Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 27, 2009

THE RNC POLLS ITS SUPPORTERS.... The Republican National Committee emailed a survey to its supporters this morning. The questions are broken up into two categories: "Domestic and Social Issues" and "Homeland Security and Defense Issues."

Of course, the wording a survey uses can have some influence on the results. Consider how the RNC worded some of their more notable questions. (thanks to readers GB and CR for the tip)

* A recent national poll reported that nearly 25% of Americans want the government to pass more socialism. Do you agree or disagree?

* Which do you believe creates more jobs for the American economy: Government Programs and Spending or The American Free Enterprise System?

* Should Republicans unite to block new federal government bureaucracy and red tape that will crush future economic growth?

* Should we do everything we can to block Democrats who are trying to shut down conservative talk radio with the so-called "fairness doctrine"?

* Should we resist Barack Obama's proposal to spend billions of federal taxpayer dollars to pay "volunteers" who perform his chosen tasks?

* Should bureaucrats in Washington, DC be in charge of making your health care choices instead of you and your doctor?

* Do you think U.S. troops should have to serve under United Nations' commanders?

These are actual questions from the survey, not paraphrases intended to make the RNC appear silly.

Chances are, the RNC just sends out a survey like this to encourage supporters to send in a donation, and maybe to help bolster the mailing list. I suspect the party doesn't even bother to tally the data.

But I'm trying to imagine the loyal Republican activist who got an email this morning from Michael Steele, and proceeded to sit down and answer all of the many questions in this obviously-bogus "survey." Scary thought.

Post Script: Before getting into these specific issue areas, the survey asks respondents, "What are the weaknesses of the Republican Party?" There are five choices: "Bad Messaging," "Poor Response to Democrats, "Republicans who don't vote like Republicans," "Standing Up for Principles," and "Need to Lead in Congress."

Respondents are encouraged to check all that apply, but there isn't a field for "other."

Steve Benen 1:55 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (49)

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Comments

"...25% of Americans want the government to pass more socialism."

"Pass more socialism?" Is that like passing gas? E.g. "dude, pass your socialism in another room!"

Seriously, who wrote that crap?

Posted by: FreeProton on March 27, 2009 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

"...Americans want the government to pass more socialism"? Is that English?

Posted by: 1st Paradox on March 27, 2009 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

Here lies satire, RIP.

Posted by: Monty on March 27, 2009 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Should we resist Barack Obama's proposal to spend billions of federal taxpayer dollars to pay "volunteers" who perform his chosen tasks?

What, like invading another country to get their oil? Tasks like that could be expensive.

Posted by: Racer X on March 27, 2009 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

oh wow, the old scary 'us troops under un commanders ' , foreigners leading our boys to slander and slaughter in heathen lands!!!!! sounds like an old john birch society letter...

the more things change the more they stay the same

Posted by: TulsaTime on March 27, 2009 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Dear Republican voter, please validate our old talking points so we can continue to use them because they've worked so well in the past.

Reid! Pelosi! Boogaa boogaa!

These are actual questions from the survey, not paraphrases intended to make the RNC appear silly.

It isn't possible to make the RNC look silly. Any attempts to do so might push us over the Silliness Horizon.

* Should we do everything we can to block Democrats who are trying to shut down conservative talk radio with the so-called "fairness doctrine"?

Please, yes. Since you've finished with fixing the budget, make that your number 1 priority.

Are you sure this isn't a joke?

Posted by: The Answer WAS Orange on March 27, 2009 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

This is push polling.

Posted by: bakho on March 27, 2009 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

I've got one for them: Do you believe reality should play any role whatsoever in policy making?

Posted by: Stephen Stralka on March 27, 2009 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

The only thing missing is John Cleese reading it on the Old Monty Python set...Ministry of Silly Questions anyone?

Posted by: John R on March 27, 2009 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

My Answers:

1. Yes -- if a little more socialism means better healthcare, a cleaner environment, better schools, and protection from the unregulated capitalism.

2. Government Spending which can fund fundamental scientific research to create the technology which private industries use.

3. No. If new economic growth means more weird and strange derivites and credit default swaps.

4. Yes. block away -- since Dems are not trying to so this, it only wastes your energy and lets the public know that in the distant past public airwaves were regulated for the benefit of everyone not just the big corporations.

5. No. Resistance is futile, you will be absorbed into the Borg collective.

6. Yes. If my health care is cheaper, and I have access to the best technology (see question 3) why not?

7. Yes. but only if they are stationed on the US / Mexico border to prevent American guns from reaching Mexican drug lords.

Posted by: Kurt on March 27, 2009 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Respondents are encouraged to check all that apply, but there isn't a field for "other."

To be fair, on the online version you linked to, there is a field for "other" on that question. However, it only allows a response of 15 characters, so it's almost as though it doesn't exist at all.

The rest of it is a blatant push poll, and as someone who works in the opinion research industry, I'm always appalled when this happens.

Posted by: Gina on March 27, 2009 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

WHAT?! Not one question that mentions ACORN or George Soros?!

Posted by: Steve M. on March 27, 2009 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

These questions are the same types as their "surveys" when they ask for money through the mail.
I agree that it's for fund raising. They just what to rev up the reader with a little "Fox" propaganda whenever they can.

Posted by: Wayne on March 27, 2009 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

I am too so getting drunk tonight.

Posted by: Breezeblock on March 27, 2009 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Not one question that mentions ACORN

Actually, I think billions of federal taxpayer dollars to pay "volunteers" who perform his chosen tasks? covers Acorn. Yesterday, Vitter offered an ammendment to bar funding from the Americorp bill to Acorn. Specter voted with Dems. Byrd (OK, he's senile) and Nelson (NE) voted with Republicans.


Posted by: Danp on March 27, 2009 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Created no doubt by the same ad guys that write the NRA surveys I get. "We should give all our guns to the godless commies. True or False?"
Of course what I do with these is stuff the survey and the day's junk mail into the postage paid envelope and send it back to them. Hopefully the RNC will give me a chance to do the same.

Posted by: Jeff on March 27, 2009 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

It's hilarious that they're reduced to push-polling their own base.

Seriously, if I got something like this from the Democrats, I'd be offended that they'd insult my intelligence like that. Surely some Republicans have to be feeling the same way.

Posted by: TG Chicago on March 27, 2009 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Kurt: Well done. And thanks, Steve and everybody, for my Friday afternoon belly laugh.

Posted by: Yellow Dog on March 27, 2009 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

I've gotten so-called polls (actually fundraising pitches) from the Democratic side that were just as egregious. It tells you something about the mindset, but it's not based on any kind of survey methodology, nor are "results" ever released that I'm aware of.

Posted by: Ahistoricality on March 27, 2009 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe they actually are considering the data gleaned from these polls; might help explain some of their really poor decision making lately... I mean, for as long as I can remember.

Posted by: bajizus on March 27, 2009 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, push polling themselves is pathetic and delicious, but at least we know where the OtherWorldly Michelle Bachmann is getting (er, "passing") her info.

My theory: Republicans have done a bloodless Stalinist purge of their own, driving out anybody with brains (since the single requirement is being somebody Average Voter would rather have a beer with). Now they are left intellectually absent. C.f., Bachmann, Steele, Billo. Rush and admirers, Palin, Bush, etc.

Posted by: Sf on March 27, 2009 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

My old Congressman in Ohio used to send out stuff like this all the time, paid for, of course, by his Congressional franking privileges. Not surprisingly, he got taken down in the '90s House postage scandal.

Given the confusion and disarray in today's Republican Party, you'd think they might be genuinely interested in what's on the minds of the few who still call themselves Reps. But no.... Move on, no brains on display here.

Posted by: ericfree on March 27, 2009 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

i'd be sorely tempted to get a whole bunch of people to try to crash this survey (or at least dramatically skew the results), but the thought of giving them my address and e-mail give me major willies.
i actually registerd as a re... reee... republican in 1980 so i could vote for john anderson in the illinois primary. got myself on some very wierd-ass mailing list, and it took me many years and several interstate moves to get off them.

Posted by: mellowjohn on March 27, 2009 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

What? No questions about a new global currency?

Posted by: noncarborundum on March 27, 2009 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

These are actual questions from the survey,intended to make the RNC appear silly.

You had a couple of extra words in your sentence; I've fixed it.

Posted by: Hannah on March 27, 2009 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Hmm, there doesn't seem to be a question along the lines of "Do you support our commander-in-chief and our brave troops fighting overseas?"

When was that taken out?

Posted by: Chris on March 27, 2009 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

"What are the weaknesses of the Republican Party?"

Choice # 6: Moral Bankruptcy.
Choice # 7: Abject Stupidity.
Choice # 8: Unbridled avarice.

Posted by: Screamin' Demon on March 27, 2009 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

They used to send these surveys out via US snail mail... if they've started emailing it instead, that can be construed as a mild efficiency improvement at least (but there's no hope for the morons who write the questions).

Posted by: TG on March 27, 2009 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

"Do you support our commander-in-chief and our brave troops fighting overseas?"

To answer Chris's question about when that was taken out. It wasn't. On January 20th, it was changed to "Do you support our brave troops fighting overseas by opposing the pretending commander in chief?"

Steve - Thanks for the shoutout. I'm the GB and am on rethug mailing lists because I have donated to repugs before. The last time was the sacrificial offering that the rethugs ran against Evan Bayh in 2004. I will contribute to whoever runs against him next year.

Posted by: SadOldVet on March 27, 2009 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

Old Vet,

I noticed that the "survey" page promises to share the results -- if the respondent donates. It doesn't say how much you have to donate, and it requires your snailmail address, which means I won't be donating, but perhaps a 5 dollar donation (small enough to cost as much to process as it gives them) could get the results for someone's amusement.

Oh, please, if someone does perform the sacrifice, do share it with us.

Posted by: Charles on March 27, 2009 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

In Communist Russia, socialism passes you!

Posted by: Patience on March 27, 2009 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

maybe this story will give you ananswer to socialism, and/or fascism in america. btw im not republican...

http://www.infowars.com/senate-passes-national-service-bill/

Posted by: mrmakymkay on March 27, 2009 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

"What are the weaknesses of the Republican Party?"

This sounds like the perfect topic for an essay contest.

Posted by: clar-z on March 27, 2009 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

For some reason that I can't currently fathom, I used to be registered as a Republican. I moved between states and had decided to register as "independent", about the time I got a mailing that looked something like this. It was quickly apparent that I didn't agree with a word of it, and I started answering questions with the "other" option. For instance, Q: Which is the current biggest problem facing the nation today? A) Islamofascism, B) Obstructionist Democrats, C) High taxes, D) Government meddling in private business. I answered E) Other and wrote in Environmental destruction. For some reason I never heard from them again.

Posted by: Bill on March 27, 2009 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

I am surprised there was nothing along the lines of "Do you think homosexuals should be allowed to teach your children the homosexual agenda by homosexually homo homo homo!!!!"

Posted by: The Answer WAS Orange on March 27, 2009 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Oh please. This stuff isn't meant to be taken seriously, by serious people. (Have you checked out the language in DNC "polls?") This is to hyperventilate the gullible into emptying out their checking account to the Party.

Bother me when you've got some REAL news . . .

Posted by: Sophie in VA on March 27, 2009 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

i subscribe to mr steele's "joke-a-day" email...this was boffo....

a quick fact check, steve's wrong... there is an "other" box for that question...it only allows 30 characters but that's more than enough to offer "the entire leadership" as a response...

i liked this question best:
Why did Republicans lose the White House and Congressional seats in the 2008 elections? Check all that apply.

Iraq War
Poor Economy
Government's Response to Katrina
Republican Scandals
Republicans acted like Democrats
President Bush's policies
Liberal Media
Other:

noticably abscent:
crappy campaign
wrong on the issues
and my fill in answer: sarah palin

Posted by: dj spellchecka on March 27, 2009 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

Bother me when you've got some REAL news . . .

Steve, stop sending stormtroopers pounding into Sophie's office to grab her by the throat and force her to look at your blog. She's got work to do.

Posted by: shortstop on March 27, 2009 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK
Steve, stop sending stormtroopers pounding into Sophie's office to grab her by the throat and force her to look at your blog. She's got work to do.

Posted by: shortstop

ROFL!

What the hell is it lately with all the people whining about what Steve posts?

Other than the amusing aspect of them taking the time to leave a comment on a post they think is a waste of time, there's the whole "Who the hell is making you read it?" factor.

Strange.

Posted by: Mark D on March 27, 2009 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

I especially liked the first one:

* A recent national poll reported that nearly 25% of Americans want the government to pass more socialism. Do you agree or disagree?

I assume the potential responses looked like this:

* I agree - there was such a recent poll that reported those results.
* I disagree - no such poll existed.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on March 27, 2009 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK
What the hell is it lately with all the people whining about what Steve posts?

There's been a recent blogosphere-wide outbreak of UR Not Serious Trolls. It really is quite lame.

Posted by: The Answer WAS Orange on March 27, 2009 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

In fairness, Sophie is absolutely right. I've gotten very similar "polls" from the DNC. I actually started to fill one out once and then quickly realized what a load of crap it was and tossed it. Let's try and keep our eyes on the ball here and not go all Powerline.

Posted by: Rob Mac on March 27, 2009 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

To be fair, I also get surveys from the various Democratic fund raisers with questions that are leading, but they are totally outclassed by these. None of the ones the Democrats ask are anywhere near as blatantly stupid and twisted as these particular questions.

I don't know if this is a comment on the relative intellectual capacity of Democratic fundraisers vs. Republican fund raisers or the intellectual capacity of Democratic donors vs. Republican donors. Somewhere I read about an Englishman who said something to the effect that not all conservatives are stupid, but most stupid people are conservative. That observation seems appropriate under these circumstances.

Posted by: Texas Aggie on March 27, 2009 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

RNC chief Michael Steele wrote down these questions in crayon before passing them off to the RNC polling division.

Posted by: The Oracle on March 27, 2009 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

Reminds me a lot of this exchange:

Dave: You do exist, don't you?
Bret: Yeah, I exist.
Dave: (pokes Bret to see if he's real) 'Cause you guys said you didn't exist before.
Jemaine: We exist…
Bret: I fully exist.
Dave: Why'd you tell me you were from Never Never Land?
Bret and Jemaine: New Zealand.
Dave: But you said you guys flew here.
Jemaine: On a plane… on a plane, Dave.
Dave: Ohhhhh.

Posted by: OhNoNotAgain on March 27, 2009 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

Darn it -- the Republican Committee insists on sending mail to my mother who has been dead 10 years. I've got to start opening these things to cheer myself up.

Posted by: janinsanfran on March 27, 2009 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

"What are the weaknesses of the Republican Party?"

Put me down for "too many to name."

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on March 28, 2009 at 7:15 AM | PERMALINK

Seriously--republicans are--for the most part--that stupid. You have to consider that someone--that has been put in charge of something decided that this pamphlet/survey was a good idea and that it would somehow help their cause. Pretty remarkable, if you think about it.

Posted by: john d'oh on March 28, 2009 at 7:27 AM | PERMALINK

"What are the weaknesses of the Republican Party?"

I vote for "Republicans who don't vote like Republicans,"

Damn those traitors who voted for the stimulus!
If not for them, the GOP would be back in the saddle!

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on March 28, 2009 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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