“The poll, conducted by the Times and Siena College, found that “majorities of Republicans side with Mr. Trump on almost every issue” but “those majorities are often quite slim.”
To tease out more who makes up the modern conservative electorate, the Times divided Republican and Republican-leaning voters into six categories, defined by their feelings about the former and would-be-future president as well as their policy positions:
The Moderate Establishment (14%). Highly educated, affluent, socially moderate or even liberal and often outright Never Trump.
The Traditional Conservatives (26%). Old-fashioned economic and social conservatives who oppose abortion and prefer corporate tax cuts to new tariffs. They don’t love Mr. Trump, but they do support him.
The Right Wing (26%). They watch Fox News and Newsmax. They’re “very conservative.” They’re disproportionately evangelical. They believe America is on the brink of catastrophe. And they love Mr. Trump more than any other group.
The Blue Collar Populists (12%). They’re mostly Northern, socially moderate, economic populists who hold deeply conservative views on race and immigration. Not only do they back Mr. Trump, but he himself probably counted as one a decade ago.
The Libertarian Conservatives (14%). These disproportionately Western and Midwestern conservatives value small government. They’re relatively socially moderate and isolationist, and they’re on the lower end of Trump support compared with other groups.
The Newcomers (8%). They don’t look like Republicans. They’re young, diverse and moderate. But these disaffected voters like Democrats and the “woke” left even less.”
The “right wing” and the “blue collar populists”—which make up a combined 37 percent—are loyal Trump supporters. The others in the coalition have more mixed or even negative views of Trump.”
“In a ruling on two related cases on Thursday written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the Supreme Court just ended affirmative action in higher education as we know it.
The two cases — Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina — both argued that the use of race in college admissions should end, but for slightly different reasons. In the Harvard case, the plaintiffs claimed that the admissions practices of Harvard discriminated against Asian American applicants by placing a cap on the number admitted. In the North Carolina case, the plaintiffs asked the court to rule that universities can’t use race as a factor in college admissions and must use a race-neutral approach, which they argued can achieve student-body diversity.
The court — with the six Republican-appointed justices on one side and the three Democratic-appointed justices on the other — agreed that Harvard’s practices resulted in fewer Asian American applicants being admitted. And they found that the practices of both colleges violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. Roberts echoed earlier rulings where he and other conservative justices stressed that the Constitution requires a colorblind reading, making any consideration of race wrong. “Eliminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it,” he wrote.
The justices in the minority did not accept that interpretation — to put it mildly. In her dissent, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson excoriated the court for failing to address the “gulf-sized race-based gaps” in American life, and criticized the idea that using race as a factor in holistic admissions is unfair. “This contention blinks both history and reality in ways too numerous to count.” she wrote. “But the response is simple: Our country has never been colorblind.”
And although it’s a quiet — not explicit, but functional — reversal of more than 50 years of precedent, this decision might actually be popular. A poll designed to capture public opinion on major Supreme Court decisions this term found that strong majorities of Americans agree that public (74 percent) and private (69 percent) colleges and universities should not be able to use race as a factor in college admissions. Questions that remind respondents of the goal of affirmative action — to increase the numbers of Black, Hispanic and other underrepresented students on elite campuses — tend to generate more support. But people also don’t think minority groups should be given “special preferences.””
“Trump has come to define who and what Republican Party activists — that is, people who volunteer for political campaigns, donate money, work for politicians, etc. — think of as conservative. Their research, for instance, found that GOP activists viewed Trump critics like former Sens. Ben Sasse and Patrick Toomey as much less conservative than their voting records in Congress indicated. Meanwhile, GOP activists viewed Trump boosters as the most reliably conservative politicians.
But Trump has also powerfully redefined what constitutes conservatism for rank-and-file Republican voters, according to my analyses of data from the Cooperative Election Survey — a massive academic survey administered by YouGov that asks over 50,000 respondents every two years to, among other things, rate politicians’ ideologies on a seven-point scale from “very liberal” to “very conservative.”
According to CES data, Republicans nationwide now view Trump as more conservative than they did immediately before the 2016 general election. On the other hand, Utah Republicans perceived Sen. Mitt Romney as a lot less conservative after his February 2020 vote to convict Trump during his first impeachment trial. But that decline pales in comparison to the utter evaporation of former Rep. Liz Cheney’s conservative credentials. Wyoming Republicans repeatedly rated Cheney as a solid conservative in 2016, 2018 and 2020. Yet her reputation as a stalwart conservative vanished entirely after she voted to impeach Trump in January 2021 and subsequently became one of the former president’s most vocal critics in Congress as vice chair of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection — so much so, that Wyoming Republicans placed her all the way on the liberal side of the ideological spectrum in the 2022 CES.”
“The seven Republican senators who voted to convict the former president during his second impeachment trial were all rated as much less conservative than we would otherwise expect from their Senate voting records”
“Historically, endorsements have proven pretty predictive of who wins presidential nominating contests. Since the modern primary era began in 1972, there have been 17 Democratic or Republican primary fights that did not feature an incumbent president. The candidate with the most endorsement points3 on the day before the Iowa caucuses won 11. That’s a better track record than polls have at the same point in the election: Since 1972, the leader in national polls4 on the day before Iowa has won the nomination just 10 out of 17 times.
Twelve of those 17 times, the same candidate led in both endorsements and polls. And of those 12, nine times the candidate won. But the five times that the endorsements and polls disagreed, the endorsement leader won twice, and the polling leader won only once. The other two times, a third candidate won.
It’s a small sample size, but endorsements have an even stronger track record when you filter out the years when the endorsement leader didn’t have all that many endorsements. For example, when the endorsement leader has earned at least 15 percent of the total estimated available endorsement points by the day before the Iowa caucuses,5 that candidate has won their party’s nomination nine out of 10 times. Then-Sen. Hillary Clinton in 2008 is the only exception.”
“President Biden still isn’t what you’d call popular, but he’s closer to popular than he’s been in some time. On Jan. 11, Biden hit a 44.1 percent approval rating in FiveThirtyEight’s average — his highest mark since October 2021. That was 3 percentage points higher than it was on Nov. 9, which isn’t a huge increase in the grand scheme of things, but in this polarized age where any movement in the president’s approval rating is rare, it’s a veritable Bidenaissance.
This is the part of the story where you expect me to explain why this is happening. Which is understandable, except it’s impossible to know for sure what’s behind this shift. One leading theory, though: It’s because inflation has been slowing down. Prices in December 2022 were just 6.5 percent higher than they were in December 2021, which was the lowest inflation rate in over a year. Gas prices, another highly visible metric of the strain on Americans’ wallets, also plummeted from an average of $3.80 per gallon in November to $3.32 per gallon in December. These seem like pretty compelling explanations, considering how closely Biden’s approval rating was tied to the inflation rate and gas prices last year.”
“But is Biden’s luck about to run out? The discovery of a handful of classified documents from the Penn Biden Center and Biden’s Delaware home has generated arguably the first bad news story for Biden in months, and it’s fair to wonder whether it will reverse — or at least halt — his miniature political comeback. The few polls that have been conducted since these revelations suggest that Americans think Biden acted badly, and that could be dragging down his approval rating.”
“Our data indicates that some respondents who lean toward the Republican Party are less likely to take part in follow-up surveys. But we didn’t find ourselves in a situation where all Republicans were not answering, and we were able to find a few clues as to who exactly these Republican non-respondents could be.”
“This more mainstream version of the replacement theory hides behind justifications that the criticism of changing American demographics is about politics and power. It’s a narrative so prevalent on the right that nearly half of Republicans believe that immigrants are being brought to the country for political gains. According to a poll conducted in December by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 47 percent of Republicans agreed with the statement that “there is a group of people in this country who are trying to replace native-born Americans with immigrants who agree with their political views.”
But those justifications are built on false assumptions about American demographics and immigration: that white people will soon be a minority in this country, that immigrants and non-white voters are all Democrats, and that no longer being the majority group means a loss of power. When those assumptions are torn down, the true justifications for these fears become transparent.
The theory’s first inaccurate assumption is that white Americans will soon become a minority population. But using any nuanced reading of the data, that’s not true. Yes, in 2015, the U.S. Census Bureau published a population projection that by the year 2044, non-Hispanic white Americans would no longer be a numerical majority in the country. But not being the majority is not the same as being a minority: Even in that projection, non-Hispanic white Americans would still make up a plurality of the population compared with any other race. And non-Hispanic white Americans are not the only white Americans. When you include American Latinos who identify as solely white, you wind up with “more than 70 percent of the population identifying at least in part as white in 2044 and over two-thirds in 2060,” according to research published last year in the journal “Perspectives on Politics.””
“The same research showed that presenting the demographic-shifts story as “majority-minority by 2044” prompts white Americans to say they feel more anxious and less hopeful. But when you present the same demographic changes in a more nuanced (and accurate) narrative around a rise in multiculturalism and Americans who identify as more than one race, white Americans’ self-reported anxiety was lower, even compared with a control group presented with basic facts about demographic changes with no narrative framing, according to the same study.
It’s almost like inaccurately framing demographic shifts as a zero-sum game leads to inaccurate perceptions among Americans that can amplify fear and resentment.”
“Another plot hole in the mainstream replacement narrative is the assumption that immigrants will solely support the Democratic party. Stefanik’s campaign ran a Facebook ad in September that echoed replacement-theory rhetoric. “Radical Democrats” were planning “a PERMANENT ELECTION INSURRECTION,” the ad claimed. “Their plan to grant amnesty to 11 MILLION illegal immigrants will overthrow our current electorate and create a permanent liberal majority in Washington.”
Carlson, too, has repeatedly warned of a so-called Democratic plot to “import an entirely new electorate from the Third World and change the demographics of the U.S. so completely they will never lose again.”
But even he concedes that this narrative is flawed, pointing out in his show last week that many non-white and immigrant voters are, in fact, Republican. In the 2020 election, roughly 2 in 5 Latino voters cast a ballot for then-President Donald Trump. And, as my colleague Alex Samuels has written, messaging about racial grievances might, perhaps counterintuitively, attract some Latino voters to the Republican Party. In fact, the GOP attracts voters from every racial group, and while white voters may be its base, not all nonwhite or immigrant voters are Democrats.”
“According to a 2021 survey by the Pew Research Center, for example, only 17 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning Americans said there is “a lot” of discrimination against Black people in today’s society. That number rose to 26 percent when Republicans were asked whether they believed white people faced “a lot” of discrimination. And intense white racial resentment remains present both among Trump’s base and in our politics today. Case in point: Trump, who’s a (very, very early) favorite to win the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, is still hitting that same drum; during a recent political event, the former president went so far as to falsely claim that white people were currently being discriminated against and sent to the “back of the line” when it came to receiving COVID-19 vaccines and treatment.”
“Trump is not the first white person to feel like a victim of discrimination or to make claims in that spirit. This phenomenon started long before him. But in the U.S., if we look at things like the racial wealth gap, mortgage denial rates, COVID-19 vaccination and illness rates, police violence rates or myriad other data sets, we quickly see plenty of systemic biases against Black Americans and other minority groups (such as increasing hate crimes against Asian Americans). You can’t, however, find such widespread evidence for anti-white discrimination. So why have many white Americans started to see themselves as the victims of racial discrimination?”