Monday, February 08, 2010

Bonanza Column 171 – Republicans are Strange

The Daily Kos is a liberal/progressive blog, and if that's enough to disqualify anything they say in your eyes, just skip reading this or skip to the comments section and post your weekly accusation that I'm a Communist and should "go back to Roosha, boy, or New York City, one" (a shout out to Kinky Friedman).

On the other hand, if you're interested, the Daily Kos employs a very reputable and neutral polling organization called Research 2000 to do polling for them on a weekly basis and posts their results no matter what they show, including demographic information about those polled. Last week they posted the results of the Daily Kos/Research 2000 Republican Poll 2010. For this poll, conducted between January 20 and 31, 2010, the interviewed 2003 self-identified Republicans by phone. This was a random sample selected by random variations of the last four digits of phone numbers. The margin of error was 2%, which means that there is a 95% probability statistically that the true figure for all self-identified Republicans would fall within 2% plus or minus of the sample's results. Interviews were conducted in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia – 11% of respondents were from the Northeast, 42% from the South, 22% from the Midwest, and 25% from the West.

So here we have 2003 people, selected at random who identified themselves as Republicans and were willing to answer poll questions over the phone. Now it's axiomatic in the polling business that you only get answers to the questions you asked, and I don't know who designed these questions – let's say, worst case, they were designed by the Daily Kos, and so the questions reflect liberal/progressive concerns about Republicans, and don't tell the whole story, only that which reflects those concerns. Nonetheless, the answers are what they are. It's a long poll, so I'll just highlight some of them here. For the full set go to

Under the heading "Obama and America," we find that 39% of those surveyed say Barack Obama should be impeached with 32% saying no, and 29% not sure. Really? For what? The Constitution is pretty clear – high crimes and misdemeanors is the criterion. Can anyone point out even one thing he's done in the past year that qualifies? But 68% of Republicans (±2%) say he should be impeached, or at least it's a possibility.

Maybe this will shed some light on why: 63% said yes to "do you think Barack Obama is a Socialist, with 21% saying no and 16% not sure. Seriously? 79% of those surveyed don't have a clue what Socialism is? Even Rachel Maddow, who is no Socialist herself, but is pretty far left, considers Obama a centrist.

And the grand prizes: 36% believe Obama was not born in the US and 22% aren't sure, and 24% believe Obama "wants the terrorists to win" and 33% aren't sure. This is not just being divorced from reality, it's having left reality far, far behind.

There's a lot more – on Issues (anti-union, anti-immigrant, pro-death penalty), gays, (anti-serving in the military, anti-same sex marriage, anti-benefits for gay couples, and astonishingly 73% against openly gay men and women teaching in public schools with 19% unsure). Schools (anti-sex education by a slim margin, but overwhelmingly for public schools teaching that the Book of Genesis explains how God created the world).

The last category was women, where some of the results were surprisingly encouraging – 76% with 11% unsure said that marriages are equal partnerships and 86% with 4% unsure said women should work outside the home. But then it all goes horribly wrong: "Should contraceptives be outlawed?" 31% yes, 13% not sure. "Do you believe the birth control pill is abortion?" 34% yes, 18% unsure. "Do you consider abortion to be murder?" 76% yes, 16% unsure.

And finally, "Do you believe that the only way for an individual to go to heaven is through Jesus Christ, or can one make it to heaven through another faith? 67% Christ, 15% other faiths, 18% unsure.

All of which leaves me wondering – exactly what America do these people live in? Not the America of Jefferson, Adams, Madison, and the Constitution, apparently.

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