The topline figure: 57 percent of the public overall agree with Carson that a Muslim shouldn’t be put in charge of the country versus just 27 percent who disagree, with another 52 percent claiming that he shouldn’t apologize for what he said. It’s Democrats who’ve been doing most of the scolding, though, and so it’s Democrats whose numbers are most interesting here.
Sometimes in polls that touch on religion, you’ll find an alignment between Republicans and black voters. Not this time. A near-majority of blacks disagree with Carson, which means that it’s white and Latino Democrats who are mostly driving the skepticism towards Islam on the left. The results by race when voters are asked if they agree with the statement “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation”:
Fully 50 percent of Latinos at least somewhat agree versus 27 percent who don’t. The numbers by party:
Democrats split 41/38 while indies are at 54/27, and that assumes that everyone who responded to the poll answered honesty. Answers to questions about religious biases would, I suspect, contain more deception than you usually find in polls since some respondents will worry that the pollster will think less of them if they give the “wrong” answer. In fact, 48 percent of Democrats think Carson should apologize for what he said versus 28 percent who think he shouldn’t, suggesting that some Democrats recognize this is the “wrong” position to hold even while they confess to holding it. Too bad YouGov didn’t test people on other minority religious groups, like Jews or atheists, to try to gauge how much of this sentiment is voters preferring a Christian president, period, and how much is specific to Islam versus other minority faiths/non-faiths.
Between his polling and his fundraising this past week, Carson’s paying no price for the remark:
Ben Carson raised more than $500,000 after his controversial comments that he wouldn’t support a Muslim for president, campaign communications director Doug Watts said Monday.
Those comments, made more than a week ago on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” gave the campaign a “partial bump” in fundraising that resulted in Carson raising “about $6-700,000 at the time,” which contributed to an overall $10 million haul for the campaign in September.
Here he is going round after round for six minutes with Jake Tapper over what he said. (Starting at 2:40.) “Is it possible that maybe the media thinks that it’s a bigger deal than the American people do?” Carson asks him. Tapper doesn’t have an easy comeback to that, but he keeps going. Watch to the very end and you’ll hear one of Carson’s handlers finally shut the interview down from off-camera.