It continues to amaze that anyone — especially experienced reporters in the mainstream news media — would ever report on or in any way take seriously the “polls” conducted by the Pope-Civitas Institute.
This week, the Pope-Civitas people reported that their latest “flash poll” showed Donald Trump leading Hillary Clinton in North Carolina by a margin of 46% to 42%. This was despite the fact that essentially every other national pollster found the presidential race tilting dramatically in Clinton’s favor after the conclusion of the national party conventions and in the light of Trump’s ongoing conflict with the family of Muslim U.S. Army captain killed in Iraq.
But what really demonstrates the degree to which the Pope-Civitas numbers simply make no sense is found in the “cross-tabs” — i.e. the details of the poll in which the numbers are broken down by gender, race, party, etc….
According to Pope-Civitas, Trump is supported by almost one-third of black voters in North Carolina — 32%. This is a ridiculously outlying number.
As Slate.com reported last night, the latest McClatchy/Marist national poll finds that Trump’s support among black voters is 2%. The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds his support at 1%. Heck, even Fox News finds Trump’s national black support at only 4%. In 2004, George W. Bush polled 11% of black voters nationally.
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll from early-July found Trump trailing Clinton in North Carolina among black voters by a margin of 82% to 4%.
The Pope-Civitas number is, simply put, ridiculous.
One interesting wrinkle to the transparent Pope-Civitas effort to bolster Trump is this: It is happening without the support (publicly anyway) of the group’s chief patron, conservative financier Art Pope. Though the Pope-Civitas group continues to feature articles that place Trump in a favorable light and savagely attack Clinton (see here and here), Pope himself has repeated derided Trump. Time magazine reported earlier this week that Pope compared Trump to George Wallace at the most recent Koch Brothers confab. Meanwhile, Pope’s chief assistant and former John Locke Foundation boss John Hood has called Trump “completely unqualified to be commander-in-chief” and “a contemptible human being.”
The bottom line: Polling is a complex and imperfect science and all of them need to be taken with a grain of salt. That said, the Pope-Civitas people have clearly demonstrated themselves to be hopelessly partisan and undeserving of any attention in the 2016 election. Let’s hope the mainstream news media catches on.