Two new polls gauging Americans’ views on President Trump’s response to the violent and ultimately deadly events in Charlottesville found similar results: a sharply partisan divide in opinions, with a solid majority of Republicans approving of Trump’s response while an overwhelming majority of Democrats disapprove. Overall both polls found a majority of Americans did not believe Trump responded adequately to the tragic events surrounding the white nationalist rally.
CBS News published its new poll Thursday morning revealing that 55% of respondents disapproved of Trump’s response to Charlottesville, with just over a third, 34%, approving. The survey of 1,223 adults was conducted by phone from August 14 -16 and thus includes responses from before and after Trump’s controversial press conference on Tuesday.
Just over two-thirds, 67%, of Republicans approved of Trump’s response, with just 22% disapproving. Opinion was even more unified among Democrats, 82% of whom disapproved while a mere 10% approved. More Independents sided with the Democrats than the Republicans on the question, 53% disapproving and 32% approving.
When CBS asked Americans if they felt that Trump had accurately described the events on Friday and Saturday, the numbers were almost identical: Republicans (68/21), Democrats (10/83), and Independents (53/34). Overall, 35% of respondents believed Trump had described the events accurately, while 55% said his description was inaccurate.
A majority of all three groups agreed that the suspected white nationalist plowing his vehicle into counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others, was an act of domestic terrorism. A total of 63% of respondents said it was terrorism; just 27% said it was not. Here’s the breakdown by group: Republicans (51/38), Democrats (73/20), and Independents (63/27).
A new PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll (conducted August 14-15; 1,125 adults) found similar results regarding approval of Trump’s response. A slim majority (52%) said they did not feel his response was strong enough, while only 27% approved (21% were undecided), though, once again, opinions were sharply divided along partisan lines:
Respondents were sharply divided along political lines, however, with 59 percent of Republicans expressing support for Trump’s statements, while only 10 percent of Democrats and 30 percent of people who identify themselves as politically independent felt the same.
There were also some differences of opinion along racial lines. Among white Americans, 31 percent thought Trump said what needed to be said after Charlottesville, with 20 percent of Hispanics and 13 percent of African-Americans saying the same.
The survey also asked Americans if they believed the horrific actions that led to Heyer’s death should be considered domestic terrorism, and, like CBS News, found consensus that it was; a total of 67% describing it as domestic terrorism.
The Marist poll also asked respondents if they believe Confederate statues should be removed and found a solid majority did not believe they should; a total of 62% saying they believe “Confederate statues should remain in place as historical symbols”:
Republicans were twice as likely as Democrats to say they supported keeping statues that honor Confederate leaders. Two-thirds of whites and Latinos said these statues should not be removed. African-American respondents were split, with 44 percent saying the statues should remain in place, and another 40 percent saying they need to be removed because some people find them offensive.
More from The Daily Wire on Charlottesville and the Confederate monuments debate: