Tuesday, September 22, 2015


Public Policy Polling has just conducted a post-debate survey of Iowa. Among Republicans, Donald Trump is still in the lead, at 24%, with Ben Carson at 17% and Carly Fiorina at 13%. (Jeb Bush is tied with Mike Huckabee for sixth, at 6%, behind Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, who are at 8%.) But the most noteworthy result is on a question that doesn't mention the candidates:
... only 49% of Republicans think the religion of Islam should even be legal in the United States with 30% saying it shouldn't be and 21% not sure.
And that's not the result of tricky question wording:

But pundits and "data journalists" will just dismiss this, as they've dismissed repeated polling in which large numbers of Republicans have said they believe or suspect that President Obama is foreign-born and a Muslim. Here was Harry Enten, now of FiveThirtyEight.com, in a 2012 commentary on that subject for The Guardian:
The belief that Obama is something other than a Christian born in the United States has everything to do with ideology. Republicans are just perturbed beyond belief by Obama, and when you offer them a prompt about said person, they are likely to say anything that might be seen as a negative. It's as Julian Sanchez (via [The Atlantic's David] Graham) put it, "symbolic belief":
"Propositions you profess publicly, maybe even sincerely believe, you believe; even while, on another level, there's some part of you that knows better."
It's marvelous that these data savants are mind-readers. It's amusing that they're the sort of people who usually scorn others for rejecting hard data in favor of hunches, yet they insist that hard data of this kind ought to be massaged because it just doesn't feel as if it's literally true.

I'd like to offer a challenge to GOP-insanity skeptics. You don't believe Republicans really think Obama is a Kenyan-born Muslim? You doubt that large numbers of them really want Islam outlawed in America, or think maybe it should be outlawed? Then conduct some focus groups of poll respondents who say these things. Design them whatever way you think will tease out the respondents' true beliefs -- I leave that to you, or to whichever professional you sign up to do the work. I think these people, under persistent questioning will confirm that they mean these things very, very literally. Ask them. Let's see who's right.


Joey Blau said...

My gf has liked a few right wing friends on Facebook. When I tell her I think these loonies are faking it and just saying they don't believe in evolution or that the apocalypse is just around the corner..because no one could be that stupid...

She says.. Well it sure seems like they are serious...

Unknown said...

The key qualifiers are "Iowa" and "Republicans".

There are actually FIFTEEN PERCENT LESS registered Republicans in IOWA right now than there are registered Democrats. And the total number of Iowans registered as R or D amounts to only 55% of the total number of Iowans currently registered to vote. And the total number of Iowas currently registered R amounts doesn't exceed 6% of all adults living in Iowa.

Ken_L said...

Joey Blau the GOP candidate running second to Trump at the moment doesn't believe in evolution. He's said Charles Darwin was a servant of Satan. Why would you doubt the sincerity of mere right-wing foot-soldiers?

Already, masses of right-wing loonies posting about the Ahmed clock story have convinced themselves that either Ahmed rigged the whole thing to get attention, or that it was a "dry run" for a real bombing. How did Ahmed know his teachers and the cops were going to react like thuggish morons? Why would someone planning to bomb the school show a mock-up to teachers in the dress rehearsal? Details, details. They don't care about that liberal logic stuff. They've got their narrative and they're sticking to it.

Philo Vaihinger said...

Emerging GOP view: First Amendment guarantees are for Christians only.