Consider The 2010 Comprehensive Daily Kos/Research 2000 Poll of Self-Identified Republicans paid for by Daily Kos and conducted by Research 2000.
In reading these quite horrifying numbers, I think it's important to note that recent polls suggest that the ratio of self-identified Republicans is at a low ebb: maybe as low as 20%
So when you read that 63% of respondents think President Obama — who often looks like a Rockefeller Republican to me — is a socialist, that could be as low as 14% of the voting population as a whole.
But as Kos notes, these numbers matter because they set the tone for the obstructionism of the elected officials in the GOP — they have to survive primaries in which these folks are the ones most likely to vote.
So, a majority of the resondents either agreed with or were not sure about each of the following statetments:
- Obama was born abroad
- Obama 'wants the terrorists to win'
- Sarah Palin is more qualified to be President than Barack Obama
- ACORN stole the 2008 election
- Barack Obama is a racist who hates White people
Only a large minority, though, would go along with this:
Do you believe your state should secede from the United States
Not Sure 19
I’m more concerned with the seemingly sensible Republicans that apparently aren’t embarrassed enough by this to say anything about it.
Do the Orin Kerrs of the world really think that the Palin-lovers are both useful enough to ride to power but also not going to make demands?
I don’t find too much surprising in this, but the notion that GOP officeholders must cater to this is hogwash. Many have planted these concerns or furthered them.
Furthermore, I expect every elected official to be partisan to what’s best for the country. Not Party. Not even their own re-election. Their job is not just to represent, but to lead.
Sound too idealistic? In reality, it is their moral failure when they kowtow to bigotry, secessionism, and accusers calling the president a traitor.
The root problem isn’t partisanship or ignorance. It’s moral cowardice on the part of the elected officials. And there’s nothing idealistic nor naive to point out that ugly fact.
First off, you MUST know by now that of the people who actually bother to answer phone polls, are wingnuts on both sides are in the vast majority. Lots of very sensible people don’t give a rat’s ass about polls and so we don’t even bother to answer the phone. There’s no way I would spend 1 second of my time on the phone with some pollster wondering if I think Obama is un-American in some way. A wingnut, on the other hand, see such as an opportunity to get his message out again.
Additionally, we know nothing about this poll. “Comprehensive” is hardly a description that’s useful. If it’s like most “comprehensive” polls, it likely involves about 1000 self-selecting people that live in cities. There is no possible and honest way to extrapolate any of these polls out to the country at large. It just makes them MORE innaccurate when you aim for a particular group. (do we even know if he just polled 1000 people, THEN selected the Republicans out, or whether he asked on the phone if they were, then proceeded accordingly? That will swing the results hugely.)
Furthermore, the questions, if they are presented on KOS the way presented in the poll, are useless to tell you much.
“Do you think Barack Obama is a socialist?” What does that mean? Socialist HOW? Does it mean he has small socialist tendancies (like many Europeans) and a belief that at least some socialization of some aspects of American life would be best – yes, sure. I think he himself has been clear on that. Is he a socialist like the Soviets, Chi Coms or even Nazis? Of course not. So the imporatnt question is whether those “scary” numbers represent the reasonable end, the deep end, or somewhere in between. We don’t know, I doubt KOS knows, and I doubt KOS cares.
“Do you believe Barack Obama is a racist who hates White people?” Considering some of the stuff he has said (called his own Grandmother a “typical white person” and called her racist, for but ONE of a handful of examples of less than politically correct statement), I could see that SOME people could easily think he’s at least as “racist” as every non-racist white person who is labelled “racist” by one talking head or another just because they don’t support his policies. A lot of people get SICK of being called racist for being against Government healthcare, or Keynesianism – as if there’s any racism involved. Meanwhile, Robert Byrd is given a pass. Some of us might be inclined to toss it back at a pollster out of spite when asked. Do we know that didn’t play into these numbers here? Of course not.
“Do you believe your state should secede from the United States?” Secede is a loaded word. To some it is only aquaited with racist Southerners in 1860. To others it might simply express the DESIRE to keep the Fed Government OUT of States and regulating the entirety of citizens lives. Secession being a symbolic idea, or a Civil Liberty protest. How a person with very strong anti-Federal Government vews might answer this question when asked, is anyone’s guess, but not your assumption.
You can go through the entire useless poll that way. The meta data, if there is much, is just as important as the poll, if not more, if the poll is to have any more import that an Us Magazine poll on whether Reese Witherspoon or Kim Kardasian “wore it best.”
As a final thought, while it’s all good fun to look at them hick GOP’ers, ironically saying things like “modern-day conservatives share the same agenda as radical Jihadists in the Islamic world” in order to prove how much more loving and superior you are, it does well to remember that not all conservatives are GOP’ers (I’m not), not all Conservatives who aren’t GOP’ers, aren’t because they think the GOP isn’t right enough (not my belief) and not all Conservatives base any part of their belief on religion (I don’t – none of my conservative friends do). Not every conservative, who doesn’t carry a GOP card is a Libertarian or part of a tea-bag group. We don’t hate minorities, we don’t want to see slavery here again – AND we’d like it to STOP NOW in the Muslem world. And we aren’t all making bombs in our basement “to take back this country from the liberals.”
A HUGE number of us are fairly centrist and socially concerned conservatives who have never seen big government solve a damn thing in the history of Earth, short of building the pyramids, and don’t see it now. We’ve seen a couple of DECADES now of stalemate in a Congress that is more concerned with keeping its perks than taking a stand. (are you telling me that if the Dems REALLY wanted to do anything while they still had 60 votes, they couldn’t? Then how did Bush do whatever the hell he wanted for eight years with far less?). We’re sick of seeing politicians on both sides berate and belittle the other side. And we’re REALLY tired of seeing the President of the United States, a nation founded on bowing to NO ONE, bow to everyone he meets like some shamed schoolboy. Like when he bowed to the Mayor of Tampa last week.
We’d just like to see some people get their head in the game, learn a little from what has worked or not worked in the past, maybe come up with a few ideas that DON’T involve multiplying the deficit by 10, and maybe see a few folks take responsibility for where they are in life, instead of expecting Government to cater to their every lost desire. We’d like to see a Congress that cares more about making this country better, than what kind of cognac is on our private jets.
Vic, let’s assume you’re reporting Obama’s remarks about his Grandmother correctly. (I remember them being a bit softer than that, but let’s just assume you’re right.) How would that even provide a bit of evidence, let alone establish, that he’s a “racist who hates white people”? For one, wouldn’t we need to know whether his grandmother was in fact a “typical white person” of the time, and whether a “typical white person” of the time and place might have been a racist? I suppose this would be the early 70’s, and that it’s not unreasonable to think a “typical white person” of the time would have some racists feelings and beliefs. If that’s true or at least not unreasonable, then of course saying this couldn’t provide any evidence at all for the claim that Obama is a “racist who hates white people”. Even if he were mistaken, this would probably not provide any such evidence.
And the bowing thing? Well, there’s some reason to think that people are a bit off in their perception there, too:
It doesn’t MATTER whether Obama is a racist or not. That’s exactly my point. A whole bunch of conservatives are being called “racist” on a regular basis for no other reason really, than opposing Obama’s ideas (not HIM, his ideas). Is opposing Obama’s ideas racist? No. But the charge is levelled because these days it’s the social equivalent of calling someone a poopyhead – and about as mature.
SO MY POINT IS: A whole bunch of conservatives are being broadly painted with a “racist” brush – for saying nothing racist, while Obama, Reid, Bill Clinton, among many others, who say things that actually SOUND racist (likely not intended to be racist – but sure sounding that way), get a free pass.
Things like that tend to cheese people off. Lots of people, more than sick of being called a racist for no good reason, or afraid to speak out because they might be (the new Red Scare), might very well call Obama a racist, not because he IS one, but because they’re sick of the whole hypocritical deal.
I’m just saying that there are about a million ways in which this poll, like every simple poll, can be misread to mean exactly what you WANT it to mean. Making it effectively meaningless.
Or I suppose one could go around thinking they’ve got those crazy conservatives all figured out as wingnuts without a plan or clue. In which case, you can expect a lot more seats to fall to new Scott Browns in the fall.
Vic- when you use all caps I feel like you’re yelling at me. That doesn’t make for a very fun discussion.
As for the substance, what has Obama said that “sounds racist”? Even if he said that a typical white person in the time of his childhood was a racist (I think that’s not a plausible interpretation, but let’s leave that aside), how would that be racist? At worst it would be mistaken or misguided. I’d also suggest that thinking that anti-racism is a bigger problem than, say, racism might be a good guide as to people who don’t have a correct view on race.
I use caps for emphasis. If I could use italics instead, I would.
Racisim is not defined as solely saying something bad about a minority that is individually denigrating to them. It is also defined as painting any decernable group with a disfavorable trait as a whole – defining a group with a disfavored group trait.
If someone says “all black people are X” or “all white people are Y” or “he’s just acting like a typical black person” – That’s facially racism. (emphasis on the grouping) It may not be INTENDED by the speaker as racist, or come from a racist mindset, but it can be perceived as such, and thus should be avoided. Certainly by a President.
What Obama said on WIP radio: Quote via Huffington Post post at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/taylor-marsh/obama-grandmother-typical_b_92601.html
“… .. The point I was making was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity. She doesn’t. But she is a typical white person who, uh, if she sees somebody on the street that she doesn’t know there’s a reaction that’s been been bred into our experiences that don’t go away and that sometimes come out in the wrong way and that’s just the nature of race in our society. We have to break through it…” – Senator Barack Obama
What this statement does in paint all white people with the broad brush of racist behavior – which is itself racism. It does NOT make the statement MORE racist to change it to “But she is a typical black person who…” I think it’s clear that he didn’t mean it in the worst possible way, and he backed off of it when asked, but he should have been smart enough to realize that it was not approprite to say it.
But again, none if this is the point of what I originally said and I’m not dwelling on it any longer.
My post was about how obviously biased and pointless the poll was, and how nobody could seriously think it expresses anything meaningful. It’s just more media noise to distract the masses from having to do their own mental lifting.
Heck, I’m a liberal and sometimes I wish *my* state would secede from the Union. “Bear Flag Republic” has a certain ring to it, no?
A lot of us think the Bear Flag Republic should go ahead and secede already. 🙂
Seriously though, I think it’s just a little bit out of touch to think this “poll” is really anything but an expression of fear. Dems are afraid that Republicans and conservatives are going to come back strong – and every indication is that this is not an unjustified fear.
If you start with the premise that the far right (which includes many/most of the wingnuts on the right) will vote for ANYBODY as long as they are Republican (a fair assumption), then the only voters you can ever aim at swaying over to the Dem side is the Moderate Reps & Indie conservatives, such as myself.
One way to do that (if you think like a juvenile and think everyone else does too) is to point out the wacky wingnuts and say: Do you really want to be in bed with THEM?! And hope that those who can be swayed by this, will be. It has the side purpose of keeping Dem people who just might be attracted to sensible middle ground conservatives somewhat on the fence because of what their “constituants believe.”
That’s all this is. It’s just another manifestation of a fear of losing more power with each passing election. It’s largely ineffective against anyone who can think, but since many don’t, it sometimes works.
But to point to it and think it LEGITIMATELY shows how backwoods and silly Republican voters are, completely misses the point, and shows a good example of why Dems DO have something to fear from middle ground conservatives who don’t play these games and see them for what they are.
Sadly, this discussion, so potentially interesting, is apparently yet another drive-by by the moderator and will soon die a lonely death as it rolls off the page…
Heck, I’d complain about putting together the “Not sure” and “I believe X” categories, like it makes any sense to conflate an admission of ignorance with ignorant certainty.
I rather doubt Obama was born abroad, but I wasn’t present at his birth. So I’d answer, “Don’t know”. Nor am I gifted with mind reading skills, so I don’t know if he’s a socialist, or a racist. (Though he’s displayed tendencies in those directions.) He probably doesn’t want the terrorists to win, for certain values of “win”, but he probably wants them to get their way on somethings, so you could make the case. And so on.
And as for thinking ACORN stole the 2008 election, I don’t think that’s any stupider than the common belief among Democrats that Bush stole the 2004 election. I’ll cut you some slack on 2000, it must have been mind bogglingly frustrating to have the Florida supreme court’s efforts quashed like that, so a little insanity is to be expected.
I received a “straw poll” in the mail last night from the Conservative Caucus. I suppose they got my name from a list of registered republicans or a donor list of some kind (I occasionally give small donations to candidates in both parties, as well as to the ACLU). The straw poll and accompanying letter were regarding immigration and the Conservative Caucus’ undisguised prejudice against hispanics. I was shocked at how openly bigoted this mailer was. Unfortunately I no longer have the mailer (wife trashed it as explained below), so I can only paraphrase. Some of the lines included things like it is the democrats plan to sign these people up as voters thereby strengthening the ever growing latino voter block. Seriously? Its bad to have people who live in this country vote? Since when? Please take my word for it when I say that the mailer was much worse than this.
I was so disgusted with this piece of politics (so as not to use another word) that I scribbled notes all over it and intended to send it back to them with a big F you! I was also beginning to formulate a plan of counter attack (scanning the straw poll and accompanying letter for circulation on the Internet, writing text messages to friends about it, writing to local politicians, etc.) when my wife saw me freaking out, brought me my running shoes and kicked me out of the house. When I came back, she had thrown the offending literature away and had prepared a bowl of ice cream for me to eat. LOL Domestic crisis averted/lunatic husband calmed/steam lost.
Michael, I was hoping to impose on you, as one of your loyal readers, to post something on this subject today (or in the coming days as your schedule permits).