Back in January, candidate Donald Trump said he could “stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody, and [he] wouldn’t lose any votes.” Turns out, he was pretty much right.
A wide-ranging poll published yesterday by Public Policy Polling found that 45% of Trump voters would still approve of the job he was doing if he literally shot someone, while 29% disapproved and 26% were “not sure.”
Only 29% thought shooting someone on 5th Avenue (which was the wording of the full question) was a reason to rescind their support outright. Trump’s base is nothing if not loyal. But we knew this already. He weathered the Access Hollywood tape and horrific debate performances while never releasing his tax returns. He demeaned prisoners of war, gold-star families, Islam, women, the disabled, and his own party. Thus far, the appointed Teflon Don moniker has held.
What’s more concerning is the how the Republican party as a whole responded to the question.
Only 34% of Republican voters polled said they would disapprove of the job Trump is doing if he shot someone. In traveling and speaking to Republican voters, I had come under the impression that there was a rather large contingent of right-wingers who very reluctantly voted for Trump. It seems as though this surface-level nose-holding (if it was/is real and not an excuse to avoid being labeled a Trumper) is easily superseded by a Krazy-glue like adherence to one’s party. When it comes down to it, Republicans as a party support their Republican president with a similar fervor to Trump’s core base.
It must be noted that this particular brand of herd mentality is certainly not exclusive to the GOP, hordes of Democrats have placed party loyalty above logic and morality numerous times. Yet it’s somewhat surprising that this level of fealty extends to Trump. But, perhaps it shouldn’t be. The bottom line is Trump does not differ from Republicans much at all when it comes to policy. He’s only really been at odds with his party when it comes to his behavior and his general lack of decorum. The GOP want a statesman, but they’ll settle for a malleable, incompetent despot over a Democrat any day.
Even if that despot shoots a person on 5th Avenue.
Whether GOP voters think of Trump as a golden-haired deity or a moldable embarrassment doesn’t really matter—the level of unwavering support is nearly identical across the board.
Some other notable takeaways from the poll:
21% of Trump voters believe he is “more corrupt” than Richard Nixon, while 17% aren’t sure. He’s not even six months into his presidency.
Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden both hold large leads over Trump:
Elizabeth Warren’s lead is sizable as well:
The race between Kamala Harris/Cory Booker and Trump looks to be tighter:
Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and Trump are in a dead heat:
And lastly, everyone hates Mitch McConnell.
By 2016 presidential vote:
Jesse Mechanic is the editor in chief of The Overgrown.