But when USA Today’s David Mastio looked into the same polling data, he found that you could just as easily accuse everyone — including Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters — of being racist, because the data had been sliced so finely.
In fact, when Mastio started cutting the results the same way Vavreck had done, he found such fun “facts” as:
– Almost a third of African Americans either opposed Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation or “were not sure what they thought.”
– 15% of Hispanics opposed it, and a quarter said they weren’t sure.
– Almost a third of African Americans backed FDR’s decision to round up Japanese- Americans and put them in internment camps during World War II.
After Mastio pointed these ludicrous findings out, Vavreck grudgingly expanded her analysis to compare both Republican and Democratic supporters on these tolerance measures — something that she didn’t bother to do initially.
“Breaking down the results of a poll of 2,000 people’s views into little bits based on a few hundred answers is dangerous business,” he wrote. “Maybe, just maybe, when you dig down into the tiny details of a poorly-designed online poll, the ‘facts’ you find tell you exactly bupkus.”
But, because the Trump’s-supporters-are-racist finding neatly fit into a liberal narrative about conservatives generally, that sort of basic journalistic caution when dealing with data went flying out the window.
Kudos to Mastio for calling the mainstream press out on this rather blatant dereliction of duty.