Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 19, 2009

HOW DEEP DOES THE PARANOIA RUN?.... When Doug Hoffman announced his belief that there was an ACORN-led conspiracy to steal the recent congressional special election in New York's 23rd, the temptation was to assume the poor guy had gone mad. But Alex Koppelman notes a new poll that suggests Hoffman is only lending his voice to widespread, right-wing paranoia.

Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm, got lucky with the timing of its latest survey. That's because PPP asked respondents, "Do you think that Barack Obama legitimately won the Presidential election last year, or do you think that ACORN stole it for him?"

Fully 26 percent of respondents said they believe ACORN stole the election for Obama, compared to 62 percent who said they think he won it fair and square. 12 percent weren't sure.

The numbers were even more revealing when broken down along partisan lines. A majority of Republicans -- 52 percent -- think ACORN stole the presidency, while just 27 percent said they believe Obama's office is legitimately his.

Now, I haven't seen the details or methodology of this poll, but I'm a little skeptical about the results. OK, more than a little.

Barack Obama received nearly 70 million votes on Election Day, and picked up 365 electoral votes. One in four Americans -- and a majority of self-identified Republicans -- believes this was made possible due to the secret, carefully-executed, coordinated national efforts of a community group that can't recognize fake pimps?

I'm willing to believe there are a lot of very confused conservatives out there. I'm even willing to concede that much of the Republican Party necessarily questions the legitimacy of any election in which the GOP candidate loses. But this poll has to be wrong, doesn't it?

Steve Benen 1:25 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (42)

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Comments

gop 2009: poor people and minorities kicked our butt

Posted by: mr. irony on November 19, 2009 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

A party that praises anti-intellectualism is made up mostly of stupid motherfuckers. What a surprise.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on November 19, 2009 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

A party whose male members are consumed by the fantasy of a good looking second wife (knowing well that she actually is the first wife they left for her airheadedness) can engage in all sorts of irrational behavior.

Posted by: gregor on November 19, 2009 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

The numbers make sense when one thinks how 30% of those polled were always supporting Bushit even though he tanked the world economy, lied us into a war, stole two elections himself, and tortured humans to get information he already knew to be false. So. 1/4-1/3rd of America, for all intent and purpose, is completly FUBAR.

Posted by: tevio on November 19, 2009 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

They listen to Beck and Limbaugh and Hannity (not to mention dropped-on-his-head-too-many-times Liddy), and that's what they're being told.

Posted by: MattF on November 19, 2009 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

I would venture to guess that many respondants are lying and feel this is a way to "get back" since many people from the "other" side people questioned the legitimacy of Bush. I have noticed a tendency of republicans to project just about everything, e.g., Rove's criticism of Friday night dumps. One would hope that follow up questions would yield a truer result.

Posted by: Raoul on November 19, 2009 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

self-identified Republicans are a pretty small group these days.

Posted by: DR on November 19, 2009 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans think everyone is just like them.

They can't see past their own mirrors.

Posted by: cld on November 19, 2009 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

Keep in mind, answering "yes" or "not sure" doesn't mean they believe it. It means they want to perpetuate the slander.

Posted by: SaintZak on November 19, 2009 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

If you have spent much time around people who are generally characterized as 'low information' voters (I have, unfortunately), you realize how much they like to throw around bullshit about politics- on some level they have a connection to reality about the political system, but they really don't give much of a damn about it or believe it has much effect on their lives (though they will raise holy hell if the Social Security check is one day late.) So when the are asked a dumb-ass question like the one in the poll, if they don't much like Obama on general terms or are just feeling generally pissed off that day, they will just toss off the obnoxious answer - 'Yeah, ACORN stole it for the SOB', even though they know it is not true. Combine this with response bias issues (ie, increasing numbers of people refuse to participate in polls), and you get some screwy numbers, which unfornatuately, the MSM then uses to drive their meme of the day.

Posted by: dcsusie on November 19, 2009 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

A combination of what MattF and tevio said.

I've run into some of these people and they're all about Acorn. Their eyes light up and the little veins on their forehead start poking out. This is the direct result of the mob digesting the misinformation campaign wholesale.

Posted by: oh well on November 19, 2009 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds likely to me. It's that magical twenty-some percent that shows up in every poll holding some entirely non-factual fantasy opinion on whatever the topic might be. Bush's base.

Posted by: Jon on November 19, 2009 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

A Kenyan was running against a war hero and the Kenyan won. How could it not have been a conspiracy?

Posted by: Al on November 19, 2009 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

They just want their waterpark back...

Posted by: EdTheRed on November 19, 2009 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

"But this poll has to be wrong, doesn't it?"

That depends on the meaning of "wrong," doesn't it? As others here point out, the right whinger mind is capable of a level of projection and self-delusion seldom seen outside a mental institution. And the opportunity to claim that any electoral loss is due to jiggery-pokery instead of a failed campaign of poor ideas and bat-shit crazy candidates just won't be passed up no matter how much it fails to jibe with facts.

As members of the "reality-based" contingent, we can but sigh at the antics of the tea-bag crowd and the Palindrones. And laugh, again and again, till their positions are recognized for the delusional, rabid, anti-American rabble-rousing they are.

Ed

Posted by: Ed Drone on November 19, 2009 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Other interesting facts: the "stolen" number is highest in the Midwest, not the South as you might guess; and the number for women is higher than that for men. Less surprising is that the age demo most likely to believe it is the over-65s.

Posted by: DonBoy on November 19, 2009 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

IIRC from another article I read about this poll, the only other choice was something very close to "Obama was elected legitimately." There was no choice like "Obama was not elected legitimately due to some other reason."

So, the ACORN fraud option got all the "I don't like Obama" votes, even if the respondents didn't exactly agree with all the details.

Posted by: bleh on November 19, 2009 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think many of them believe ACORN stole the election, but are happy to say they do.

Posted by: Rich M on November 19, 2009 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Asking questions like this of self-identified Republicans amounts to flicking lit matches at a leaking crazy tank.

Posted by: Chicago Rob on November 19, 2009 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Wish I could find the article, but didn't somebody once write about a "crazification factor" and put it at about 29% of the population? Seems he hit it about right.

Posted by: Greg Worley on November 19, 2009 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

A Kenyan was running against a war hero and the Kenyan won. How could it not have been a conspiracy?
Posted by: Al on November 19, 2009 at 1:51 PM

I love it when it's impossible to tell the real Al from a parody Al!

Posted by: David in NY on November 19, 2009 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Greg: That's John Rogers at "Kung Fu Monkey".

Posted by: DonBoy on November 19, 2009 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

In my opinion, this is a golden opportunity to get right wingers to question their own beliefs.

The way to do it is to compare the number of voters recruited by ACORN (x number of millions) with the margin by which Obama won. I'm certain some enterprising wonk can even break it down state by state. If the ACORN registrants (and voters) is less than the margin, then you have an ironclad case for the right wingers to reassess how gullible they are to manufactured fears. Call them out on it.

Posted by: gotoL on November 19, 2009 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

"But this poll has to be wrong, doesn't it?"

That question is profoundly unserious. The existence of a 25-30% crazy winger demographic has been known for years. They're not just hardcore conservative Republicans, they're crazy. Where have you been?

Posted by: John Emerson on November 19, 2009 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, DonBoy, for that KungFu Monkey link. Great stuff. But seriously, isn't it time somebody carried out this part (or have they?):

"Tyrone: (shrugs) Probably right, then. Speaking of Obama, I need to get t-shirts printed up to sell.

"John: I can do that on the web. What do they say?

"Tyrone: Don't You Dare Kill Obama

"John: How about Don't You Dare Kill Obama (... and we know you're thinking about it)

"Tyrone: Niiiiice.

"John: Or You Kill Obama and WE WILL BURN SHIT DOWN

"Tyrone: Even better. Nobody wants their shit burned down.

"John: Glad to help."

And the crazification factor, 27% (Obama v. Keyes), is perfect.

Posted by: David in NY on November 19, 2009 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Jeez, I thought I was only kidding when I wrote after the election that the only thing that we needed to make the farce in the NY 23rd race complete would be for conservatives to blame their defeat on ACORN.

Posted by: Ted Frier on November 19, 2009 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

I hate to say, but in this day and age and with the prompting of a literally seditious/secessionist RW media wing, it is credible. These people are destroying America, yet call the rest of us traitors.

Posted by: delver on November 19, 2009 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Why would the poll be wrong? All Republicans are stupid, mentally ill, or both. I wouldn't be surprised if a poll showed that a majority of Republicans believed night was day.

Posted by: Mark on November 19, 2009 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

While right wingers are a truly awful lot, that's a really stupid, poorly-designed, poll question.

I'd guess less than 20% of Americans know what ACORN is. People usually have no idea what they are talking about, when it comes to political/opinion polling, and they will often choose the answer that generally makes them sound more cynical and savvy.

"Do you think *company X* or *candidate X* is acting legitimately, or do you think that *trumped-up pretend-scandal Y* had an effect?"

All politicians are corrupt, all corporations are greedy, all defendants are guilty. They're heuristics that are often correct. The question exploits this - politicians *are* corrupt, but not in this one specific way.

Posted by: flubber on November 19, 2009 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

"But this poll has to be wrong, doesn't it?"

Never underestimate just how gullible, uninformed, and clueless the American RightWing is today.

Posted by: Joe Friday on November 19, 2009 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

Place value is still taught in fourth grade? People still know about powers-of-ten?

This is madness.

Obama's popular vote margin was greater than the entire number of votes cast in Florida.

Even if every single vote for Obama in New York was one stolen by ACORN from McCain, and the popular still wouldn't have been 1968-close, or 1960-close.

You can spot McCain the 55 electoral votes of California and he still loses....

You may be entitled to your own opinion -- hell, I'll spot you your own facts, too -- but you're not entitled to your own arithmetic.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on November 19, 2009 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

But you can't use statistics to convince the wingnuts, because they just think we're making the numbers up.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on November 19, 2009 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

Why do those poll numbers have to be wrong? Like those misguided and misinformed Republicans those statistics represent, they don't have to make any sense at all to still be very real.

Posted by: Out & About in the Castro on November 19, 2009 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

Mickey Mouse voted 10 million times. Shameful.

Posted by: shortstop on November 19, 2009 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

Steve,

I think your answer is in looking at the question wording. If you were a disgruntled Republican and were asked to choose between seeing Obama as the legitimate president and ACORN being responsible... Well, if you for whatever reason didn't think he was legitimate (racial issues, pure hatred of Dems, whatever) then you'd go with the only other option available.

Posted by: OmerosPeanut on November 19, 2009 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

The way to do it is to compare the number of voters recruited by ACORN (x number of millions) with the margin by which Obama won. I'm certain some enterprising wonk can even break it down state by state. If the ACORN registrants (and voters) is less than the margin, then you have an ironclad case for the right wingers to reassess how gullible they are to manufactured fears.

Posted by: gotoL

i don't think that's how they figure it. it's not fraudulent votes - it's that ACORN is this vast, shadowy underground force with near-mystical powers. clearly, they 'got to' the various secretaries of state. after all, ACORN is secretly run by george soros, who is a jew.

your pal,
blake

Posted by: blake on November 19, 2009 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

DR @ 1:40 PM got it - "self-identified Republicans are a pretty small group these days."
Look at the numbers for the "independents" and Democrats. The first is 70-some per cent and the second is 80-some. That first group includes all the still-sane "Republicans" plus the "real" independents.

Posted by: Doug on November 19, 2009 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with Rich M. If I were a Republican and a pollster called me with that question I would unhesitatingly say the election had been stolen. And I'd be delighted to twit the nose of every such pollster who called me.

Posted by: ebbolles on November 19, 2009 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

yup, people game the system. what we need, at this point in the history of polling, is metapolling.

Here's a metapoll: ask Republicans "Is your primary motivation in answering "yes" to the question "Are the Obamas worse than Hitler" a) to confess the true beliefs that lie deep in your soul, or b) to piss off liberal media elite pollsters?"

Posted by: nick on November 20, 2009 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

People like that just can't believe a black man was elected President.

All else flows from that.

Posted by: D.Simms on November 30, 2009 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

People like that just can't believe a black man was elected President.

All else flows from that.

Posted by: D.Simms on November 30, 2009 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

All people deserve good life and personal loans or just financial loan would make it better. Just because people's freedom depends on money.

Posted by: AmandaFRANK on July 20, 2010 at 4:12 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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