SAINT LEO, FL – A new national poll by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute found that three out of four likely voters think that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is arrogant and uncivil, and more than half even consider him to be a racist because of remarks he has made. He gets about the same reviews from likely voters in Florida, where the presumptive Republican nominee owns a home and resort property.
Respondents were asked their opinions about Trump in a section of a poll that also asked about the presidential campaign, national issues, and other topics. The online poll was conducted June 10 through June 16, and had 1,001 respondents nationally, including 930 likely voters. Opinions were gathered from a parallel sample 500 adults in Florida, including 459 likely voters, to gauge sentiments in the Sunshine State.
In the “Donald Trump” portion of the poll, respondents were presented with statements that either sum up a common criticism of Trump, a compliment about Trump, or a significant policy point from the Trump campaign. The respondents were asked whether they strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with each statement.
Likely voters registered agreement—meaning strongly agree responses and somewhat agree responses were added together—at the percentage levels shown for each statement.
|Statements||National likely voters –percent||Florida likely voters –percent|
|Donald Trump is arrogant, uncivil and ego-driven||75.9||75.4|
|The rise and success of Donald Trump is mostly a media phenomenon||64.7||66.4|
|Donald Trump has demonstrated, in his comments, that he is sexist||61.7||63.8|
|Donald Trump has demonstrated, in his comments, that he is a racist||57.6||59.5|
|Donald Trump is just as he describes himself – successful, a leader and intelligent||44.8||43.6|
|I support Donald Trump’s positions on immigration||44.6||43.6|
|Donald Trump has the temperament to be President of the United States||35.2||34.6|
|Donald Trump is an authentic Christian||21.6||24.0|
The negatives the survey seems to reflect in the public estimation of the national candidate were not surprising to Dr. Christopher Wolfe, who teaches psychology at Saint Leo University.
While Trump can make remarks that may not be considered fair, just, or socially acceptable about a judge or a group of immigrants, Wolfe said, there appear to be segments of the population who don’t mind, and maybe quietly prefer the days when racial prejudices were generally accepted among the majority population. “For a certain bit of the population, it is like having another crack at being in charge, the way they used to be,” Wolfe suggested.
In reviewing the entire base of responses, Wolfe noted that more Hispanics, at 62.5 percent, and African Americans, at 69.2 percent, consider Trump racist than do white Americans. The percent of whites agreeing that Trump is racist was 53.2 percent overall.
There are also differences in responses according to generations, Wolfe noted. Among those between the ages of 18 and 44, 67.9 percent consider Trump racist, compared to 48.2 percent of those ages 45 to 64, and 51 percent of those age 65 and above. “Does the younger generation have a different standard? Sure. They have been raised in an era where we confront people more openly on these issues,” Wolfe said.
Wolfe noted that more people consider Trump sexist, at 61.7 percent of likely voters, than racist, but offered the opinion that “it is still more socially acceptable to admit sexism than racism.” There is a gender gap in the findings to note, as well: Among men in the broader survey base, 56.7 percent consider Trump sexist, compared to 64.8 percent of women.
The responses may also be indicating that some aspects of a candidate’s life, such as religiosity, are vitally important only to some voters, other Saint Leo faculty added. For instance, less than a quarter of likely voters nationally and in Florida agreed that Trump is an authentic Christian. “This is not a central issue for a majority of voters,” said Dr. Michael Anthony Novak, a faculty theologian. Still, Trump chose to attack Clinton’s sincerity about her faith Tuesday at a meeting of religious conservatives, for whom faith matters are central, Wolfe noted.
The statement that Donald Trump has the temperament to be president also failed to attract wide agreement, about 35 percent nationally and in Florida. But to some people, a blustery temperament may not be offensive, and can be a positive, Wolfe said. “He is like Teddy Roosevelt—in some ways they are similar in the ways they present themselves.” Perceived toughness or brashness can be a positive with voters who like the idea of a commander-in-chief projecting those qualities on the world stage, added political scientist Frank Orlando, who also directs the Saint Leo University Polling Institute.
But the data also show reaction to Trump can vary by region of the country, Wolfe noted. “Bragging” and a tendency toward “conflicts” may not be welcomed in the Midwest, the psychologist noted.
“Trump really has a Midwest problem,” Orlando agreed. “They’re the most likely to think that he lacks the proper temperament (64.4 percent), and also the least likely to think that he’s an authentic Christian (only 18.4 percent agree). The South and Northeast are more likely to agree he has the proper temperament.”
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More About Our Research
METHODOLOGY: All surveys were conducted using an online survey instrument. The national poll of 1,001 adults has a plus or minus margin of error of 3.0 percent, and the margin of error for the likely voter population of 930 adults is plus or minus 3.2 percent. The Florida poll overall of 500 adults has a plus or minus 4.5 percent margin of error; the results from the 450 likely voters have a margin of error of plus or minus 4.57 percent.
The Saint Leo University Polling Institute conducts its surveys using cutting-edge online methodology, which is rapidly transforming the field of survey research. The sample is drawn from large online panels, which allow for random selections that reflect accurate cross-sections of all demographic groups. Online methodology has the additional advantage of allowing participants to respond to the survey at a time, place, and speed that is convenient to them, which may result in more thoughtful answers. The Saint Leo University Polling Institute develops the questionnaires, administers the surveys, and conducts analysis of the results. Panel participants typically receive a token incentive—usually $1 deposited into an iTunes or Amazon account—for their participation.
The Saint Leo University Polling Institute survey results about national and Florida politics public policy issues, Pope Francis’ popularity, and other topics, can be found here: http://polls.saintleo.edu. You can also follow the institute on Twitter @saintleopolls.
About Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University (www.saintleo.edu) is a regionally accredited, liberal-arts-based institution known for an inclusive Catholic heritage, enduring values, and a capacity for innovation. The school was chartered in 1889 by Catholic Benedictine monks in rural Pasco County, FL, making Saint Leo the first Catholic college in the state. Saint Leo provides access to education to people of all faiths, emphasizing the Benedictine philosophy of balanced growth of mind, body, and spirit.
The university welcomes learners from all generations and backgrounds, from civilian occupations and the armed forces, and from across the country and more than 60 nations around the world. Saint Leo’s nearly 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students may elect to study at the beautiful University Campus in Florida, at more than 40 teaching locations in seven states, or online from any location. The university’s degree programs range from the associate to the doctorate. Through these rich offerings, Saint Leo develops principled leaders for a challenging world.
Saint Leo University boasts nearly 80,000 alumni in all 50 states, Washington, DC, five U.S. territories, and 72 countries.