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Pew Research Center @pewresearch
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We’ve just released a new study examining views of President Trump among those who voted for him in the 2016 election. (Thread on findings follows.)
This analysis is from our American Trends Panel, which allows us to survey the same group of U.S. adults at multiple time points to determine how their views changed over time. (Not possible with a traditional cross-sectional survey.)
We tracked views of Trump at four points, from the primary season in early 2016 through March 2018 (including shortly after the 2016 election, when we also asked survey respondents which candidate they’d voted for).
We matched respondents to state voter files to verify whether or not they had voted (those with a record of having voted are referred to as “validated voters” here and in the report).
87% of validated voters who voted for Trump had “warm” feelings for him in the wake of the 2016 election (on a “feeling thermometer”).
As of March 2018, the feelings of these same Trump voters had changed very little: 82% said they felt “warmly” toward Trump.
Yet many voters who ultimately voted for Trump did not always feel so warmly toward him: In April 2016, shortly before Trump secured the GOP nomination, about a third of those who would go on to vote for him in November expressed mixed, or even cold, feelings toward him.
Having longitudinal data on verified voters allowed us to group Trump voters into four categories: Enthusiasts, Converts, Skeptics and Disillusioned.
Enthusiasts, who gave Trump warm ratings in both April 2016 and March 2018, make up the largest share of Trump’s voters at 59%.
Converts are the next largest share at 23%. They were cold or neutral toward Trump in April 2016, but had warmed to him by March 2018.
Skeptics make up 12% of Trump voters. Though they voted for him, they did not have warm feelings toward Trump in April 2016, and still felt coldly or neutral toward him in March 2018.
Disillusioned voters represent just 6% of Trump voters. These voters had warm feelings toward Trump in April 2016, but cold or neutral feelings toward him in March 2018.
This chart underscores the different trajectories in feelings toward Trump among Converts, Skeptics and Enthusiasts. (There were too few Disillusioned voters for analysis.)
Shortly after the election, both Converts and Skeptics warmed considerably toward Trump, though Converts grew much warmer and stayed warm, while Skeptics warmed less and then turned cold again.
Enthusiasts (again, the majority of verified Trump voters) had very warm feelings toward Trump before the election, and continued to feel warmly toward him as of March 2018.
To read the full analysis, see our new report, which also includes a detailed portrait of the electorate based on the reported voting preferences of validated voters. (We will share those findings in a separate thread.)
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