About that basket, by the numbers


Vox has produced what looks to me like the definitive summary of the contents of the “basket of deporables” that constitutes Trump’s support for the White House. To summarize, Clinton is right. Here are the details as compiled by Vox.

On Islamophobic attitudes, Clinton may underestimate the breadth of animus for Muslims among Trump backers.

A poll conducted by Reuters and Ipsos in June and July looked at broad views on Islam, finding Trump supporters are more than twice as likely as Clinton supporters to have negative views of Islam. About 58 percent of Trump supporters said they have “somewhat unfavorable” or “very unfavorable” views of Islam, compared to 24 percent of Clinton supporters.

On Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States, a poll in June from the Texas Politics Project showed that 76 percent of Republicans support the idea compared to 26 percent of Democrats. Meanwhile 44 percent of Democrats said they strongly oppose the idea compared to only 6 percent of Republicans.

Trump supporters hold strongly anti-immigrant views more generally, but especially fear the cultural impact of Mexican immigrants specifically.

We do know, based on an analysis by Jonathan Roswell at Gallup, that Trump backers are more likely to live in areas that are farther from Mexico and have smaller Mexican populations. That suggests Trump supporters are generally people who live in native, white communities and may, perhaps, fear those communities are changing.

This is why a Trump surrogate warned that if Clinton wins the election, there will be “taco trucks every corner.” The worry isn’t that delicious food will be everywhere, but that the cultural makeup of America will dramatically change if the country maintains policies that are friendlier to immigration — and it will change to a culture that Trump regularly describes, as he did at the launch of his campaign, as dangerous and criminal.

This complicates Clinton’s claim that up to half of Trump supporters are “xenophobic.” They aren’t in the sense that they don’t seem to mind a French immigrant, even an undocumented one. But many are potentially xenophobic in the sense that they fear Mexican — and perhaps other Latino — immigrants, because of the cultural impact that may have on America.

Trump supporters are also more likely to hold racist views. While Clinton may miss the mark when she claims that half of Trump supporters are racists, she doesn’t miss by much.

A poll from March and April by Reuters and Ipsos took a close look at this issue. It found that Trump supporters are more likely to say that, compared to white people, black people are viewed by Trump supporters as less intelligent, more lazy, more rude, more violent, and more criminal. About 40 to 50 percent of Trump supporters held at least one of these views, while fewer than 35 percent of Clinton supporters did.

Alongside these explicitly racist views, Trump’s white supporters exhibit a far higher rate of what sociologists call racial resentment than do Clinton’s white supporters.

An analysis from Daniel Byrd and Loren Collingwood found white Trump supporters are much more likely to show high levels of racial resentment than Clinton’s white supporters.

Again, white Clinton — and Bernie Sanders — supporters still show fairly high levels of racial resentment, as do white Americans generally. But Trump supporters are simply at another level.

This doesn’t mean that a majority or even half, as Clinton suggested, of Trump supporters are racist. But these views are much more prominent among the Republican nominee’s supporters than those who back the Democrat in the presidential race.

So on the core of Clinton’s charge that half of her opponent’s supporters fall into a “basket of deplorables” based upon their Islamophobic, xenophobic, and racist views, when we look at the data we see she’s mostly right. Sure, that leaves plenty of Republicans and conservatives who are supporting Trump because they believe they have no other choice. He is their nominee after all.

And understandably, these folks resent being associated with the other contents of the basket. Fair enough.

But you can also tell a lot about someone by the company they keep. This is Trump’s company. Republicans should just own it.


  1. Laurel Dahill says

    I appreciate that your article cites sources that give specific findings, but one aspect of that basket was left out of the post. Homophobic people are a key feature of the basket – even having their own cartoon rendering in the top image. While I can’t give statistics on the numbers of homophobic supporters the nominee has, I can cite page 32 of the 2016 Republican Platform which states, “we do not accept the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage and we urge its reversal, whether through judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment.” Regardless of how percentages may shift, this section of the GOP platform clearly indicates both a focused anti- stance toward the LGBT community, and a direction for its future actions regarding the rights of these citizens.