- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 25, 2020

President Trump has many friends in the evangelical community. There is faith elsewhere, however. Some of Mr. Trump’s biggest fans are devout Catholics, while his support in the greater Catholic community is also on a steady rise, says a new and succinct voter poll.

Here are the numbers: About two-thirds of devout Catholics — 63% — approve of Mr. Trump’s job performance, while 59% say they are “sure” to vote for the president. Another 62% of devout Catholics say the nation is headed in the right direction, while two-thirds think the country is better off financially than it was four years ago. An enthusiastic 78% say they are personally better off financially in that time period, while 7 out of 10 approve Mr. Trump’s pro-life policies.

Wait, there’s more, and from a distinct demographic: 52% of devout Hispanics say they are sure to vote for the president. Another 58% think the nation is headed in the right direction, while 77% think they are personally better off financially.

These findings come from a new poll from EWTN — the Catholic broadcaster and news agency — and Real Clear Politics. The survey also had promising news among all Catholic voters: 47% now approve of the president, while a near majority say there’s a good chance they would vote to reelect Mr. Trump.

He still trails his Democratic rivals among all Catholic voters in hypothetical match-ups at moment, but his overall favorability “has picked up several points” in the last three months, the poll said.



“Central to the president remaining within striking distance of his rivals are the strong economy — including 58% of Catholics who think the country is better off financially than it was 4 years ago and 63% of Catholics who think they are personally better off financially than they were 4 years ago.”

Find more numbers in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.

THE DAWN OF CPAC

The four-day Conservative Political Action Conference — CPAC — opens Wednesday afternoon with a welcome from the inimitable, cheerful Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, the host organization. It closes Saturday with an appearance by President Trump, who will have this enthusiastic audience on its feet within seconds.

And who is this audience and what is CPAC? Here’s some official background:

“The Conservative Political Action Conference is the largest and most influential gathering of conservatives in the world. Launched in 1974, CPAC brings together hundreds of conservative organizations, thousands of activists, millions of viewers and the best and brightest leaders in the world,” the organizers say.

“Over 19,000 people attended CPAC 2019, some of whom had not missed a single conference since Ronald Reagan gave the first CPAC keynote speech in 1974. Yet each CPAC is fresh and unique, with 60% of attendees experiencing the conference for the first time, half of whom are college aged and younger.”

BERNIE BATTENS DOWN THE HATCHES

Democratic presidential hopeful Michael R. Bloomberg already has spent $418 million on his campaign, and plans to spend much more launching a “media onslaught” on Sen. Bernard Sanders, now leading the Democratic field in voter approval. The Vermont independent and democratic socialist calls this “a serious threat” to his campaign — and he is pushing back.

“We knew this was coming. Now it’s here. So we need to be ready. That’s why we’re announcing a huge goal of 500,000 donations by Saturday’s Federal Election Commission fundraising deadline. Lots of donations is the only way we’re funding this campaign,” Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir says in a new outreach to fans.

He is asking for a donation of $2.70 from each of Mr. Sanders supporters.

“We must be prepared to take on the big money that Bloomberg and our opponents are pouring into this race. The outcome of this election will not be decided by a self-funded billionaire like Mike Bloomberg. It will be decided by all of us coming together to build the largest grassroots movement this country has ever seen,” Mr. Shakir declares.

BIG TEN MONEY

The political leanings at major universities clearly favor Democratic presidential hopefuls. Nearly 99% of contributions from employees at Big Ten universities go to Democrats, according to an analysis by College Fix, a right-leaning education news site. Of note: These schools are located in critical battleground states such as Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan.

“Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren together collected over 60% of the nearly $1.2 million donated to presidential candidates by employees of Big Ten Conference schools since 2018,” the analysis reports.

“According to data from the Federal Election Commission, Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, led the 2020 presidential field among Big Ten donors, bringing in $383,000, or 32.2% of all conference contributions. Warren finished a close second, collecting $336,000, or 28.2% of all contributions,” the research said.

Democrats Pete Buttigieg received $20,641, or 20.3%, while Joseph R. Biden brought in $6,144, or 6.5%. And the incumbent? President Trump collected $16,000 from the schools, which is 1.4% of total contributions.

The University of Michigan was the most politically active school, based on contributions, with its employees donating $163,000. The University of Minnesota was ranked second with $140,000, followed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison with $127,000. The least politically active campus as measured by campaign contributions was the University of Nebraska, whose employees contributed a total of $19,500.

POLL DU JOUR

• 84% of registered Catholic voters are “closely following” national politics.

• 83% will definitely vote in the presidential election; 10% will probably vote.

• 47% approve of President Trump’s job performance.

• 46% are sure or say there is “a good chance” they will vote for Mr. Trump; 8% say it is “possible” he has their vote.

• 45% say they are Democrats, 34% are Republicans and 20% are independents.

Source: An EWTN/Real Clear Politics poll of 1,521 U.S. Catholic registered voters conducted Jan. 28-Feb. 4 and released Tuesday.

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