The bottom is falling out of Donald Trump’s poll numbers. In just the last week, Hillary Clinton hit 50 percent (or more) in some polling, and she leads by double digits in the last four major national polls—Monmouth, CBS News, NBC Survey Monkey, and Public Policy Polling. It’s still early, but there are other signs that Trump may be fading. On Monday, 50 top GOP security officials signed a letter saying they won’t vote for Trump, and Maine Senator Susan Collins became the sixth Republican senator to say she won’t vote for Trump (or Hillary Clinton either, to be clear).
But within Trump Nation, their hero stands tall. Trump has constructed a parallel universe of faux facts—maybe better called lies—that are now dogma for his voters. He began his rise to national political fame by claiming that President Obama wasn’t born in this country and thus was ineligible to be president, and could be a Muslim to boot; now two-thirds of his supporters think the president is Muslim and more than half say he wasn’t born here.
Those aren’t the only Trump lies that have become gospel to his people. A PPP national poll completed after both parties’ conventions ended found that 74 percent of Trump voters think Clinton should go to jail, while two-thirds say she is a bigger threat to the United States than Vladimir Putin.
A more recent PPP poll that just found Trump trailing Clinton by 2 points in North Carolina—her first lead there—also examined the extent to which Trump voters believe the tales he’s concocting on the trail. It is alarming: Sixty-nine percent of Trump’s North Carolina voters say that if Clinton wins, that means the election was rigged (only 16 percent believe it would be because she got the most votes.) Forty percent think ACORN—which no longer exists—will steal the election for the Democrats.
Almost half blame President Obama and Clinton for the 2004 death of Capt. Humayan Khan in Iraq, even though Obama was an Illinois state senator at the time. Likewise, 47 percent believe they saw a video Trump claimed showed Iran collecting $400 million from the United States, even after Trump admitted the video didn’t exist. And after Trump called Clinton “the devil” last week, 41 percent agree she is, in fact, the devil. But here’s some good news, 42 percent actually disagree (17 percent just aren’t sure).
“What Trump has revealed is that there are parts of the Republican base that are not connected to the mainstream of the Republican Party, and those folks seem susceptible and receptive to conspiracy theories,” Mark Fenster, author of Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture, recently told Bloomberg’s Sahil Kapur.