Many are asking why Republicans have had such trouble to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act , even with control of the House, Senate, and the White House. President Trump blames the Democrats, but a research as part of the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group on the 2016 election finds that the president’s fractured coalition is largely responsible.
A statistical analysis of an 8,000 person survey uncovered four different types of Trump supporters. These supporters disagree on nearly every major policy issue surveyed — including on health care, taxes, immigration, race, and matters of American identity.
- American Preservationists, comprise President’s core base of supporters who propelled him through the primaries. They have lower incomes and education and are underemployed. Nearly half of those working age are on Medicaid. Out of step with Republican orthodoxy, Preservationists favor tax hikes on the wealthy, are deeply skeptical of immigration — both legal and illegal — and overwhelmingly support a temporary ban on Muslim immigration. They also feel less favorable toward immigrants and racial minorities, and nearly half think being of European descent is important for being truly American.
- The Staunch Conservatives are loyal Republicans with conventionally conservative positions on social and economic issues. They also have warm feelings toward racial minorities in the U.S. However, although not as hard-line as the Preservationists, they too are skeptical of immigration and strongly support a temporary travel ban on Muslims traveling to the U.S.
- The Anti-Elites support a more progressive tax code, a plurality support a pathway to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants, and they are as favorable toward racial minorities as non-Trump voters. Why aren’t the Anti-Elites Democrats? In addition to sharing Trump’s disdain for elites, they soured significantly on Hillary between 2012 and 2016 and are more cautious of immigration than Clinton.
- The Disengaged is a small Trump voter group. They don’t know much about politics but what they do know is they are skeptical of immigration and believe the system is rigged against them.
In short, Donald Trump supporters do not share a similar range of policy preferences. President earned their votes for different reasons and they have different expectations in mind for his presidency. Without the cohesive coalition that many have assumed, President Trump will continue to find it difficult to deliver on all of his promises.