Racist Supporters of Trump: “Deplorable” or “Hard-working”?

On Friday, Hillary Clinton said that half of Donald Trump’s supporters belong to a “basket of deplorables,” by which she meant “racist,” “sexist,” “homophobic,” “xenophobic,” and “Islamophobic,” among other categories. (See below for transcript.)

Trump strongly objected, and she apologized for saying it was half.

Now, the question arises: “How many of Trump’s supporters belong in this ‘basket’?”

Fortunately, we have actual data on this. Ipsos conducted a poll in the spring that touched closely on the subject of racism. Ipsos didn’t ask: “Are you a racist?” since few would answer “yes” to the question. Instead, the questions were slightly more subtle. The first column in the table below gives the question. The second column gives the percentage of Trump supporters who answered the question with “yes.” The third column gives the average “yes” score of everyone interviewed (including Trump supporters).

Question Trump “yes” All “yes”
Are blacks less intelligent than whites? 32% 23%
Are blacks lazier than whites? 40% 27%
Are blacks more rude than whites? 44% 31%
Are blacks more violent than whites? 49% 33%
Are blacks more criminal than whites? 47% 33%
Average 42% 29
Political satire tweeted by White Supremacist David Duke and posted on Instagram by Trump's son Donald Trump Jr.

Satire of “The Expendables” tweeted by White Supremacist David Duke and posted on Instagram by Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr.

If we average these five questions, we get a score indicating that 42%, not 50%, of Trump’s supporters are racist. Of the entire sample polled, 29% are racist, but that includes Trump supporters. Since 28% of the respondents were Trump supporters, we can calculate that 17% of the non-Trump supporters are racist, vs. 42% of the Trump supporters.

However, the poll asked only about black vs. white, whereas Clinton’s comment covered other categories, as well. There may well be Trump supporters who are sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, or Islamophobic, but not anti-black. If Clinton meant that someone had to meet all five categories, then the percentage of Trump’s supporters who meet the criterion is surely way less than 42%. But if merely being sexist or homophobic, etc. but not racist, also lands you in the basket, then probably enough additional supporters qualify to make her original statement correct. It will be interesting to see if any pollster follows up this controversy by polling on all the viewpoints Clinton mentioned.

Courtesy of electoral-vote.com

Full Context of Hillary Clinton’s Remarks at the LGBT for Hillary Gala in New York City on September 9

In too many places still, LGBT Americans are singled out for harassment and violence. You can get married on Saturday, post your pictures on Sunday and get fired on Monday. That’s why we’ve got to continue the forward march of progress.

And we cannot do it alone. I cannot do it alone. I’m not like Donald Trump, who says, ‘I alone can fix it.’ I’ve never quite figured out what it is he alone can fix. But that’s not what you’ll hear from me. I think we have to do this together. So, together we’re gonna pass the Equality Act to guarantee full equality. We’re going to put comprehensive quality affordable healthcare within reach for more people, including for mental health and addiction. We’re going to take on youth homelessness, and as my wonderful, extraordinary, great daughter said, we are going to end the cruel and dangerous practice of conversion therapy. We’re going to keep working toward an AIDS-free generation, a goal that I set as secretary of state, and with your help we’re going to pass comprehensive gun laws. …

I know there are only 60 days left to make our case — and don’t get complacent, don’t see the latest outrageous, offensive, inappropriate comment and think, well, he’s done this time. We are living in a volatile political environment. You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.

But the other basket — and I know this because I see friends from all over America here — I see friends from Florida and Georgia and South Carolina and Texas — as well as, you know, New York and California — but that other basket of people are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change. It doesn’t really even matter where it comes from. They don’t buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different. They won’t wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they’re in a dead-end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.

And what I hope is that in addition to your extraordinary generosity, you will go to our website, hillaryclinton.com, or text to join at 47246 to see how else you can get involved.

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