THE ‘BIRTHER’ QUES­TION GETS REBORN

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY JEN­NIFER HARPER

In another era, Don­ald Trump pur­sued the ques­tion of Pres­i­dent Obama’s cit­i­zen­ship with gusto, won­der­ing if the na­tion’s pri­mary leader had been born in the United States — or else­where. Repub­li­cans, ap­par­ently, are still won­der­ing. A wide-rang­ing new sur­vey of GOP vot­ers by Public Pol­icy Polling finds that a mere 29 per­cent of them be­lieve Mr. Obama was born on these shores; 44 per­cent say he was born some­place else, and 26 per­cent are not sure what to think. Another 54 per­cent of the Repub­li­cans say Mr. Obama is a Mus­lim; 14 per­cent say he is Chris­tian, and 32 per­cent are not sure about his faith. Things are more in­tense among re­spon­dents who are fans of Mr. Trump, Repub­li­can hope­ful: 21 per­cent say Mr. Obama was born in the U.S., while two thirds say he’s a Mus­lim.

That’s what’s out there. It’s in­ter­est­ing to note that the poll­ster chose to give an ex­clu­sive ad­vance look at the sur­vey re­sults to MSNBC’s Rachel Mad­dow, pre­sum­ably for com­men­tary fod­der. Yes, well. “Repub­li­cans have no freak­ing idea what they’re talk­ing about,” Ms. Mad­dow noted in her on-cam­era anal­y­sis.

The poll also re­veals that Mr. Trump con­tin­ues to lead the GOP pres­i­den­tial field with 29 per­cent of the sup­port, fol­lowed by a dis­tant Ben Car­son with 15 per­cent and ev­ery­one else clam­or­ing for at­ten­tion with 10 per­cent of the sup­port and un­der. There are more num­bers from the sur­vey re­flect­ing the Repub­li­can mind­set in the Poll du Jour at col­umn’s end.

Mean­while, Mr. Trump con­tin­ues to draw at­ten­tion from in­trigued re­searchers tout­ing “the science” of Mr. Trump’s per­sis­tent ap­peal. A new Bloomberg Pol­i­tics anal­y­sis re­veals his abil­ity to “tell it like it is” re­mains the big­gest draw, fol­lowed by the bil­lion­aire’s in­de­pen­dent out­sider sta­tus, and the feel­ing that “he’ll do what he says he’ll do.”

Late-night Amer­ica also calls: Mr. Trump ap­pears an NBC’s “Tonight Show” this week. Though the net­work and Mr. Trump have feuded this year, they are mak­ing up long enough to take a jab, say some an­a­lysts, at the newly rein­vented CBS “Late Night with Stephen Col­bert. It de­buts with Jeb Bush as the very first guest, fol­lowed by Vice Pres­i­dent and po­ten­tial pres­i­den­tial hope­ful Joe Bi­den. pol­icy is­sues, and that Mr. Obama is go­ing to en­dorse Mrs. Clin­ton in her quest for the White House.

A new Ras­mussen Re­ports sur­vey finds that 58 per­cent of vot­ers say the pair still agree on pol­icy, which is ac­tu­ally up by 6 per­cent­age points since last year. Another 68 per­cent think the pres­i­dent will en­dorse Mrs. Clin­ton over her ri­vals for the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion. Among likely Demo­cratic vot­ers alone, the num­ber is 74 per­cent. and Repub­li­can hope­fuls Don­ald Trump and Jeb Bush in the sin­gle word of their choice — and their choices were less than ster­ling. The words were ranked into the top 50 words for each can­di­date by how many times they were cited. Here are the top-25 words for each one:

Mrs. Clin­ton: Liar, dis­hon­est, un­trust­wor­thy, ex­pe­ri­ence, strong, Bill, woman, smart, crook, un­truth­ful, crim­i­nal, de­ceit­ful, Demo­crat, in­tel­li­gent, email, politi­cians, Beng­hazi, cor­rupt, crooked, ca­pa­ble, de­ter­mined, good, leader, mur­der, qual­i­fied.

Mr. Trump: Ar­ro­gant, blowhard, idiot, busi­ness­man, clown, hon­est, ego, money, out­spo­ken, crazy, rich, show­man, strong, [ex­ple­tive], joke, loud, leader, pompous, bom­bas­tic, ego­ma­niac, loud­mouth, racist, big-mouth, ag­gres­sive, buf­foon.

Mr. Bush: Bush, fam­ily, hon­est, weak, brother, dy­nasty, ex­pe­ri­ence, Ge­orge, Florida, politi­cian, Repub­li­can, mod­er­ate, gover­nor, es­tab­lish­ment, con­ser­va­tive, fa­ther, legacy, nice, trust­wor­thy, de­cent, bor­ing, com­pe­tent, ed­u­ca­tion, fa­vor­able, nepo­tism.

“We’ve asked vot­ers this ques­tion pe­ri­od­i­cally, and I’ve never seen words that are so se­verely crit­i­cal,” as­sis­tant polling di­rec­tor Tim Mal­loy tells In­side the Belt­way. “The vot­ers have taken their gloves off. No one is re­strained, and they say what they want. We are def­i­nitely in a new world of so­cial media where ev­ery­one has an opin­ion, and ev­ery­one has their own form of an ed­i­to­rial page. All they need is a smart phone.”

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