WONDERING ABOUT THE BOUNDARIES OF THE TRIBE
Public Policy Polling has found that Haley Barbour is the favorite presidential candidate among Republicans in his home state of Mississippi, but what's really striking in PPP's survey is this, which shouldn't surprise me but does:
We asked voters on this poll whether they think interracial marriage should be legal or illegal- 46% of Mississippi Republicans said it should be illegal to just 40% who think it should be legal.
Do the marriage segregationists favor Barbour? No -- they favor another candidate, and guess who it is:
For the most part there aren't any huge divides in how voters view the candidates or who they support for the nomination based on their attitudes about interracial marriage but there are a few exceptions.
Palin's net favorability with folks who think interracial marriage should be illegal (+55 at 74/19) is 17 points higher than it is with folks who think interracial marriage should be legal (+38 at 64/26.) Meanwhile Romney's favorability numbers see the opposite trend. He's at +23 (53/30) with voters who think interracial marriage should be legal but 19 points worse at +4 (44/40) with those who think it should be illegal.
Full results of the poll are in this PDF -- and I'm really disappointed that the survey didn't include Donald Trump. I'd love to know if his supporters would favor an interracial marriage ban more than other candidates' supporters. I'd also like to know if he'd do as well as I think he would.
A couple of months ago, what I just wrote would have seemed insane. Trump? In the Deep South? Now it doesn't seem crazy. The new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll says Trump is the top candidate among teabaggers. And we know tea party membership is disproportionately Southerm. Why wouldn't Trump score well in Mississippi?
I'd like to see the correlation between Trump's popularity in Mississippi and the marriage question because I think these resentment-driven voters see their tribe as being defined by resentments these days more than by geography or accent or good-ol'-ness. I think they'd see Trump as an honorary Southern white hater, in the way that they don't see, say, Jimmy Carter as one of their own at all, thanks to talk radio and Fox.