Iowa's Republican Voters Are Incredibly Bigoted – And Setting the Tone for a Hateful Primary

Election '16

Why are leading GOP candidates demonizing Muslims, Mexicans, African Americans and other minority groups?

Part of the answer likely lies in the first state to hold a GOP caucus: Iowa. Polling shows that voters there hold views that are staunchly bigoted, and in some cases even unconstitutional.

A Quinnipac University poll in July found that 46 percent of Iowa Republicans say that undocumented immigrants should simply be sent home, while just 34 percent believe in a path to citizenship. A separate poll taken later in the summer found that 73 percent of Donald Trump's fans (recall that Trump is the frontrunner in the race) hold the view that we should simply deport undocumented migrants en masse.

While this opinion is extreme and unrealistic, a different poll finds that the views Iowa Republicans hold are downright unconstitutional. Thirty percent of Iowa Republicans told a pollster they think Islam should simply be illegal, while 21 percent were undecided. Just under half — 49 percent — believed that it should be legal, which is consistent with the First Amendment.

There are likely a number of factors that explain why the GOP has embraced hateful politics, but the first-in-the-nation status of the Iowa caucus, featuring voters who hold deeply bigoted views, is likely a major reason.

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