“Make America Great Again” is Donald Trump’s iconic campaign slogan – and a new survey suggests that for a lot of his supporters the ideal may have been the 1950s.
A new national survey from PRRI finds 72 percent of likely Trump likely voters say American culture and way of life has changed for the worse since the 1950s, while roughly 70 percent of likely Hillary Clinton voters say life and culture in the U.S. has changed for the better since that time.
The poll – which also surveyed voter confidence in voting and support for political parties – found that few issues were as divisive than whether American culture and way of life have changed – with 51 percent saying it’s worsened and 48 percent saying its improved since the 1950s.
“This election has become a referendum on competing visions of America's future,” said the firm’s chief executive officer, Robert P. Jones. “Donald Trump supporters are nostalgic for the 1950s, an era when white Christians in particular had more political and cultural power in the country, while Hillary Clinton supporters are leaning into - and even celebrating - the big cultural transformations the country has experienced over the last few decades.”
The poll found that a majority of white Americans - 56 percent - say American society has changed for the worse since the 1950s, while 62 percent of black Americans and 57 percent of Hispanics say its improved. A majority of white college-educated Americans, however, say society is better now than it was in the 1950s, while nearly two-thirds - or 65 percent - of white working-class Americans say things are now worse.
No group has a dimmer view of American cultural change than white evangelical Protestants: nearly three-quarters say American culture has changed for the worse since the 1950s.
With Trump charging that the election is “rigged” against him and warning his supporters to be on the lookout for voting fraud, there was also a stark partisan divide over whether voters believe their votes will be counted accurately. Overall, fewer than half of the public said they have a great deal of confidence their vote will be counted accurately. Clinton supporters were more sure of accuracy at 70 percent, but only 41 percent of Trump supporters reported a great deal of confidence their votes will be counted accurately.
Roughly two-thirds – 66 percent – of Republicans believe voter fraud is a bigger problem than voter disenfranchisement, compared to only 19 percent of Democrats. More than six in ten Democrats say eligible voters being denied access is the bigger problem.
The poll found increasing unrest with the major political parties: 61 percent said they feel that neither party represents their views, compared to 48 percent who expressed this view in 1990.
Trump has also decried political correctness and nearly six in 10 - 57 percent - say it is important to speak frankly, even if certain people are offended. Another 39 percent said it is important to avoid using language that offends others. The poll found white men - at 69 percent - were particularly likely to decry political correctness.
The 2016 American Values Survey vote preference question was conducted in two parts and found Clinton increasing a lead over Trump: the first was conducted Sept. 1 to 27 and showed Clinton with an 8-point lead among likely voters – 49 percent to 41 percent. The second wave from Oct. 12 to 17, found Clinton increasing her lead over Trump into double digits – 51 percent vs. 36 percent.