A new NBC/Survey Monkey poll of southern states returned some notable findings on several topics—including Donald Trump, immigration, and taxes—that suggest even voters in the South are breaking with some mainline GOP positions. NBC writes:
The region’s solid support for Donald Trump helped put him in the White House, but Southerners have cooled a bit on the president, with less than half saying they approve, 48 percent, and 51 percent disapproving.
That approval rating exceeds the nation as a whole, where Trump garnered 43 percent support in the poll, but it’s still pretty rough when a GOP president can’t top majority approval in the South. The survey included voters in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Mississippi voters rated Trump the highest, at 57 percent.
But another finding that diverged from what one might expect was related to taxes: a solid majority of Southerners expressed a willingness to pay higher taxes to fund education and infrastructure.
On education, 57 percent of Southerners — including as high as 60 percent in Mississippi — said they would pay higher taxes to improve public schools, compared to 55 percent of all Americans. The numbers were virtually identical when it came to taxes for infrastructure spending, with 62 percent of Mississippians agreeing.
The survey also found strong support for giving undocumented immigrants the chance to obtain legal status, even in some of the deepest of deep-red states.
Seven-in-10 adults nationally and 69 percent in the South think migrants should be given a chance at attaining legal status, while 28 percent said they should be deported. And in the states polled individually —Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee—at least six-in-10 adults said they favored giving migrants a chance to attain legal status before deportation.
If Republicans think Trump, tax cuts, and hating on immigrants are their path to winning over voters in the South, they appear to have another thing coming. Overall, the South is still a GOP stronghold. But the policies most Republican lawmakers are spouting appear to be wildly out of step with the desires of voters on the ground. When that happens, politicians are living on borrowed time—unless they make a change.