General. This could be reflective of the fact that Republican voters in the Primaries are generally more partisan, and General Election voters included some independents and less partisan Republicans. This support for a run in 2020 closely parallels the Trump support numbers. Trump voters from either election have an 84% approval rating of the president, with 64% strongly supporting him.

–The views of California’s Republican members of Congress, however, have soured dramatically. About 70% disapprove of the Republican majority in the House and 48% strongly disapprove.  This could encourage Republican members of Congress to cling more tightly to Trump in order to hold on to that strongly polarized base, although doing so could have other implications for swing voters.

Only one-third believe that Robert Mueller is a trustworthy and unbiased investigator.

–But nobody fares worse than the media. More than nine-out-of-10 Trump voters believe that the media is “actively trying to get Donald Trump out of office.”

–For Trump voters, his controversial tweets and statements are a reality. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, two-thirds of Trump supporters believe “there were millions of votes cast illegally in the 2016 election.” About three-quarters of them don’t believe that Russian hackers attempted to influence the outcome of the election, and 85% believe that Jim Comey was fired for how he handled the Hillary Clinton email scandal. Only one-third believe that Robert Mueller is a trustworthy and unbiased investigator.

–While some media have played up storied about how his base supporters think the tweeting and attacking of media is harming his agenda, more than two-thirds of our respondents disagree with that sentiment.

–The only place that voters believe Trump is falling short is with the repeal of Obamacare. Just over a third of voters believe he has been effective in the Fixing or Replacing Obamacare, with 12% saying he has been “highly effective.”

Using the online infographic you can go in and select different sets of voters – looking just as voters from one election, seeing the whole survey based on just people who support the President, or clicking on something like the voters who believe Trump has been highly effe,ctive dealing with North Korea to see how that segment of the electorate responded to all the other questions.

In Parts 2 and 3 we will look closely at the Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders voters from the 2016 Primary election and see what we can learn about voters views on each candidate post-election, what they believe is the future for Democrats, and we’ll even look at the prospects for 2020 candidates.

Ed’s Note: Recasts headline to reflect Trump voters, not just GOP. Paul Mitchell, the founder and editor of the CA120 column,  is the vice president of Political Data, which markets campaign information to both major parties. 


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