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Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim comments aren’t really hurting his chances

Reuters/Mary Schwalm
Divisive as ever.
  • Hanna Kozlowska
By Hanna Kozlowska

Investigative reporter

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Donald Trump may have caused a storm with his recent call to ban all Muslims from entering the United States, but outrage appears to have been limited to journalists, pundits and politicians. According to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, Trump’s standing among voters has not changed since October.

Nearly 60% of people polled said they viewed Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, in a negative light, and 27% said they saw him in a positive one, which was about the same as in October. Just above half of Republican primary voters (51%) gave Trump a thumbs up, and 26% did not, which was also nearly the same as in the previous poll.

The majority of respondents—57%—said they were not happy with Trump’s plans to ban Muslims from the US, but 25% supported it. Among Republicans, the responses were split: 39% against the ban and 38% in favor.

A poll from The New York Times and CBS, conducted largely before Trump’s incendiary comments, showed that he was gaining from heightened fears about terrorism following attacks in Paris and San Bernardino. A month ago, the Times notes, only 4% of Americans thought terrorism was the most important issue. Today, it’s 19%. Of likely GOP primary voters, 71% said they were confident in Trump’s ability to handle the terrorist threat, and 40% said they were “very confident.”

While a poll average from Real Clear Politics shows Trump outpacing his Republican rivals by a big margin, his Democratic counterpart, frontrunner for the nomination Hillary Clinton had some strong words for the controversial billionaire.

“I think for weeks, you know, you and everybody else were just bringing folks to hysterical laughter and all of that,” Clinton said on the TV show Late Night with Seth Myers. “But now he has gone way over the line. And what he’s saying now is not only shameful and wrong—it’s dangerous.”

I no longer think he’s funny,” she said.

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