Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Survey: Republicans Believe False Things

The title of this post is in reference to a Selzer poll conducted for Bloomberg Politics, described by Al Hunt.

Bloomberg Politics poll shows that on two controversial issues, the budget deficit and deporting illegal immigrants, the public believes Obama's critics–even though reality favors the president.
By 73 percent to 21 percent, the public says the federal budget deficit has gotten bigger during the Obama presidency.
It hasn't.
By 53 percent to 29 percent, Americans believe that Obama has sent fewer undocumented immigrants home than were deported a decade earlier.
He has sent more.

On the surface, this is a sad statement about the knowledge the American public has about news.  But digging a little deeper, one finds that one party in particular is driving the results here.

Republicans by an 8-to-1 ratio say the budget deficit has grown over the last six years; a smaller majority of independents and Democrats say that. Likewise, 66 percent of Republicans say there have been fewer deportations versus only 45 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of independents.

There are subjective questions polling firms ask about how politicians are handling economic crises, or if one approves of a politician, and I basically ignore them, because there is no right answer. It's just an opinion. But then there are questions about basic facts, which are like examinations of poll respondents.  It is no longer "what do you think of this?", it's "what do you know about this?".  And this survey shows that being a Republican is strongly correlated with not knowing about both the budget and current immigration policy.

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