Media condemnation of Donald Trump for his Muslim immigration plan has done nothing to squash support for the idea among GOP primary voters.
A Bloomberg poll released Wednesday shows nearly two-thirds of Republican primary voters, or 65 percent, favor a temporary ban on Muslim immigrants as the threat posed by the Islamic State group looms.
Bloomberg Politics/Purple Strategies PulsePoll used online opt-in methodology Tuesday night to obtain a representative sample of voters. Doug Usher of Purple Strategies said he was “surprised” and “a bit disturbed” at the results.
“We believe these numbers are made up of some people who are truly expressing religious bigotry and others who are fearful about terrorism and are willing to do anything they think might make us safer,” Usher said. “This indicates that, despite some conventional wisdom expressed in the last 48 hours, this is unlikely to hurt Trump at least in the primary campaign.”
The Republican front-runner’s proposal was also favored among 37 percent of likely voters and 18 percent of Democratic primary voters.
Conservative commentator Mark Steyn tried highlighted the divide between media elites and primary voters during an interview with Fox News’ Greta van Susteren on Tuesday.
“This is where the president and the secretary of state and others are so absolutely deplorable. By absolving the whole of Islam, there is no pressure on moderate Muslims to take action against this poison in their own world,” Steyn told the “On the Record” host. “To most of the American people, Trump sounds a lot less insane about this than John Kerry standing up in Paris as they’re still washing the streets clean of blood, saying [Islamic terrorism] has nothing to do with Islam.”
Steyn’s comments were in reference to the Obama administration’s reaction to the Nov. 13 terror attacks in Paris, France, that killed 130. Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have repeatedly tried to frame Islamic terrorism as something divorced from Islam as a whole.
The president made similar statements after the Dec. 2 terror attacks in San Bernardino, California, that killed 14.
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“So far, we have no evidence that the killers were directed by a terrorist organization overseas, or that they were part of a broader conspiracy here at home. But it is clear that the two of them had gone down the dark path of radicalization, embracing a perverted interpretation of Islam that calls for war against America and the West,” Obama said Dec. 6 while addressing the American people from the White House.
It has since been revealed by the FBI that killers Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his wife Tashfeen Malik, 27, were radicalized “for quite some time.” Malik had also pledged allegiance to ISIS on one of her Facebook accounts.