Maybe Trump Should Pray About His Problems With Religious Voters?

Oh hai there! This is just a note to let readers know that I am still alive, and Donald Trump’s campaign…is not.

We can prove it with numbers, religious ones even! Item one: Jewish voters think Trump is a nudnik.

A new survey by Democratic pollster Jim Gerstein, published today in Jewish Insider, testing Jewish voters in Florida, showed Hillary Clinton at 66 percent support, against Trump with only 23 percent. (The only group favoring Trump is the small subsample of Orthodox Jews, who pick him 66 percent to 22 percent for Clinton—while the overwhelming majority of non-Orthodox are with her, 72 percent to 22 percent.)

Furthermore, the candidates’ personal favorability ratings present an astounding contrast: Clinton is at 57 percent favorable, to only 33 percent unfavorable; Trump is at only 21 percent favorability, against an overwhelming 71 percent unfavorable.

As the New Republic points out, every cycle Republicans make noise about taking the Jewish vote based on superior allegiance to Israel or something. Then somebody like Michele Bachmann comes out and all but pledges to make Benjamin Netanyahu Secretary of State, and then somebody like Trump emerges like a fetid swamp dream from the primordial ooze, and the Jewish vote, such as it is, says “You know what? We’re good. Maybe in a little while.” It’s always like this, but this year is particularly bad. Jews, like members of all the other religious minorities, recognize a bad bet for religious freedom when they see one. They see how Trump treats Muslims, Mormons, and Hispanics, and they know his commitment to them is thinner than his actual hair.

Anyway, you might say it’s only one state, but it’s also the one state with a sizable Jewish population and an uncertain outcome. There’s no way Trump is winning in New York or New Jersey, and if he doesn’t take the Jewish vote in Florida, his only other option is to peel off enough Hispanics to build a winning coalition with Florida’s Old South types and are you even listening to how silly this is? It’s not happening. America’s Problem Child isn’t winning Jews, he’s doing his level best to piss off every Hispanic in the Sunshine State, and there just aren’t enough working-class whites to save him. He’s in real trouble.

Actually, saying Trump’s in real trouble is wildly understating the case, but the RD editors expect a minimal dignity, so I really can’t put things as bluntly as I should. Here’s why (item two): Trump is stinking up the joint with Catholics, losing to Hillary Clinton by 23 points (55-32) or 27 (61-34), depending on which recent poll you go by.

Given that Obama won Catholics just 50-48 against Mitt Romney in 2012, this is jaw-dropping. Don’t give me any nonsense about unskewing the polls. There’s no skewing a margin that large. Trump’s losing one-quarter of the voting population, badly. And since Catholics are typically some of the best mirrors of the overall vote (that is, their totals are usually very close to the overall tally), this could spell big, big, trouble. I very much doubt Clinton will pull down 61% of the vote, but yikes. If you’re a Republican, that’s a scary number.

You might reasonably intuit Trump’s miserable numbers with Catholic voters are the result of his poor showing with Hispanic voters, or stem from his “virulent” immigration policy. Certainly, getting scolded by Pope Francis or the likes of Cardinal Dolan (himself no left-winger) doesn’t help.

But in fact, it’s white Catholics who have turned against Trump. He’s really not doing much worse with Spanish-speaking Catholics than Romney did, and it’s just not a big enough demographic to explain this kind of shift. No, it’s the whites who are shifting. Romney won white Catholics by 19 points; Trump’s losing them by 3.

Why? Damned if I know. The Francis effect doesn’t seem strong enough, and I somewhat doubt the church’s position on immigration has filtered down enough to make such a difference. Perhaps I’m wrong about that. A sillier suggestion was that white ethnic Catholics in places like Pennsylvania or Ohio don’t care for Trump’s dealings with Putin. That’s a thesis in need of some data, suffice it to say. Could be economics, though Catholics are hardly a monolith on that front.

That leaves for obvious explanations only one, which I’m reluctant to endorse: white Catholics just didn’t like the black guy in the White House. Unfortunately for Trump, even if that’s true, it seems like there’s only one thing they like less: him.

You might want to fire up the shock paddles. And if he’s down by double digits among Ma and Pa Kelly at the start of October, get ready to notify the next of kin. It’s going to be a blowout of epic proportions.