A zesty bit of data to carry us into the excitement of convention weekend. When asked to choose, America chooses none of the above.
Add up those totals and you get Hillary 34, Trump 30, Gun In My Mouth 36. If you force the last group to choose between one of the four party candidates, it shakes out at Hillary 40, Trump 35, and, interestingly, “other candidate” at nine percent, ahead of both Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. Are America’s write-ins collectively looking at nearly 10 percent of the vote? The libertarian and the communist are good enough for a protest vote if you’re that disaffected by the major-party candidates.
We saw one magical trendline for Hillary in the NYT/CBS survey this morning. Here’s another for you. The share of Americans who say “honest” describes Clinton well:
Seventy-three farking percent. I wonder if there’s an American president or presidential nominee who’s polled as terribly as that on honesty since Watergate-era Nixon. Even Trump does better — slightly better, at 30/67. Despite her dishonesty, though, she’s still got him beat on likability. She scores a breezy 32/65 when voters are asked whether “likable” describes her well or not while Trump pulls a mind-bending 25/72. (Fully 50 percent say the word “racist” describes him well versus 48 percent who say it doesn’t.) We have an election between a plate of cat sh*t and a plate of dog sh*t. Who’s hungry?
As badly as Trump may be doing, he’s not weighing down Republican Senate incumbents — at least not yet. If you missed it earlier, read Ed’s post on how well Rubio, Toomey, and Portman are doing in their reelection bids right now per Quinnipiac’s latest poll. It may be that Trump is so much larger than life, and has worked so hard to cultivate his image as a political independent, that his unpopularity isn’t hurting the GOP as much as Democrats hoped and Republicans feared. Turns out voters don’t see him as a symbol of the Republican Party whose views can be attributed to other candidates. They see him as Trump. Trump is Trump. If that’s true, we may end up with a Republican Senate majority next year even if he ultimately manages to alienate more voters by Election Day than Hillary does. On the other hand, per this fascinating Pew poll yesterday, Trump’s actually done a better job in certain ways of unifying the party behind him than Romney did. Mitt may have been a man of deep faith and squeaky-clean morals, but white evangelicals were no more likely to support him in 2012 than they are to support Trump now. On the contrary:
Support among white evangelicals for Trump is higher overall and higher among strong supporters than it was for Mitt. One read of that is that religious voters simply aren’t as one-note as political junkies assume. They like Trump for many reasons, from his economic views to his immigration policies to his political incorrectness, and aren’t about to let his lack of devotion deter them from making what they see as the best civic choice. Their faith is just one facet of their identity; their class and race are others and are equally important. Another read of it is that even a Presbyterian of seemingly weak faith is preferable to a Mormon, including (and maybe especially) a devout Mormon.
One more revealing bit of data from Pew. It was widely publicized from exit polls this spring that Trump succeeded by capturing voters who describe themselves as evangelical but don’t go to church regularly. Among regular churchgoers, Ted Cruz was more competitive. If that distinction was true a few months ago, it’s no longer true now as we move to the general:
What happened? Presumably regular churchgoers who were iffy on Trump in the primaries when Cruz was still on the menu like him a lot more now that the alternative is a party that wants abortion on demand up to the last minute of pregnancy. Although if that’s true, it suggests that Trump’s logic in choosing Mike Pence for VP was faulty. He didn’t need to make a grand gesture towards social conservatives to unite them behind him; the fact that Hillary Clinton is on the other side of the ballot would have done that just fine. He could have chosen the thrice-married Newt Gingrich after all. If evangelicals are onboard with the thrice-married Trump, how could they complain?