The establishment political apparatus is visibly shaken by former President Donald Trump’s nearly 30-point victory in the Iowa Republican caucus Monday, but largely labeling the victory a Trump-friendly state remaining Trump-friendly. Iowans have favored the former president in the last two election cycles, and while his victory in the caucus was historically large, it is tempting to downplay the victory as inevitable and Iowa-specific.
However, the mainstream should not assume that broad support for Trump’s policies is relegated to his base. What may be more upsetting to the mainstream than Trump’s outsized victory in Iowa – despite having more ‘moderate’ GOP options on the ballot – is just how far-reaching support is among the general public for a slew of Trump’s policies.
Recent public opinion surveys show net support among the public for policies such as finishing the wall along the U.S.-Mexican border, arresting and deporting thousands of illegals, imposing a tariff on foreign goods, encouraging prayer in public schools, requiring asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico, and banning transgender surgery and hormones for minors.
First, let’s look at Iowa. Trump beat his closest rival Gov. Ron DeSantis by 30-points, a record-breaking margin for a GOP candidate in the state. Trump secured 51 percent of the vote, and DeSantis trailed at 21.2 percent. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley came in just behind DeSantis with 19.1 percent and Vivek Ramaswamy won 7.7 percent.
This was a massive victory for Trump, and the largest margin of victory for a GOP candidate who was not a sitting president in the state’s history.
Entrance polls to the caucus sponsored by CNN show that Trump’s standing remains steady among his base, as he earned wide margins among conservatives and non-college voters.
However, Trump also ate into the margins of his competitors with less stereotypically Trump-friendly voters. He won both suburban and urban voters by twenty points, non-evangelical Christians by 22 points, ‘somewhat conservative’ voters by 22 points, and college graduates by nine points. While his support from older voters was substantial, Trump also won caucus-participants 17 to 44 by five points.
Even with two arguably more moderate choices on the ballot, Trump walked away with a landslide victory that included support from moderate subgroups of the GOP.
There is growing evidence that this trend carries over to broad support for a range of Trump’s policies among the general population too.
Consider the recent national YouGov survey of 1,000 Americans, which asked the public for their opinions on a number of Trump policies – without mentioning the Donald’s name. Support is surprisingly high for a slate of issues the mainstream labels as untenable or controversial, but the American people disagree.
On social issues, the public is much more friendly to Trump-policies than one might assume. First, U.S. adults support the banning of hormonal or surgical treatment on transgender minors by a resounding 25 points.
In the same vein, the public supports a U.S. law establishing that there are only two genders, male and female, as recognized at birth, by 18 points. Americans also support allowing parents to use public funds for religious schools by 7 points and encouraging prayer in schools by three points.
On other issues including trade and immigration, Americans are also quite favorable of Trump policies. The public holds broad support for requiring asylum seekers from Latin America to remain in Mexico while their claims are processed in the U.S., supporting the “remain in Mexico” policy by a broad 32-point margin.
Americans also support arresting and deporting illegals by 15 points and building the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border by eight points. Economically, the public shows support for one of Trump’s key strategies for equalizing the playing field on trade, supporting a 10% tariff on foreign foods imported into the country by 11 points.
This does not mean the public broadly agrees with all the former President’s policies. There is weaker support for allowing public school teachers to carry concealed weapons, which the public opposes by 5 points, and withdrawing from the World Health Organization, which the public opposes by 22 points.
However, as a whole, the American people are a great deal more receptive to a broad spectrum of Trumpian policies than may be evident on the surface. The polling asked Americans if they would support each policy on its own – without tying the policy to Trump – and reveals a perhaps more credible view of public preferences detached from the political establishment’s hullabaloo over Trump himself.
There is perhaps a ray of hope, that the stifling maze of left-wing cultural decrees that have ensnared much of Europe and Canada will be met with resistance among the American people. The public takes a formidable traditional approach to social issues like the medical transitioning of minors and the theory of multiple genders, and is directly supportive of deporting illegals, building the wall, and imposing tariffs on other nations.
Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government.