August 18, 2016

Clinton, Trump Supporters Have Starkly Different Views of a Changing Nation

4. How voters view the country’s problems

Voters view a number of issues as significant problems for the country. About half of registered voters (52%) say the gap between the rich and the poor is a “very big problem,” while nearly as many cite relations between racial and ethnic groups (48%) as a very big problem. Terrorism (46%) and crime (45%) also are considered very big problems by voters.

Roughly four-in-ten say immigration and the availability of good-paying jobs (38% each) are very big problems in the country, while somewhat fewer (30%) cite the condition of the environment.

On the list of seven issues, immigration and terrorism stand out as especially serious problems among Trump supporters; nearly two-thirds cite each as very big problems in the country (66% immigration, 65% terrorism).

Clinton supporters express far less concern about both issues. Just 17% describe immigration as a very big national problem; 40% say it is a moderately big problem, while 42% say it is either a small problem or not a problem at all. In addition, only about a third of Clinton supporters (36%) say terrorism is a very big problem in the country.

Trump supporters also are more likely than Clinton backers to say that crime (52% vs. 42%) and the availability of good-paying jobs (48% vs. 33%) are very big problems.

Far more Clinton supporters (70%) than Trump supporters (31%) view the gap between rich and poor as a major problem in the country. And while 43% of Clinton supporters rate the condition of the environment as a very big problem, just 16% of Trump supporters say this. While 43% of Trump backers say the condition of the environment is a moderately big problem, 38% say it is a small problem or not a problem.

Where Trump and Clinton supporters agree most is on the extent to which relations between racial and ethnic groups are a problem. About half of both camps view this as a very big problem (51% of Clinton supporters and 48% of Trump supporters).

Across demographic groups there are varying perspectives on the dominant concerns facing the country.

For example, black voters are more likely than whites to cite several issues as very big problems, including the rich-poor gap (by 30 percentage points), crime (26 points), the condition of the environment (18 points) and relations between racial and ethnic groups (16 points).

Among supporters of Trump and supporters of Clinton, there are divisions by level of family income over the concerns facing the country.

About four-in-ten Trump supporters (39%) from households with annual family income under $50,000 view the gap between the rich and poor as a very big problem, compared with 26% of Trump supporters with incomes of more than $50,000. Comparable shares of Clinton supporters in both income categories view the gap between rich and poor as a very big problem.

On crime, Clinton supporters are divided along income lines while Trump supporters are not. A majority (59%) of Clinton supporters with household income below $50,000 view crime as a very big problem, compared with just 26% of Clinton supporters with annual family incomes of $50,000 or more.

Lower income Clinton supporters also are more likely than higher income backers of Clinton to view terrorism as a very big problem (48% vs. 26%), while for Trump supporters, majorities at all income levels see this as a very big problem.