Friday, February 12, 2010

Strange things that Democrats believe... 

... about Bush, Obama & the Anti-Christ, ghosts and reincarnation and UFOs.

A new poll purported by many to show that Republicans are loons recently was paid for and published by Daily Kos, of all web sites, if one can imagine such a thing! (With findings such as 24% think Obama wants the terrorists to win, 36% believe Obama wasn't born in the US, 23% think their state should secede from the Union, 76% consider abortion to be murder, etc.)

Maybe you've seen this. It's been picked up and bounced around the polito-blogosphere, and even mainstream media sites such as The Economist.

Now one might have some concern that a poll produced for a site as politically ... opinionated ... as Kos might be subject to some bias. But let's not dwell on a boring technical critique of it that points out its "disconcerting" departures from recognized best polling practices.

No... for the real bias is that there is no mention in any of this of what Democrats believe, as found by other polls. This in spite of the fact that such is very easy to find even with just a quick look around. For instance...
Democrats in America are evenly divided on the question of whether George W. Bush knew about the 9/11 terrorist attacks in advance. Thirty-five percent (35%) of Democrats believe he did know... 26% are not sure. [Rasmussen]
That's fully 61% of Democrats there, believing that or thinking it might be so.

On the lighter side...
The national poll ... shows that about a third of Americans believe in ghosts (34 percent) and an equal number in UFOs (34 percent), and about a quarter accept things like astrology (search) (29 percent), reincarnation (search) (25 percent) and witches (24 percent)...

Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say they believe in reincarnation (by 14 percentage points), in astrology (by 14 points), in ghosts (by eight points) and UFOs (by five points)...

Women are more likely than men to believe in almost all topics asked about in the poll, including 12 percentage points more likely to believe in miracles...

The one significant exception is UFOs, with 39 percent of men compared to 30 percent of women saying they accept the existence of unidentified flying objects...

An 86 percent majority of adults between the ages of 18 to 34 believe in hell, but that drops to 68 percent for those over age 70.
So Democrats are big on reincarnation, astrology and UFOs. (Don't be distracted by whether or not suffrage was a mistake, or seniors tend towards wishful thinking in their last years -- though those groups tend to vote Democratic too.)

Another poll finding the same 34% who believe in ghosts reported:
By 31% to 18%, more liberals than conservatives report seeing a specter.
Now if someone wanted to constructively make the true and important point that "it is a fundamental finding of political science and political economics that the entire electorate is stunningly ignorant and ill-informed, and prone to believe impossible things, on a mass scale", they could easily do so. All one need do is point to the many studies of the topic that document the fact, such as Bryan Caplan's recent book The Myth of the Rational Voter. ("The best political book of the year" -- NY Times)

That has truly significant implications for politics.

But to instead go all Kos-like slurring only Republicans as "either insane or mind-numbingly stupid" (as per Bruce Bartlett) is to be just as ignorant and irrational as the average voter -- and a lot more arrogantly self-righteous about it.

I mean, Kos is fooling us ... and who wants to be fooled to become an intellectual derivative of Kos?

Hey, how about this poll finding about Obama supporters?...
The big surprise here – the group of voters most likely to think Obama is the Anti-Christ are Hispanics, who solidly backed Obama in 2008. Only 58 percent of them say, for sure, that their president is not Satan come to wreak havoc here on earth.
What's worse: believing Obama is the Anti-Christ, or voting for the Anti-Christ because he is a Democrat? A two-fer!

Crazy Obama voters!

(Does Mr. Bartlett has the nerve to hurl insults at an ethnic group as he does at Republicans?)

OK ... now, let's get back to the possibility of there being some bias in the Kos poll findings themselves.

Consider the beliefs reported by Democrats above in impartial polls. Does anyone doubt for a moment that a partisan poll, produced and designed for a right-wing political web site as partisan as Kos's, would produce a result making Democrats look ridiculous?

Would intelligent people buy such a thing wholesale and deem it as a revelation about politics?

Note that among the concerns in the critique of the Kos poll linked to above is the wording of questions to bias results -- regarding which just a minor "error" can produce very major results.

Famously, some years back the New York Times and Los Angeles Times (among many other papers) reported in shocking Page One Headlines "Poll Finds 1 Out of 3 Americans Doubt There Was a Holocaust" (as the LA Times put it), breathlessly revealing the results of a poll taken for American Jewish Committee.

In the uproar that followed the poll was re-done with the wording corrected, and the number of doubters fell to 1%.

Do we all really have great faith in the effort Kos takes to avoid such errors, when they could only be at the cost of Republicans?

UPDATE:More strange things Democratic believe about: the states' right to secede from the Union ... blaming Jews for the finanical crisis ... ignorance that they control Congress.

When voters are so amazingly ignorant, do you want them controlling a big government or a small one?