Though a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that 57% of Americans disagree with Donald Trump’s plan to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States, NBC’s Chuck Todd conceded on Friday that “these numbers could be a little bit higher in favor of Trump.”
On Andrea Mitchell Reports, Todd said “there’s something else here” and though the NBC/Wall Street Journal pollsters “are not ready to say” why, there is a “surprisingly large undecided on this question, meaning it’s higher than 15 percent.” In the poll, 18% answered “no opinion/not sure” while 25% supported Trump’s position.
Todd said in a live-caller survey, one can only wonder on an issue that is so “very well-known” if “you are really undecided or do you not want to tell somebody that you are talking to on the phone.”
“You can’t help but ask that question,” Todd said, especially because online polling has found a higher percentage of Americans who support Trump’s temporary Muslim ban.
The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that a plurality of Republicans (42% to 36%) support Trump’s proposal. A Bloomberg Politics poll found that nearly “two-thirds of likely 2016 Republican primary voters favor Donald Trump’s call to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the U.S., while more than a third say it makes them more likely to vote for him.”
On Thursday’s MTP Daily, Fred Yang, a Democrat who is one of the NBC/Wall Street Journal pollsters, said he thought “there’s some of that” when Todd wondered if respondents were less likely to tell a pollster over the phone that they supported a temporary moratorium on Muslim immigration.
It is also worth noting the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll question misrepresented Trump’s position. The polling question asked, “Do you favor or oppose Donald Trump’s proposal to bar Muslims from entering the U.S.?” That leads the respondent to believe that Trump is proposing a permanent ban on Muslims when Trump explicitly stated that he was for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” Mainstream media networks conveniently have left out the “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on” part of Trump’s statement just like they claimed that Trump called all Mexicans rapists, drug dealers and criminals during his announcement speech when Trump was explicitly referring to illegal immigrants.
If the question accurately represented Trump’s position and asked respondents if they were for a temporary ban on Muslims, the numbers may have been higher in favor of Trump’s position. For instance, a Rasmussen Reports survey asked respondents this week, “Do you favor or oppose a temporary ban on all Muslims entering the United States until the federal government improves its ability to screen out potential terrorists from coming here.” And the Rasmussen poll found that 46% of Americans supported the temporary ban while 40% opposed and 14% were undecided.
Regardless, when someone who is so painstakingly cautious and runs things mind-numbingly by the book like Todd says on national television that “these numbers could be a bit higher in favor of Trump,” there definitely is something there.
According to NBC News, “the question on Trump’s Muslim proposal was asked Dec. 8-9 of 495 respondents, which has a margin of error of plus-minus 4.4 percentage points.”