Thursday, November 06, 2014


You may have seen this story:
Some South Carolina voters are upset over an exit poll they received which referenced race and slavery.

The poll, which was handed out to voters in Charleston, Columbia, Greenville and Spartanburg asked them to agree or disagree on statements on whether blacks don't work hard enough to advance economically, are too demanding in their pursuit of equal rights and are hindered by the effects of slavery and discrimination....

The poll was conducted by David Woodard, a political science professor at Clemson University. Woodard said he was trying to prove that race has no bearing on whether whites vote for political candidates.

"It was designed to take advantage of a political moment of Senator Tim Scott's election as the first African-American from a southern state since reconstruction," said Woodard. "It was not designed to be provocative." ...
A Daily Kos diarist named AyDeeTheGreat has posted an image of the poll questionnaire; she quotes a few of the questions:
Over the past few years, blacks have gotten less than they deserve: Agree Disagree

... Blacks are getting too demanding in their push for equal rights: Agree Disagree

... It's really a matter of some people not trying hard enough; if blacks would only try harder, they could be as well off as blacks: Agree Disagree
Mashable clarifies what's going on ... somewhat:
... it turns out that the poll was worded this way on purpose. Researchers took the questions, word for word, from the Modern Racism Scale -- a psychological test developed in 1986 that can be used to determine an individual's inherent discriminations.
That's true -- here are some of the Modern Racism Scale's questions; we're told here that the scale was developed because it's subtler than earlier ways of measuring racial prejudice:
Current measures of racism (e.g., the MRS) were developed because older scales used very blatant questions to gauge racism–for example, "Do you agree or disagree that African Americans are inferior to Caucasians?" or "Do you think that it is a bad idea for African Americans and Caucasians to intermarry?"
But the MRS is 28 years old now, and its questions seems as unsubtle now as those on earlier surveys.

Another point that needs making, however, is that Professor Woodard isn't coming from a neutral perspective. As his profile on the Clemson website notes, he's not just a professor:
In addition he is a political consultant for Republican candidates. Former clients includ: Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Former Congressman Gresham Barrett (R-SC), Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC), and Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-SC).
And not only did he work as a consultant for Jim DeMint, he also coauthored this book with him:

Yes, that's a blurb from Rush Limbaugh on the cover. ("Big government liberalism and a decline in our culture must be stopped. For ammunition in the fight ahead, read Why We Whisper.") The book was also praised by Willim Bennett, Chuck Colson, and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council "Why We Whisper is a clarion call to exercise our First Freedoms in a time of moral confusion").

Publishers Weekly says of the authors:
... their intent is specific: to expose left-leaning bias in the "value-free" rulings supported by morally relativistic secularists in legislation, court cases and the mainstream media. Referencing numerous hot-button issues -- gay marriage, divorce, cohabitation, abortion, pornography and gambling among them -- the authors review in fine detail a number of arguments (many familiar) about the societal and economical damage suffered by an America rapidly replacing foundational virtues with unstable secularist values.
Woodard is also the author of two books about the greatness of Reagan, as well as a book called The Politics of Morality: Portraits in Seven Lives (the seven lives include the aforementioned Chuck Colson as well as William F. Buckley, Russell Kirk, and Michael Novak). Oh, and did I mention that Woodard is the Thurmond Professor of Political Science at Clemson -- as in Strom Thurmond?

Oh, and he also responded to a recent anti-racism protest at Clemson be describing it as "fascism."

It's obvious that on Election Day Woodard was trying to demonstrate that conservatives, specifically conservatives who vote for the very conservative African-American senator Tim Scott, are the true racial visionaries. He was doing so to glorify a party for which he's been a regular consultant, using a survey on which any idiot could figure out the "right" answers. His motives aren't hard to figure out.


Victor said...

Not too subtle, eh?

flarenut said...

Any time a social scientist says that they're doing a survey to prove something, they're committing professional malpractice. Surveys are supposed to test hypotheses.

dpjbro said...

You'd think a Thurmond professor of poly sci would already have enough conservative cred without having to resort to this scam.