Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Are you Republicans serious?

I often get accused of grossly over-exaggerating and over-generalizing my stereotypes of Republicans. After seeing this recent poll by the Daily Kos, I feel rather justified.

Here are some of the wonderful results from polled Republicans:

  • If 2012 elections were today, Palin would receive the most support with 16% of Republicans. Romney comes in second with 11%. Cheney--yes, that DICK Cheney--is third with 10%.
  • 39% believe Obama should be impeached. Why? I'm not sure. I'm guessing it has to do with a combination of him being a black, Kenyan, Soviet, Nazi democrat. Or something like that.
  • 36% believe Obama was not born in the US. That's right. More than one out of three Republicans are Birthers.
  • 63% believe that Obama is a socialist--though I'm not sure they know what that means.
  • 24% believe Obama wants the terrorists to win.
  • 21% believe ACORN somehow managed to steal the 2008 elections and give Obama his overwhelming win.
  • 53% believe that Sarah Palin is more qualified to be president that Obama--yes, that's right. at least 53%--MORE THAN HALF--of Republicans believe Palin is qualified to be president.
  • 31% believe Obama is a racist who hates white people
  • 23% believe their state should secede from the US.
  • 73% believe that openly gay men or women should not be allowed to teach public school
  • 77% believe public school students should be taught that the book of Genesis in the Bible explains how God created the world
  • 31% believe contraceptions should be outlawed
  • 91% support the death penalty


  1. Good heavens. This can't be true. This is a joke right...not a real poll? WOW is all I can say.

  2. Ugg, Throwing up in my mouth.

  3. Pushes me towards the title libertarian a little more.

  4. The only thing more insultingly stupid than the vitriol of the far right OR far left? Either "grossly over-exaggerating and over-generalizing" the beliefs of large groups of people with their most extreme elements (a tip of the hat to our Muslim brethren), or else trying to back such ignorance with bogus statistics. Loyd, I love you man, but you're better than this. This is Hannity stuff.

  5. Does 1/3 (or as high as 77 and 91%) really count as the extreme, especially when these were almost always the majority positions?

  6. Palin is more qualified to be president than Obama. That's how disastrous this president is. Folks keep trying to prop him up, but it seems rather obvious that he really doesn't have the administrative skill to run the White House efficiently. I'd never vote for Palin, either. She's a train wreck. But so too is Obama. He's a walking waffle, not knowing who to pander to next, shifting his message and allowing serious administrative blunders between agencies and departments in the federal government. And I'm not implicitly supporting anyone else for that matter. I just think it's erroneous to portray these surveyed Republicans as so shockingly inane to think Palin more qualified than Obama; I'm one who thinks neither is qualified, so I would answer on this survey, well, heck, Palin over Obama, but no option for "...and we might as well shoot ourselves while we're at it"?

  7. I have to admit I thought these stats were funny (and alarming) when I first read through them, but then I read Russ's comment. Thanks for the reality check, Russ.

    I got to thinking about this poll's statistics. I'm sorry, but a sample size of 2,003 people can hardly be representative of the 55 million people in the republican party, even if you stand by your vague and unsubstantiated "standards customarily used by statisticians" cited in the poll's methodology. They say that there's "a 95 percent probability that the 'true' figure would fall within that range if the entire self identified Republican population were sampled," and I simply don't buy it. Also, surveys--especially phone surveys--have a huge self-selecting problem. Who do you think are the people that say "Yes, I'll spend the next ten minutes answering a stranger's questions about Republicans' view of Obama" when they answer the phone at dinner time? Of course, there will be some level-headed, balanced people who agree to this, but I think the situation mostly selects the nut jobs who have an axe to grind are excited to vent their craziness to anyone who will listen.

    Just sayin.

  8. Dave, your cynicism as you buy into the propaganda and cry for a mythic and fallacious centrism is becoming legendary. It's so easy to hide under the guise of moderation and pretend to cast hollow criticisms at both ends, while acting as if you have some solid objective perspective from your tower of moderation. It's a bit more difficult to have the balls to actually take a stand on an issue.


    I agree with you to an extent, however this is rather the standard of all polls (I used to do these stupid telephone polls--making the calls, not answering them). Yes they are problematic, but that is the case with all polls.

    The point is though that these polls need to be taken as a whole. If the GOP and those on the right want to constantly appeal to polls showing a decreasing approval rate for Obama, they must also accept these polls which indicate what type of persons are disapproving of Obama's administration.

  9. I don't know what a walking waffle is, but it sounds delicious. I'll take 20 of those a nickel.

    And while these "statistics" are hilarious, I'd have to side with Russ, that they're bogus. For all of those reasons Kelly pointed out, especially the self-selecting reason.

    I do agree with you, Loyd, that it's typical of all poll statistics, but that of course doesn't make these ones legit. It just means that they're all bogus. It's not just the right-wing that does it, either. I love when Jon Stewart shows a clip of MSNBC and Fox News showing different poll outcomes for the exact same question. The problem is just that you can't get an evenly distributed sample out of these voluntary polls.

    Of course that doesn't mean that the polls are all useless. As long as they continue to be hilarious, then they are useful and we should keep doing them.

  10. Here are the stats for the stats:

    MEN 1125 56%
    WOMEN 878 44%
    WHITE 1787 89%
    OTHER/REF 216 11%
    18-29 178 9%
    30-44 418 21%
    45-59 664 33%
    60+ 743 37%
    NE 217 11%
    SOUTH 846 42%
    MW 437 22%
    WEST 503 25%

    The Daily Kos Republican Poll was conducted by Research 2000 from January 20 through January 31, 2010. A total of 2003 self identified Republicans were interviewed nationally by telephone. Those interviewed were selected by the random variation of the last four digits of telephone numbers, nationally.

    The margin for error, according to standards customarily used by statisticians, is no more than plus or minus 2% percentage points. This means that there is a 95 percent probability that the "true" figure would fall within that range if the entire self identified Republican population were sampled. The margin for error is higher for any demographic subgroup, such as for gender or region.

    DC, ME, VT, NY, MD, PA, CT, DE, MA, NH, RI, WV, NJ

    FL, NC, SC, AL, MS, GA, VA, TN, KY, LA, AR, TX

    IL, MN, MI, OH, WI, IA, MO, KS, IN, ND, SD, OK, NE

    NM, CA, OR, WA, AK, HI, MT, ID, UT, NV, AZ, WY, CO

  11. Loyd, I find that you hide behind and conveniently toss about the fallacy of moderation. I never argued for a false middle, or for any middle for that matter. I find both Obama and Palin disturbing and I seek for a candidate, any candidate, that could manage the Executive Branch more efficiently than either one. You, my friend, place Palin and Obama at extremes and fix on top of the political/cultural climate in this country a continuum that may or may not exist (I would argue elsewhere that it doesn't, so you know where I'm coming from).

    I charge you with buying into the propaganda that there really exists a left and right in this country or in the political arena. Those are totalizing and generic categories that completely miss the complexity of individual political belief that is evident in any in-depth and objective survey of American attitudes toward policy. Where do I purport a kind of centrism in my comment? No, you committed the classic blunder of reading into the comment your own assumptions of the political milieu and trying to place me inside of it. It doesn't help that we have sparred in the past on politics, and that you likely categorize me as a Republican-conservative, which category I reject for myself every bit as much as you reject it for yourself. No, what's easy is to construct a notion of self/other and to perpetuate that onto other people, then castigate the heck out of them for it. Sorry if I insulted Obama; I really mean to call out his juvenile experience in managing his administration and that such is a valid basis for considering him worse than even Palin. If you disagree with my assessment of his abilities and policies, then go ahead and let's debate that. But criticizing me for not taking a stand? C'mon... You know perfectly well one can reject the premises of the discourse and not be committing a fallacy so long as one holds to a more valid argument.

  12. Given some of the responses here, it seems the survey also should have asked whether these Republicans believe in inferential statistics.

  13. Or maybe whether you understand inferential statistics?

    The complaint against these polls' statistics isn't whether you can infer facts about a population based on facts of a subset, it is whether the selected subset is actually representative of the population.

    For example, when Hannity or Matthews show some poll saying that Americans hate or love Obama, it's not really reasonable to make an inference towards all Americans based on the poll, because the subset that took the poll is isolated to the viewers of the respective shows, and are not evenly distributed across the whole population.

    Likewise with this poll (or all polls, as Loyd points out). This poll does randomly select from all registered Republicans nationwide to call for the survey, but that doesn't mean that all of the people called actually took the survey. It's too bad that "stat for the stats", as Loyd puts it, isn't included.

    So, the real question is whether the subset of Republicans that were both randomly selected to be called and self-selected to take the survey are actually representative of the entire population of registered Republicans. I know there's not an easy answer to that question because there aren't "stats for stats" to back up any answers you would come up with.

    My guess is still that the self-selected subset of those calls are not evenly distributed, but rather "nut jobs who have an axe to grind are excited to vent their craziness to anyone who will listen", to quote Kelly (who is a Democrat, BTW).

  14. Well then, in a surprisingly positive turn of events, it turns out that among the "Nut Jobs Who Have an Axe to Grind and who are Excited to Vent Their Craziness to Anyone Who Will Listen" subset of the Republican Party, ONLY ABOUT 1/3 believe in outlawing contraceptives!

    Seriously though, Research 2000 does not fit anywhere into your analogy of Matthews/Hannity polls. Nate Silver, for example, listed them as one of the most reliable pollsters for the 2008 election.

    I'm not saying that selection bias isn't present in this poll, only that GENERAL concerns with respect to selection bias should give you little reason to dismiss this individual poll, which comes from a reputable source, without any SPECIFIC evidence in this instance (or, even worse in your case, to dismiss EVERY poll as bogus).

    The results of the poll are not at all inconsistent with my own anecdotal experience since the election.

    And, on that note, it's sure been a while since the last time I talked to a self-described Republican who WASN'T part of the "Nut Jobs Who Have an Axe to Grind and who are Excited to Vent Their Craziness to Anyone Who Will Listen" subset.

    That group of crazies, in my opinion and experience, IS representative of the crazy universe we're trying to understand here.

  15. I'm still trying to figure out which results are the objectionable ones that lead some to conclude that the poll MUST be bogus. When I compare these results with my own experience, or even reasonable and reliable proxies from which we might draw similar inferences, I'm only more convinced that these results are accurate.

    For example:

    36% Believe Obama was not born in the US
    This clearly doesn't represent some lunatic fringe that self-selected its way into the Research 2000 poll. Members of the United States Congress, elected in free and fair democratic elections by popular vote, have perpetuated this. This isn't a Rush/Hannity thing.

    63% Believe Obama is a socialist
    What's objectionable here? Has anyone watched the healthcare debates? Again, those crazies are elected representatives of the Ameican people!

    24% Believe Obama wants the terrorists to win
    Does anyone remember when that crazy lady from Alaska was runnin' around tellin' folks that Obama was pallin' around with terrorists? He doesn't only want them to win, he LIKES the guys! That's how little he thinks about our country!

    Why should I be surprised that a quarter of the members of that crazy lady's party thinks Obama wants the terrorists to win? In Mitt Romney's concession speech, for crying out loud, the idiot said he couldn't stand in the way and allow for the Democrats to win and "surrender to terror."

    This ain't new, baby.

    53% Believe Palin is more qualified for President than Obama
    Surely we don't think this is unreasonably high, right?


    26% Believe openly gay men should be able to serve in the military

    77% Believe gays shouldn't be able to marry

    68% Believe gays should not receive state/federal benefits

    73% Believe openly gay men and women shouldn't be able to teach in public schools

    68% Believe gays should not receive state/federal benefits

    Compare these results with exit polls from Arizona's Prop 102 ban on gay marriage: http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/results/polls/#val=AZI01p1
    Republicans favored 81 to 19

    Arkansas Prop 1 ban on gay couples adopting: http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/results/polls/#val=ARI01p1
    Republicans favored 69 to 31

    California Prop 8 ban on gay marriage: http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/results/polls/#val=CAI01p1
    Republicans favored 82 to 18

    Florida Prop 2: Ban on gay marriage: http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/results/polls/#val=FLI01p1
    Republicans Favored 83 to 17

    Where in the world are the obvious inconsistencies?


    76% Believe abortion is murder

    Well, 68% of Republicans voted in favor of more restrictions on abortions in California under Prop 4: http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/results/polls/#val=CAI02p1

    58% of Republicans in San Diego voted for SD Prop 11, which would have outlawed almost all Abortions: http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/results/polls/#val=SDI01p1

    Obviously there will be some variation by state and by issue, but the results of the Research 2000 poll reflect that variation as well. As it is, though, I see nothing from the Research 2000 poll that leads me to believe the sampling to be so unrepresentative of Republicans generally that the poll should be dismissed in its entirety as bogus, misleading, or uninformative.

    Do I think that exactly 60% of Republicans oppose "amnesty" for illegal immigrants? No

    Do I think the "true" value lies somewhere between 57% and 63%? It seems likely, but I'm not gonna bet either of my testicles on it.

    Do I think the true value is closer to 60% than it is to 30%? Abso-****ing-lutely.

  16. That should obviously be South Dakota, not San Diego. Doof.

  17. Haha. Oh yeah, anecdotal evidence was exactly the viable statistical proof I needed. Thanks, you convinced me. ;)

  18. I do have to say, Soxy Pirate, that this statement

    Well then, in a surprisingly positive turn of events, it turns out that among the "Nut Jobs Who Have an Axe to Grind and who are Excited to Vent Their Craziness to Anyone Who Will Listen" subset of the Republican Party, ONLY ABOUT 1/3 believe in outlawing contraceptives!

    was clever and made me laugh. Well played. And thanks for the banter.


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