Polls: South Carolina, Trump, Republicans and Muslims

These three polls just in:

Bad News: Donald Trump favorite of SC Republicans — again — This is Winthop Poll. The only reassurance I can give you is that it was mostly taken before Trump spoke of banning Muslims from our shores.

Good News: Majority Opposes Trump Plan to Ban Muslims, Poll Finds — Unfortunately, the WSJ/NBC poll finds that Republicans are more evenly split on the matter.

Bad News: Trump’s Lead Solidifies in Poll, but Many Are Nervous — This one’s from the NYT and CBS. Again, this was largely taken before Trump’s latest bad craziness.

All of which leads to this story from The Washington Post:

As Trump surges, GOP prepares for a contested convention — Time to crank up the ol’ smoke-filled room, boys. Your phony-baloney party is on the line. Harrumph, harrumph, harrumph….

Let’s look at an excerpt from that:

Republican officials and leading figures in the party’s establishment are now preparing for the possibility of a brokered convention as Donald Trump continues sit atop the polls and the presidential race.

More than 20 of them convened Monday for a dinner held by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, where the prospect of Trump nearing next year’s nominating convention in Cleveland with a significant number of delegates dominated the discussion, according to five people familiar with the meeting.

Considering that scenario as Priebus and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) listened, several longtime power brokers argued that if the controversial billionaire storms through the primaries, the party’s establishment must lay the groundwork for a floor fight, in which the GOP’s mainstream wing could coalesce around an alternative, the people said….

May you live in interesting times, Reince Priebus…

46 thoughts on “Polls: South Carolina, Trump, Republicans and Muslims

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Isn’t it disgusting the way this buffoon is dominating discussion of an election for president of our country — not to mention tying one of the nation’s two dominant parties in knots?

    We should all be ignoring him, but we can’t, because too many of our neighbors really, really like him, and even less probably, take him seriously

    I’ve never seen anything even close to this in my lifetime. And my study of our history doesn’t give me much to compare it to, either…

    Reply
    1. bud

      He’s comparable to Sarah Palin. She could have been POTUS if a couple of things had broken a bit differently. As I recall you were willing to take that chance. As bad as Trump is he’s only slightly worse than Ted Cruz or Ben Carson or Marco Rubio. Cruz was ok shutting the government down over planned parenthood. Carson thinks the pyramids are giant wheat silos. Rubio’s tax plan is a breathtaking piece of fiscal irresponsibility. One of these guys is going to become the GOP nominee, probably Cruz or Rubio. Fortunately for the nation Hillary shouldn’t have too much trouble with any of these goons.

      Reply
    2. clark surratt

      I think there is some merit to having loose cannons spewing over-the-top stuff in political campaigns. It forces all of us to openly confront some issues we don’t feel comfortable with. Is there some kind of political etiquette that says no candidate should dominate discussions for president?

      Reply
  2. Bryan Caskey

    If Trump has the most delegates going into the convention, and the GOP pulls some sort of move to make someone else the nominee, that will kill the GOP.

    If you’re on team “Burn down the GOP”, something like this would be the match. It would be the GOP basically saying “screw it” to the will of the voters. It would be suicide for the GOP.

    Reply
    1. Norm Ivey

      I wonder if it would. It seems to me that the Trump/Cruz wing would have to abandon the GOP, leaving the GOP in the enviable position of being able to tack to the left with a more moderate candidate and pull some independents that might be looking for such an alternative to Hillary. Seems like a good year to happen.

      Reply
    2. Brad Warthen

      A slight amendment to what Bryan said:

      If Trump has the most delegates going into the convention, and the GOP doesn’t pull some sort of move to make someone else the nominee, that will kill the GOP.

      Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        This is a critical, dangerous moment for the party. In the interests of building a big tent, it has let in extremists who are dragging it down and possibly — if Trump goes independent — breaking it apart.

        Bud mentions Sarah Palin. The moment it first became evident that the GOP was careening over the edge wasn’t when she was the VP nominee. It was a year or so later, when it became evident that rather than regarding her as an unfortunate, embarrassing mistake best forgotten, (many) Republicans were bowing before her as a star, much embraced, even though she was coming across as dumber and more extreme than she ever appeared while on the national ticket.

        That was the run-up to the 2010 election, which brought us all sorts of abominations in the Tea Party sweep. The one that sums it up for me: Bob Inglis, one of the most principled, deeply conservative people I know, being swept out of office in favor of Trey Gowdy. Of course, we also lost John Spratt — replaced by Mick Mulvaney, Freedom Caucus stalwart. But that’s not as startling as the replacement of real conservatives with extremists in the GOP.

        And now Trump, a guy who as recently as 2012 was laughed off the stage.

        Accept him as nominee or enrage the base by picking someone else at the convention, the party is in a terrible fix.

        The ONLY way the GOP has a chance against Hillary Clinton is if Trump’s support starts evaporating when the real voting begins in primaries and caucuses. If we get to the convention and he has the lion’s share of delegates, the party is toast.

        Reply
        1. Mark Stewart

          The perverse thing about the GOP big tent strategy is that it concentrates all the crazies in one party.

          Do we have Lee Atwater to thank for this? Or can we continue to malign him for the political degenerate that he was? Because it is absolute political degeneracy to have Trump even in the race at this point.

          I saw three Trump bumper stickers on I-20 today; it’s both shocking and disheartening.

          Reply
          1. Kathryn Fenner

            There’s a nice looking house on Banks Mill Road in Aiken that has Trump, Carson and Cruz signs out front. Not gonna knock on their door!

            Reply
          2. Brad Warthen Post author

            Not ALL the crazies — there are some loose screws on the left as well. And not even all of us independents are everything we should be…

            I think maybe Trump has just started giving out stickers or something. The last few days, I saw my first Trump sticker, and a couple of people have mentioned seeing them as though for the first time.

            Or maybe he just gave out a new batch, or something…

            Reply
          3. Arklatexan

            Blame New Gingrich. Back-then Speaker Gingrich welcomed the evangelicals with open arms and empty promises about “family values” in an attempt to defeat President Clinton’s re-election. In an attempt to defeat the black guy, the GOP has courted every extremist on the right side of the aisle. Good luck with that.

            Reply
        2. Kathryn Fenner

          Yes, the doubling down part is what really concerns me. Studies repeatedly show that when you show someone factual evidence countering their beliefs, they actually believe the erroneous things more strongly. I think that is being shown in the Trump and Carson polls: the wronger the statement, the more popular.

          Reply
  3. Norm Ivey

    David Brooks discussed this last week, and he references Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight. Read both blogs. They will reassure you. Unless, of course, you are a Trump supporter.

    Essentially it comes down to Trump is getting 30 percent of the 25 percent that self-identify as Republican-ish (7-8% of the total electorate), and as much as 80% of Republicans aren’t really paying enough attention to have made up their mind (based on Google search data). Once voters get serious the polls will begin to shift.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen

      I read that. You know what threw me? The fact that Brooks even momentarily liked the pink rug. I’ve tried to picture an appealing pink rug, and I can’t.

      I like a rug with dark, rich colors — dark greens, golds and reds. I mean, when I think about rugs, which I admit isn’t all that often…

      Reply
      1. Bryan Caskey

        Things I know for sure about David Brooks:

        1. His initial instinct is to like pink rugs.
        2. He’s really impressed with creases on men’s trousers.

        Reply
              1. Bryan Caskey

                It’s been a thing for a long time.

                In the spring of 2005, New York Times columnist David Brooks arrived at then-Senator Barack Obama’s office for a chat. Brooks, a conservative writer who joined the Times in 2003 from The Weekly Standard, had never met Obama before. But, as they chewed over the finer points of Edmund Burke, it didn’t take long for the two men to click. “I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging,” Brooks recently told me, “but usually when I talk to senators, while they may know a policy area better than me, they generally don’t know political philosophy better than me. I got the sense he knew both better than me.”

                That first encounter is still vivid in Brooks’s mind. “I remember distinctly an image of–we were sitting on his couches, and I was looking at his pant leg and his perfectly creased pant,” Brooks says, “and I’m thinking, a) he’s going to be president and b) he’ll be a very good president.” In the fall of 2006, two days after Obama’s The Audacity of Hope hit bookstores, Brooks published a glowing Times column. The headline was “Run, Barack, Run.”

                Reply
                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  I can identify with this, too: “I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging,” Brooks recently told me, “but usually when I talk to senators, while they may know a policy area better than me, they generally don’t know political philosophy better than me. I got the sense he knew both better than me.”

                  It sounds horribly arrogant, but it truly is rare for a journalist who’s good at his job and has been at it awhile to meet a politician and think, “This guy’s as smart as (or smarter than) I am on this stuff.”

                  A number of times in editorial meetings with people who were advocating for some policy or other, our guests would be impressed that we understood the issue better than most people they talked to. On one occasion, one of these folks said, “You understand this better than the lawmakers we’ve talked to.” Can’t remember whether I said it out loud, but all I could think was, “I certainly HOPE so.” Because, you know, I had had occasion to talk to a lot of lawmakers.

                  But yeah, Obama is one of those people whom you meet and think, “THIS guy might know this stuff better than I do.” He was impressive.

                  I don’t remember noticing his creases. I DO remember shaking hands with him. I think he may have had the LONGEST hands I ever shook — very slender, with really long fingers. Like shaking hands with E.T. or something. Odd thing to notice about somebody, but it did strike me.

                  I did not write about that observation…

                2. Brad Warthen Post author

                  OK, I went and read the piece, and truly, I see the Obama I now know in that column.

                  I think I know what you’re thinking of. Many conservatives believe he is a deliberately polarizing figure who doesn’t try to get along with his opposition but prefers to demonize them.

                  So many conservatives have said that so many times, and sometimes they seem bitter about it, as though even THEY had been up for a little hope and change, but didn’t get it (although more often they never believed in the hope and change, and are therefore scornful now as they were scornful then).

                  And I’ve tried to see what they see, but haven’t seen it. Maybe it’s something that occurs in private conversations with his opponents, this supposed lack of the desire to work together. But I haven’t seen him going out of his way to push people away from him. I just haven’t seen it.

                  Is he didactic, distant, with a tendency to lecture? Yes, but that’s consistent with the Obama Brooks saw and described, I think…

                3. Kathryn Fenner

                  Brad, political skills are vastly different from journalistic skills. For one, politicians have to be able to fake people skills….

              2. Brad Warthen Post author

                I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: There’s no riskier thing a journalist can do than praise a public figure. Nothing brings us greater derision or causes us more pain. It’s much easier to take flak from a figure’s admirers when you are critical of him. Water off a duck’s back. Goes with the territory of being a hard-nosed, clear-eyed observer. Mark of pride, even.

                But to PRAISE a public figure — well, we never hear the end of that, and it’s the kind of derision that is most painful to a journalist’s pride and self-esteem.

                Knowing that, it really takes guts to step out and say, “This guy’s impressive.”

                Reply
                1. Assistant

                  Can you cite any instance where Obama compromised with his true enemy, the Republicans? Obama’s ‘tude is such that the current Speaker of the House seeks to avoid any and all controversial issues in deference to the President because Obama is so ideologically driven that he cannot compromise. ObamaCare was passed without GOP support, as was the likely unconstitutional Dodd-Frank bill establishing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

                  Have you perhaps forgotten how the Left and the media (okay, I’m being redundant) celebrated Obama’s treatment of Paul Ryan’s proposal to attack the nation’s debt problem? The Bamster had Ryan seated at the very front of the audience, then administered a scathing dismissal of Ryan’s plan, knowing that Ryan would not be able to respond in such a situation.

                  The government shutdowns were arguably as much Obama’s fault, but the GOP faced not only the administration’s charges, but got no fair hearing in the media. Okay, I understand the GOP’s poor messaging, but the media was complicit in overlooking the extreme punitive measures the administration took during the shutdown.

                2. Kathryn Fenner

                  Obama compromised on the Affordable Care Act in soooo many ways, the first and biggest of which was not making it single-payer.

  4. David Carlton

    This has been coming a long time, and it basically has to do with a faustian bargain the Republican made in the aftermath of the civil rights era. There has always been an ethnocultural component to partisan allegiance in this country. It was especially strong in the mid-to-late nineteenth century, when Democrats fused white southerners with immigrants and Republicans were predominantly native-born (and nativist) white protestants. If you were Irish Catholic in Chicago, say, you’d live in a world of Democratic epistemic closure; all your family and neighbors were Democrats, your priest was a Democrat, your tavern-keeper was a Democrat, your newspaper was Democratic, etc. etc. The party was a tribal identity rather than a choice based on issues–or rather the issues that mattered were tribal (prohibition, the King James Bible in the public schools, anti-Catholic discrimination, corrupt Irish machine politics, etc.). There were few “swing voters”; partisan allegiances, reinforced by tribal bonds, were remarkably stable. The South, of course, had its own brand of ethnocultural politics; the Democrats were the party of white supremacy, and regularly whipped voters to the polls with warnings that if they didn’t show the Dark Days of Reconstruction would return and their wives and daughters would be unsafe. This persisted even after disfranchisement rendered the region effectively one-party.

    This system, as delineated at great length by V. O. Key in the late 1940s, fell apart in the 1950s and 1960s, and for a time it looked like its replacement would be a more “rational” party system built around issues like the role of government in economic and social development. But, with black southerners moving overwhelmingly into the Democratic Party, the Republicans made a bet on a new ethnocultural politics. It wasn’t a racial appeal pure and simple, whatever a lot of my fellow lefties seem to think. It had to do with identifying Republicanism with the sort of white southern ethnic identity so well explored by my old friend John Shelton Reed–evangelical piety, Confederate symbols, NASCAR. And it worked; most white South Carolinians today, I dare say, regard voting Democratic as something that people like them just don’t do; they don’t know anyone who votes that way, or knows that members of suspect groups (like us college professors) do. But the Republican Party wasn’t supposed to be a tribal party, but a conservative one, devoted to small-government alternatives. Tribalism was but a means to the end of getting a reliable constituency for a small-government, free-market, business-friendly agenda.

    What we now see, though, is that the tribal tail is wagging the small-government, free-market dog. A Republican candidate for president proposing to ban Saudi oilmen from making business trips to Houston? The Kochs must be having heart attacks; we know what the former head of Halliburton thinks. The core of Trump’s appeal is a blatant use of big government to promise fixes to the world that so threatens the white working-class recruits to the businessman’s party. That his hyper-nationalism would produce chaos in an interdependent world matters not a bit to the New Republicans. The schadenfreude on my end of the spectrum would be delightful if the situation weren’t so dangerous.

    Reply
  5. bud

    The GOP will almost certainly retain control of the House. Hillary will probably become POTUS. I’m betting the Senate will be within a seat or two of breaking even. So we end up with divided government. Would that be so bad? Most of the Reagan, Clinton and Obama presidencies were divided. Reagan worked with Tip O’Neill and the economy grew rapidly for the last 5 years of his presidency. The Clinton era saw the largest increase in both job growth and stock market value in the nation’s history. During th Obama years, since the recession ended we’ve had positive job growth for a record number of months in a row. Slow though it’s been, the current recovery is on it’s way to a record duration with a 70% drop in the annual budget deficit. Plus we enjoy low interest rates, inflation and record low gasoline prices.

    Let’s remember the last time one party controlled all 3 branches. That occurred through most of the Bush Jr. presidency. That was a time of great angst and a failing economy. So rather than wringing our hands at the prospect of more divided government maybe we should celebrate the prospect.

    Reply
  6. Assistant

    Iowa and New Hampshire will prove whether Trump’s influence is ephemeral or substantial. Some pollsters and wise guys wonder if his supporters will show up for the caucus or the primary vote.

    I’ve no good guess as to what’s going to happen. All I know is that he’s struck a chord and thinks that jumbo shrimp are what the public really, really wants. I do too. With cocktail sauce that’s got a tad extra horseradish. Fabulous!

    Reply
    1. Doug Ross

      Trump is a media creation. If he wasn’t, why would they have commercial breaks during debates? Why would they track ratings of shows on which he appears or is discussed? If you don’t like Trump, ignore him. That’s the best defense.

      Reply

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