Not great, GOP. As the man himself might say, really not terrific!
To be clear, though, I think this is less of a “look what Republicans have come to” result than a “look what partisanship has come to” thing. The right isn’t about to be reproached for its callousness towards victims of sexual assault by a party that made Ted “Waitress Sandwich” Kennedy a secular saint and continues to treat Juanita Broaddrick as though she’s some sort of kook. Both parties, alas, stand by their man in these situations.
Note that the question asks specifically if the charges would be disqualifying if they’re true, i.e. if they could be proved. Proof of multiple sex offenses wouldn’t be disqualifying in a U.S. president? W-w-wut?
You can spin that two ways if you doubt the result. One is that there’s precedent here. If rape didn’t disqualify Bill Clinton, why should an assault or two disqualify a Republican nominee? That logic would represent a pitiful lowering of its own moral standards by the right, but then that’s the story of the past 16 months. The other spin is that, although the question assumes that the assaults really did happen, maybe the people being polled didn’t pay much attention to that caveat in responding. Maybe they thought they were being asked, simply, “Do you think the mere fact that Trump was accused of these things is disqualifying?” Just 12 percent(!) of Republicans said they found the charges credible, so go figure that when they were asked if the charges are disqualifying, most would also instinctively say no. The problem with that spin, though, is that there’s no reason to think they didn’t understand the question exactly as it was asked. Pretending that they didn’t is just that — pretending.
So yeah, there’s partisanship at work here. Even among independents, in fact. As HuffPo notes, indies who lean Democratic are 78 points more likely to consider the charges against Trump credible than indies who lean Republican are. On the other hand, WaPo published an interesting study yesterday showing that self-identified Republicans might be more skeptical of sexual assault claims as a general rule than Democrats are.
If the partisan shoe were on the other foot, you might well see more than 19 percent of Democrats say that the accusations, if true, are disqualifying. Although, given the Kennedy/Clinton precedents, maybe not much more.
One other note from the poll: 53 percent of the public, including majorities of both men (54) and women (52), rejected the idea that Trump’s “Access Hollywood” tape was normal “locker room talk” by men. Among the majority on that is, er, Howard Stern:
Howard Stern: Its not locker room talk. "I have never been in the room when someone has said, "Grab them by the p**y." pic.twitter.com/7C0o8FvnOh
— Katy Tur (@KatyTurNBC) October 18, 2016
Here’s Trump sidekick Chris Christie being asked if he’s “proud” of the campaign. In lieu of an exit question, read People magazine’s new story today citing six different witnesses who claim that writer Natasha Stoynoff told them long ago about Trump’s alleged assault on her at Mar-a-Lago in 2005. One colleague claims Stoynoff told him about it the night that it happened. Another claims Stoynoff told her the following day. Why People decided to go ahead and run Stoynoff’s puff piece on Trump anyway is a mystery, if you count “not wanting to upset a celebrity whom the magazine covers” as a mystery.
— POLITICO (@politico) October 18, 2016