What Voters Make of Trump's 'Angry Mob'

Democrats earn higher marks on civility
Protesters march into Times Square during a demonstration against Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh on October 6, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
October 22, 2018 at 12:01 am UTC

Key Takeaways

  • 64% of voters say Democrats are “angry” – 10 points higher than the share who said the same of Republicans.

  • By a 6 point margin, 49 percent vs. 43 percent, voters were more likely to say “civil” described Democrats well.

As the midterm elections near, President Donald Trump and other Republicans have sought to brand Democrats as mad, unruly and incapable of governing.

"Democrats produce mobs. Republicans produce jobs,” Trump said at a campaign rally Thursday night in Montana, echoing his previous comments calling Democrats an “angry mob.”

But a recent Morning Consult/Politico survey shows that while more voters considered Democrats to be angry, it was Republicans who were less likely to be viewed as civil.

In the Oct. 11-14 poll, 64 percent of registered voters said the term “angry” described Democrats well, compared with 54 percent who said the same was true for Republicans. When it came to who was considered civil, Democrats held a narrow edge over Republicans: 49 percent to 43 percent.

The poll of 1,959 registered voters, which carries a 2 percentage point margin of error, was conducted after former Attorney General Eric Holder, a possible Democratic presidential candidate in 2020, produced an alternate version of former First Lady Michelle Obama’s famous slogan: “When they go low, we go high.”

“When they go low, we kick them,” he said at an Oct. 7 event for Democratic candidates in Georgia, clarifying later in his remarks that he didn’t “mean we do anything inappropriate.” That did not stop House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), who nearly died after being shot by a left-wing extremist in 2017, from describing the remarks as a “call for violence.”

Holder said on Twitter to “stop the fake outrage,” explaining that he was “not advocating violence.”

Voters unaffiliated with either party were more likely to say civility described Democrats: Forty-six percent of independents characterized Democrats as civil, compared with 38 percent who said the same of Republicans. And Democrats (82 percent) were also more likely to self-identify as civil than Republicans (71 percent) were.

Those Democrats were also significantly more likely to acknowledge their own anger: Fifty-nine percent described themselves as angry, 18 points higher than the 41 percent of Republicans who reported that feeling. The party’s strategists will be hoping its voters -- much like the conservative tea party movement from 2010 -- channel that rage into votes on Nov. 6.

A headshot photograph of Eli Yokley
Eli Yokley
U.S. Politics Analyst

Eli Yokley is Morning Consult’s U.S. politics analyst. Eli joined Morning Consult in 2016 from Roll Call, where he reported on House and Senate campaigns after five years of covering state-level politics in the Show Me State while studying at the University of Missouri in Columbia, including contributions to The New York Times, Politico and The Daily Beast. Follow him on Twitter @eyokley. Interested in connecting with Eli to discuss his analysis or for a media engagement or speaking opportunity? Email [email protected].

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