Americans are nearly evenly divided on whether they think former president Donald Trump should be permanently banned from social media platforms. A newly released poll from the Pew Research Center, results showed that 50 per cent of Americans said that Trump should not be banned, while 49 per cent were in favour of the permanent ban.
Unsurprisingly, the split was heavily partisan.
Republicans want Trump ban lifted
Those respondents who identified as Republican or as an independent with a lean toward Republican showed strong support for allowing the former president to return to social media, with 88 per cent saying that Trump should not be banned permanently in contrast to just 11 per cent supporting the permanent ban.
Republicans or Republican-leaning independents who also identified themselves as “conservative” were extremely favourable toward allowing Trump a return to social media platforms with 95 per cent of them choosing the “should not be permanently banned” option. Support for allowing Trump to return to social media was significantly lower among the Republican/lean Republican demographic who also identified as “moderate” or “liberal,” with a lower 77 per cent of those individuals in favour of Trump's permanent ban being overturned.
Democrats want Trump ban upheld
On the Democratic side, the numbers told a different story. A large majority, 81 per cent, of Democrats and independents who lean Democrat were in favour of permanently banning the former president from social media, while 18 per cent were opposed.
Those Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents who identified as “conservative/moderate” showed marginally more support for Trump, with 78 per cent saying the permanent ban should be upheld and 22 per cent who were OK with allowing Trump to return to social media. The group of respondents who identified as “liberal” among the Democrat group were more in favour of the ban, with 85 per cent supporting the actions taken by Big Tech against Trump.
Changes since January 6 Capitol riot
Support for allowing Trump to return to social media has increased since the events of the now-infamous riot at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6. While the political divide remains, a Pew poll conducted in January resulted in 58 per cent of Americans saying they felt the actions taken against the then-president were the appropriate response, compared to 41 per cent who thought it was the wrong decision. At that point, 78 per cent of Republicans felt the ban was wrong, compared to 89 per cent of Democrats who felt it was right.
As with any survey, it's important to frame the context of the results by examining the methodology used in collecting the data. The sample used for this survey featured 4,623 respondents, with 1,899 of those (or 43 per cent) identifying as Republican or independent with a lean towards Republican, compared to 2,603 who identified as Democrat or independent with a lean towards Democrat (or 52 per cent).
The question that was asked to respondents was: “As you may know, some social media companies permanently or temporarily banned former president Donald Trump's accounts following rioting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. on January 6. Do you think his accounts SHOULD/should NOT be permanently banned from social media sites?”
The full methodology can be read here.