Trump, Clinton Voters Divided Over a Changing America
Demonstrators lighted candles last month in front of a statue of Albert Pike, the only Confederate general with an outdoor statue in Washington, during a vigil in response to a woman's death in a "Unite the Right" in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 12.Zach Gibson / AFP - Getty Images
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Americans who voted for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are divided over the country’s increasing diversity and different lifestyles, with over 80 percent of Clinton voters saying they’re comfortable with the changes, but nearly half of Trump voters saying they’re uneasy.
These are the results from a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll on recent social trends, which additionally show a greater acceptance for immigration, globalization and gay marriage.
But the social-trends poll also finds that half of Americans are concerned the government will go too far in restricting gun rights.
Over all, 55 percent of respondents say they’re comfortable with the nation becoming more diverse and tolerant of different lifestyles, gender roles, languages, cultures and experiences.
Twenty-four percent say they’re uneasy with these changes, because they believe what makes the United States special is the country’s uniquely American experience, speaking English and sharing a background that brings everyone together.
Another 19 percent say they’re neither comfortable nor uneasy.
But the poll finds striking differences by political party, geography and age.
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According to the survey, 85 percent of liberals, 81 percent of Clinton voters, 77 percent of Democrats, 69 percent of those ages 18-34 and 65 percent of those living in urban areas say they’re comfortable with a changing America.
By contrast, just 28 percent of Trump voters, 30 percent of Republicans, 33 percent of conservatives, 38 percent of rural residents and 48 percent of seniors say they’re comfortable with the changes.
“The ‘Culture Wars’ have been with us forever, and they remain today,” says Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff.
“America has gone through rapid change, and the results of the Social Trend survey tell us that a majority of Americans are now comfortable with our increasingly diverse country,” McInturff adds. “But this sits at the heart of the Clinton-Trump divide, as 81 percent of Clinton voters say they are ‘comfortable’ with these changes, compared to only 28 percent of Trump voters.”
The NBC/WSJ poll also shows nearly two-thirds of Americans (64 percent) saying that immigration strengthens the United States, while 28 percent say it weakens the country.
That 64 percent saying immigration strengthens the nation is the highest percentage on this NBC/WSJ poll question that dates to 2005, when just 41 percent said it strengthened the country.
But once again, there’s an important political divide: Eighty-one percent of Democrats say immigration strengthens the United States, versus just 44 percent of Republicans and 38 percent of Trump voters who agree.
In addition, for the first time in the poll’s history, a plurality of Americans — 49 percent — believe that globalization has been good for the country, because it has opened up new markets for American products and resulted in more jobs.
That’s compared with 40 percent who think that globalization has been bad.
In past NBC/WSJ polls — in 1997, 2007, 2008 and 2014 — either majorities or pluralities said that globalization has been bad.
Another high in the poll: Sixty percent say they support same-sex marriage, up from 59 percent in 2015 and 53 percent in 2013.
But showing that not all of these issue trends are pointing in a more liberal or progressive direction, 50 percent of respondents say they are more concerned that the government will go too far in restricting gun rights - up from 35 percent in 1995.
By comparison, 45 percent say they’re more concerned that the government will not do enough to regulate access to firearms.
The NBC/WSJ “Social Trends” poll was conducted Aug. 5-9 of 1,200 adults – nearly half of whom were reached by cellphone – and has an overall margin of error of plus-minus 2.8 percentage points.
Mark Murray is a senior political editor at NBC News.