September 11, 2015

Who is giving Trump the Bump?



new CNN poll released yesterday morning finds that Trump-bumping is raging across the land. His national lead among Republicans has jumped eight points since last month, to 32 percent. Ben Carson has 19 percent; Jeb Bush has nine percent; Ted Cruz has seven percent, and Scott Walker limps in with 5 percent.
But perhaps the most notable CNN poll finding is that the percentage of Republicans who now say illegal immigration is “extremely important” to them is way up. And Trump is absolutely dominating among those particular voters:
Trump’s growth in the field has also come alongside an increase in attention to the issue of illegal immigration.
A majority of Republicans now call the issue extremely important to their vote for president; 51% now call it extremely important, up from 39% in a June CNN/ORC poll. Among that group, Trump holds a wide lead, with 42% support compared with 17% for Carson, 10% for Cruz, 9% for Bush and 5% for Walker.

Note that Chris Christie just squeezes into a tie with Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Trump has talked about illegal immigration more than any other topic. Trump’s suggestion that Mexican immigrants are drug dealers and rapists; his vow to deport 11 million people and build a wall on the Mexican border; his contemptuous ridicule of Jeb Bush’s suggestion that illegal immigrants might have something positive to contribute to American life and of Bush’s efforts to communicate in their language — all have received sustained national press attention.
We already knew Trump’s pronouncements and prescriptions on illegal immigration might be helping fuel his appeal. Poll after poll after poll has shown that large numbers of Republicans agree with those specific pronouncements and prescriptions.
While you should always be cautious about over-interpreting one poll, today’s CNN survey raises a new possibility: That Trump’s attention to illegal immigration is making GOP voters more concerned about it than they might otherwise be. And when I say “more concerned,” I mean, “concerned about it in the way that Trump is concerned about it.” Trump is telling the tale that immigrants are to blame for the suffering of American workers. GOP voters just might be listening. That increased concern, in turn, may be leading those voters to support Trump in disproportionate numbers. The monster is feeding on itself. Mwahahahaha!!!
After the 2012 election, Republican leaders widely agreed that they had to put this issue behind them — fast. As Jonathan Chait has noted: “The Republican brain trust hoped to resolve its image problem with Latino and Asian-American voters by passing immigration reform as quickly as possible.” This would have entailed resolving a deep split among Republicans over how to do that. Some Republicans warned at the time  that the failure to resolve that split could create precisely the conditions that could give rise to a figure who would furiously demagogue on immigration and capture a sizable chunk of the GOP primary electorate. Enter Donald Trump, a far worse nightmare than the “Republican brain trust” anticipated. Now he’s helping make this issue into more of a preoccupation of GOP voters.
In fairness, it’s hard to say how important immigration is to all this. The CNN poll also finds Trump surging among many GOP demographics, suggesting his appeal might have multiple causes. But the big jump in the number of Republicans who now see immigration as extremely important — and Trump’s dominance among them — are hard to ignore.

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