We’ll have to wait a few days before pollsters can offer us any solid insight into the question du jour in the GOP race: Did Donald Trump finally go too far when called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States? In the meantime, though, there’s plenty to suggest that he did not. As my colleague Will Saletan has documented at length, the data we already have leaves little doubt that the Republican Party is controlled by voters who are ready to turn the government against Muslims. Trump, then, may be saying exactly what many GOP primary voters want to hear.
A new poll released on Tuesday offers yet another data point to suggest that for Trump’s supporters in particular, his anti-Muslim worldview is a feature not a bug of his presidential campaign. The survey from Public Policy Polling—a left-leaning, though generally reliable—outfit shows Donald Trump with the support of a third of Republican respondents in North Carolina, more than double second-place Ted Cruz’s 16 percent. The more frightening results, though, are below those topline numbers. Among Trump’s self-identified supporters:
- 67 percent support the creation of a national database of Muslims in the United States, compared to only 14 percent who oppose it.
- 51 percent want to see U.S. mosques shuttered, compared to only 16 percent who do not.
- 44 percent think Islam should be illegal in the United States, compared to 24 percent who believe it should be legal.
What’s so shocking about those numbers is that they suggest Trump might be able to go even further than he has without turning off most of his fans. “It’s hard to imagine Donald Trump’s newest round of comments about Muslims hurting him, at least in a state with a Republican electorate as conservative as North Carolina’s,” PPP chief Dean Debnam said in a statement accompanying the results. “Few of his supporters even think the practice of Islam should currently be legal, much less that more Muslims should be allowed to enter the country.”
More troubling, the survey suggests Islamophobia isn’t isolated on Team Trump. Among all of the N.C. poll’s GOP respondents:
- 48 percent back a national database of Muslims, compared to 33 percent who don’t. Ted Cruz (43/41) and Marco Rubio’s (38/36) supporters are both more or less split on the topic.
- 35 percent want to shut down mosques in the United States, compared to 33 percent who do not. Cruz’s supporters are on board 41 percent to 28 percent, while Rubio’s are opposed 29 percent to 45 percent.
The closest thing to a bright spot was on the question of the legality of Islam: 41 percent said they think the religion should be legal in the country, compared to 32 percent who disagreed. Hooray?
Elsewhere in Slate: