When Donald Trump referred to Hillary Clinton as "the devil" during a recent speech in Pennsylvania, most people likely wrote it off as a typically Trump-ian piece of bombast.
"He made a deal with the devil," Trump exclaimed, describing Vermont senator Bernie Sanders' decision to endorse Clinton. "She's the devil."
Inappropriate? Yup. Offensive? Totally. But a literal, Satanic invocation? Probably not.
According to new data from Public Policy Polling, however, many Trump supporters in North Carolina don't see his devilish remarks as merely Satanic snark. Instead, an alarmingly high number of pro-Trump respondents seem to agree: Hillary Clinton is the actual devil.
Per PPP, from their latest Tar Heel state poll:
Trump said last week that Hillary Clinton is the devil, and 41% of Trump voters say they think she is indeed the devil to 42% who disagree with that sentiment and 17% who aren't sure one way or the other.
Yes, among North Carolinian Trump-ists, nearly as many people think Hillary Clinton is the actual devil as don't. And there's still 17% who haven't made up their poor, impressionable minds. Hoo boy.
Of course, as the chart above shows, the broader data is a little less, erm, biblical. When the scope is expanded beyond just Trump supporters, only 19% believe that Clinton is the devil, compared to 68% who don't.
Beyond offering a snapshot into the current state of the Presidential election in North Carolina, this latest poll seems to point to the degree to which Trump supporters buy into their candidate's conspiracy theories and insinuations. As PPP points out:
69% of Trump voters think that if Hillary Clinton wins the election it will be because it was rigged, to only 16% who think it would be because she got more vote than Trump. More specifically 40% of Trump voters think that ACORN (which hasn't existed in years) will steal the election for Clinton. That shows the long staying power of GOP conspiracy theories.
In other words, while the broader electorate may balk at Trump's oftentimes baseless pontifications, his supporters tend to internalize them to a remarkably high degree.
Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, has retaken the lead in North Carolina for the first time since March.