Sunday 23 October 2016

Most young Americans dislike 'racist' Donald Trump - poll

Published 13/07/2016 | 09:09

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up as he leaves the residence of Mike Pence (AP)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up as he leaves the residence of Mike Pence (AP)

Donald Trump is extremely unpopular among young adults, in particular young people of colour, and nearly two-thirds of Americans between the ages of 18 and 30 believe the presumptive Republican nominee is racist, according to a survey.

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The GenForward poll also found just 19% of young people have a favourable opinion of Mr Trump compared with the three-quarters of young adults who hold a dim view of the New York billionaire.

Mr Trump's likely general election opponent, Hillary Clinton, is also unpopular with young people, but not nearly to the same extent as the real estate mogul and realty TV star.

A mere 6% of young African Americans, 10% of young Hispanics, 12% of young Asian Americans and 27% of young whites see Mr Trump in a favourable light - ratings which suggest the celebrity businessman faces a staggering task this summer to win their backing in his bid for the White House.

"I think if you want to be a moral young person, you can't support Trump," said Miguel Garcia, 20, of Norwalk, California.

The grandson of Mexican immigrants and a college student who also works at a tyre shop, Mr Garcia is a registered Democrat who has not chosen a candidate to support this autumn - but is resolute in his disdain for Mr Trump.

"It's really hard to back anything Trump does," Mr Garcia said. "He just says prejudiced stuff."

GenForward is a survey by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago with the Associated Press-NORC Centre for Public Affairs Research. The poll, the first of its kind, pays special attention to the voices of young adults of colour, highlighting how race and ethnicity shape the opinions of the country's most diverse generation.

It surveys adults between the ages of 18 and 30, not necessarily registered or likely voters. Those questioned may not end up voting, or casting a ballot for either major party candidate for president.

The poll found that only 39% of young people have a favourable opinion of Mrs Clinton compared with 54% who have an unfavourable view of the presumptive Democratic nominee.

Desiree Batista, a former supporter of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, said she was "picking the lesser of two evils" in backing Mrs Clinton, a decision she reached in part because she believes Mr Trump "was unqualified" to be president.

"I just don't think he's fit to be a presidential candidate," said Ms Batista, a 21-year-old college student from Colonia, New Jersey. "I understand people like him as a businessman, even though I don't feel the same way."

The depth of animosity towards Mr Trump among young Americans may be driven by the two-thirds of those who believe he is racist. That includes nearly six in 10 whites, and more than three-quarters of African Americans, Hispanics and Asians.

Mr Trump launched his campaign last summer by accusing some immigrants from Mexico of being rapists and bringing drugs into the country. He later vowed to temporarily bar foreign Muslims from entering the US, a position from which he has recently backed away.

"Clearly, from what Trump has said he can be categorised as racist," said Barrett Coleman, a 28-year-old graduate student from Richmond, Virginia, who is supporting Mrs Clinton. "His comments about Mexicans, in particular, are just awful."

A Trump spokeswoman was not available to comment on the GenForward poll, which found he does have some supporters among young people.

Nour El Hanly, a 20-year-old student from Chicago, is a Muslim of Moroccan descent who said he found Mrs Clinton "corrupt" and will "continue failing Obama policies".

"I do not favor all of (Trump's) rhetoric, but he's a smart businessman who will help the nation's economy," said Mr El Hanly, a Republican.

He said he favoured Mr Trump's plan to strengthen security along the US border with Mexico, but does not think the tycoon will follow through on any sort of plan to bar Muslims from the country.

"Most of my friends don't agree, but I think he is the best choice," he said.

Nevertheless, the poll found little common ground between young Americans and Mr Trump.

Some seven in 10 oppose his proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from other countries from entering the United States. Seven in 10 also oppose his plan to build a wall along the US southern border. Six in 10 say immigrants who are in the country illegally should be allowed to stay, including large majorities of young Hispanics, African-Americans and Asian-Americans and about half of young whites.

Nathan Mclendon, a 22-year-old African-American independent, said he does not believe Mr Trump can relate to the concerns of young voters or people of colour.

"He doesn't understand what we're going through. He's not focused on equality," said Mr Mclendon, of Tampa, Florida. "I don't find him trustworthy. And I'm not sure he cares."

:: The poll of 1,965 adults aged 18-30 was carried out between June 14 and 27 using a sample drawn from the probability-based GenForward panel, which is designed to be representative of the US young adult population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

The survey was paid for by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago using grants from the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

Respondents were first selected randomly using address-based sampling methods, and later interviewed online or by phone.

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