The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Two Obama-supporting California cities approve of Donald Trump’s Muslim immigrant ban

Donald Trump talks to media from his car wearing a "Make America Great Again," hat. (Matthew Busch/Getty Images)
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If you're not familiar with the geography of California, it can be broken into roughly three pieces. There's northern California, anchored by San Francisco. There's southern California, anchored by Los Angeles. And there's the Central Valley/Inland Empire, the parts not on the coast that are home to a lot of agriculture and a lot of open space.

San Bernardino sits at the southern end of this stretch, just east of Los Angeles. Among the many reasons that it was an unlikely spot to expect the most deadly domestic terror attack since Sept. 11 is that its an afterthought even in California -- the 17th-largest city in the state behind a number that you've likely never heard of.

The automated polling firm SurveyUSA just completed two surveys in cities near San Bernardino, with a focus on Donald Trump's declaration that the United States should block any Muslims from entering the country. SurveyUSA talked to people in San Diego, at the very bottom of the state, where voters in 2012 supported Barack Obama over Mitt Romney by more than seven points. They also polled people in Fresno and Visalia, up in the Central Valley, where Obama only barely won more votes than Romney. In California politics, these are relatively moderate and relatively conservative regions, respectively.

And in both places, the majority of adults polled supported Trump's proposal.

In fact, more than a third of adults in both cities strongly agreed with the idea that Muslim should be barred from entering the country. In both places, more people strongly agreed with the idea than strongly disagreed. There was a partisan split, but even among Democrats, more than a quarter of those answering the poll strongly agreed with Trump's idea.

Fresno, as you might expect, is generally more sympathetic to Trump's position than San Diego. But not by much.

We'll note here, as we did when assessing the iffy poll that Trump used to justify his policy, that in an "agree-disagree" polling framework, people tend to lean toward "agree." But when asked if they agreed or disagreed with Hillary Clinton's response to Trump (she called it "reprehensible, prejudiced and divisive"), majorities in both cities disagreed with her comments.

SurveyUSA also asked for people's opinions of the Islamic religion. In most cases, pluralities of voters indicated that they considered the religion more violent than peaceful.

It's not clear what function the proximity of San Bernardino to the cities plays in these results (which we are highlighting solely because they’re the first for which we have polling on Trump’s proposal). Fresno lies a few hours up Highway 99 from the site of the terror attacks, while San Diego is relatively close. Given the results above, it's more likely that politics is the driving force, and that even in a relatively liberal area (from a national perspective), Trump's plan is hardly anathema to residents.

We noted on Tuesday that Trump's proposal was pretty unlikely to alienate his supporters. This is one pair of surveys from two cities, but it seems completely possible that Trump won't end up alienating too many other potential supporters, either.