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Americans on the right and left change their minds after hearing where Trump stands

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During America’s health care debate in 2013, late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel got some laughs when he asked people whether they supported Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act. Both names refer to the exact same legislation.

Now, a new poll demonstrates that voters are more than willing to change their previously stated positions after learning where President Donald Trump stands on the issue.

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After a U.S. drone strike killed Qasem Solemani and Iran retaliated against a U.S. base in Iraq, a Yahoo News/YouGov poll surveyed 1,500 people about their views on U.S. policy toward Iran.

Participants were asked whether they supported the current policy, which was that the U.S. would take no additional military action against Iran, according to Yahoo News’ Andrew Romano. While 70% of Democrats agreed, only 37% of Republicans concurred.

Those surveyed were then told that the policy of refraining from additional military action was Donald Trump’s decision.

Support for the policy of restraint fell among Democrats to 58%, but jumped to 81% among Republicans once they learned it was what Trump wanted.

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Attitudes toward Trump

Research shows that voters adopt positions and perceptions based in part upon the politicians they support.

For example, in one experiment, researchers presented people with statements like “The U.S. debt is $18 trillion” or “Vaccines cause autism,” sometimes giving the statement no attribution and sometimes attributing it to Trump. Republicans and Democrats did not differ so much on statements without attribution as they did when the statement is attributed to Trump. Republican supporters were far more willing than Democrats to believe statements attributed to Trump.

But this Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows something even more unusual. Respondents changed positions that were once consistent with their party or ideology according to Trump’s preferences – even when doing so contradicted their usual views.

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At first, it appeared that most Republicans originally wanted a military response, but Republican respondents were more likely to go with a less aggressive response when it was framed as Trump’s position.

Candidates, not policies

In recent years, voters have shifted their views on issues based upon the positions of other presidents.

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A Gallup study on George W. Bush’s Social Security privatization proposals found evidence that “suggests that public opinion on Social Security could devolve into nothing more than a referendum on the president,” rather than support for one’s policy preferences.

Like Kimmel, CNBC asked a group of 812 voters how they felt about Obamacare, as well as the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, in 2013. Thirty-five percent of voters rated Obamacare strongly negative, compared to 24% who said the same about the ACA.

“People liked the Affordable Care Act and a lot of what was in it. They just didn’t like the Obama part of ObamaCare, the fact that he was branded with it,” said Dan Cox, former research director at the Public Religion Research Institute, in an interview with The Hill.
But as Obama improved in popularity, so too did Obamacare, as the two became intertwined.

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In a 2018 study, political scientists Andrew Gooch and Gregory A. Huber discovered that even with today’s hyperpartisanship, voters still prefer particular candidates’ positions, even if those contradict the traditional party line.

Despite claiming loyalty to party labels, voters sometimes go for what candidates say, and not for predictable ideologies or party platforms. That gives a lot of power to particular politicians over party members and ideological supporters.

[ You’re too busy to read everything. We get it. That’s why we’ve got a weekly newsletter. Sign up for good Sunday reading. ]The Conversation

John A. Tures, Professor of Political Science, LaGrange College

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This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


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Trump is in a ‘fight-or-flight state’ over coronavirus: ‘Art of the Deal’ co-author

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On Thursday's edition of MSNBC's "The Beat," Trump biographer and "Art of the Deal" co-author Tony Schwartz laid out the president's state of mind over the coronavirus crisis.

"Let's understand Trump," said Schwartz. "Trump is the chief energy officer of this land. So, in other words, his energy has a disproportionate impact on all our energy. And he already raised the anxiety of people over the last four years considerably. He'll exploit fear if he thinks that serves him, or deny fear if he thinks that serves him."

"That's an important point," said host Ari Melber. "You're arguing, as someone who worked with him, that while we just heard about a public interest approach, you're saying you don't see him using public interest?"

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‘No time for being patronized,’ say youth climate leaders as UK cops warn parents over Fridays for Future protest

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"Young people should not be underestimated—we have a voice and we are strong."

Youth organizers of a Friday climate protest in Bristol, United Kingdom said they have "no time for being patronized" after local police sent a letter to parents warning of inadequate safety measures for the upcoming demonstration, which teenage activist Greta Thunberg and thousands of others are expected to attend.

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Trump spent 45 minutes talking with cast of right-wing play dramatizing ‘Deep State’ conspiracy theories: report

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The coronavirus emergency has given President Donald Trump one of the most daunting tests of his administration, with less than a year to go before he stands for re-election.

And yet in the midst of all the chaos, one thing the president found time to do on Thursday was meet with the cast of a bizarre right-wing play dramatizing the supposed "deep state" plot at the FBI to frame Trump in the Russia investigation.

According to The Daily Beast, Trump spent 45 minutes talking with the people behind "FBI Lovebirds: Undercovers," which focuses on the affair between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. The leading roles of Strzok and Page were played by Dean Cain, the former Superman actor, and Kristy Swanson, who played the starring role in the 1992 Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie.

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