Friday, March 26, 2010

Republicans vs. Democrats on Obama

A new Harris poll has some fascinating numbers on what Republicans and Democrats believe about President Obama. Since I reported earlier on some of the interesting beliefs of Republicans in a Republican-only poll, I am glad to have some comparative numbers. All the questions began "here are some things people have said about President Obama. Please indicate for each whether you believe it is true or false." I will give Republican vs. Democratic "true" answer percentages.

Let's start with some fairly straight-forward factual matters:

57 vs 15 Is a Muslim
45 vs 8 Was not born in the U.S. and so is not eligible to be president

Then let's look at his political intentions:

61 vs 17 Wants to take away Americans' right to own guns
51 vs 12 Wants to turn over the sovereignty of the United States to a one world government
41 vs 8 Wants to use an economic attack or a terrorist attack as an excuse to take dictatorial powers
22 vs 5 Wants the terrorists to win

Finally, some global assessments of his being:

67 vs 14 Is a socialist
47 vs 12 Resents America's heritage
45 vs 8 Is a domestic enemy that the U.S. Constitution speaks of
22 vs 6 May be the Anti-Christ

The last two questions are particularly interesting, as I believe they are, within the American civil religion, two versions of the same thing.

For the record, I believe all of these claims are false.


Par said...

I am suprised by the Democrats responses too.

Especially the numbers over 10 perecent because I expect the opposition party to beleive the worst about Obama. Just as the Republicans had wacky ideas about Bush and even made a movie about assasinating him.

Most suprising to me is the 15 percent of Democrats that beleive he is a Muslim! 15 percent of his own Party!

The great communicator needs to work on message within his own party it seems.

Kerri said...

I am surprised at how high some of these are... and disturbed. I really wouldn't have thought that 57% of Republicans actually think Obama is a Muslim.

halifax said...

For what it’s worth, here are my two cents:

Is a Muslim—no

Was not born in the U.S. and so is not eligible to be president—no

Wants to take away Americans' right to own guns—like most left-wing urbanites, Mr. Obama would prefer that the 2nd amendment did not exist

Wants to turn over the sovereignty of the United States to a one world government—Mr. Obama would like to run the entire world himself (like Mr. Bush before him), and certainly wouldn’t turn over power to anyone else

Wants to use an economic attack or a terrorist attack as an excuse to take dictatorial powers—like Lincoln, Wilson, FDR, and Bush II, Mr. Obama would take advantage of any crisis to arrogate power to himself and his office

Wants the terrorists to win—no

Is a socialist—depends upon the definition; would certainly prefer socialized health care; believes in big government technocracy, corporatism, neo-fascism/national socialism; probably doesn’t want to abolish private property, but believes that, ultimately, the state owns everything and everyone; to use the ancient Greek term, he is a believer in despotism

Resents America's heritage—unclear exactly what this means, but it is likely that Mr. Obama is not proud of everything that America has done (I’m not either—e.g. Nationalized health care, government-owned auto companies, the bank bail-out, the war in Iraq, the War of Northern Aggression, the treatment of the Indian population, etc.)

Is a domestic enemy that the U.S. Constitution speaks of—he is certainly an enemy of constitutional government, but, since the US Constitution is dead, I don’t suppose it matters anymore; he’s most certainly not an enemy of the US government, but its most enthusiastic supporter as he expands its reach more deeply into every aspect of our lives

May be the Anti-Christ—'may be', I suppose, but this seems highly unlikely

Anonymous said...

I would wonder what the percentages would be if asked whether they think he is an agnostic or atheist. I bet there would be contradictory overlaps between an affirmative answer to this and to him being a Muslim in some camps.

Michael Kruse said...

So let's do a poll and ask questions like.

Did George Bush secretly conspire to bring down the World Trade center buildings as a pretext for war? (at least one poll I read about four years ago reported 30+% of Dems saying yes and you may remember a book published by our Presbyterian Publishing on just this topic.)

Did Bush lie about WMDs?

Did George Bush want to establish a theocracy?

Was George Bush a fascist wanting to create a fascist empire?

You would get just as silly a list this way.

Sorry delusional opposition is not a Republican problem. It is a cultural problem.

Gruntled said...

I am always for parallel surveys. I don't think, at this moment, that the levels of deeply erroneous thinking are quite the same.

Anonymous said...

"I am always for parallel surveys. I don't think, at this moment, that the levels of deeply erroneous thinking are quite the same."

Of course you don't. You are a centrist that always thinks that the right is more error prone than the left. We get it Beau.

Poll your students and ask them where they see you on the political spectrum. That might be enlightening to you.

Gruntled said...

"You are a centrist that always thinks that the right is more error prone than the left."

Not always; just when it is true, as in this survey. I am empirical social scientist. I go where the data goes. If you have contrasting data, I would be very interested to see it.

Anonymous said...

It is not settled science that sociology professors are really scientist. What you do is interesting and even helpful but your data never speaks for itself as real scientific data does. So that is a card you shouldn't try to play.

Gruntled said...

No data ever speaks for itself. All scientists interpret data through a paradigm.

halifax said...

Among Beau's colleagues, he is viewed as a dangerous conservative, but that should indicate just how far to the left most academics are. I've always thought of Beau as a moderate Democrat, but still, to use an old-fashioned term, a yellow-dog dem who would sooner vote for a yellow dog on the democratic ticket than any republican. Thus, it makes sense that Beau gets a great deal more upset when Dems get attacked than when Republicans do.

In terms of the survey, I don't find it that surprising. Most Americans don't pay much attention to politics, and those that do generally get their news from their friends or sympathetic news sources. As I noted in my response, some of the claims about Obama are a bit wacky (i.e. the Muslim, the 'birther', and the desire to see terrorism win). But many of the claims are just worded awkwardly and certainly could be defended (i.e. I have no doubt, for instance, that Obama and a great majority of elected and appointed Dems would prefer that the 2nd amendment would just go away so that they can regulate guns in any way that they wish).

Gruntled said...

I am a Democrat, but not a yellow dog. I originally registered as a Republican, have voted for Republicans, and support Theodore Roosevelt Republicans when I can find them. I think Lincoln is the second greatest American ever, after only Washington.

I belong to a party, but do not interpret the world in a very partisan way. I want there to be two strong, sensible, balanced parties sharing in the government of the nation.

halifax said...

Your response is interesting because it goes to heart of our political disagreements. I am not a Republican, but I tend to support them. I cannot think of a single Democrat at the national level for whom I would even consider voting (perhaps Senator Webb from VA).

However, many of my favorite American politicians were Democrats, at least in some incarnation of that party (e.g. John Randolph, John Calhoun, Grover Cleveland), and many of the American politicians that I revile were Republicans (Lincoln and his whole merry crew, TR, Bush II). So, the kind of the Republican that you like is precisely the kind that I can't abide, and I'm certain that the kind of Democrat that I like is the kind that you can't abide.

I'm sure that you are closer to 'normal' Americans on this subject, but I take my solace in the words of FH Bradley, who said that there is no such thing as a lost cause because there is no such thing as a won cause.

By the way, the reason that social scientists began to use the term 'corporatist' to describe certain types of intervention and control of the economy by government is that they understood (rightly) that the term 'fascism', which had theretofore been used to describe such intervention could no longer be used in a neutral way. But they certainly knew that domestic corporatism walked like a duck and quacked like a duck, if you know what I mean.

halifax said...
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halifax said...
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Anonymous said...

Since the topic has turned a bit to Gruntled's politics, I was curious what you thought of your own congressman Chandler.

Gruntled said...

I generally support Ben Chandler. I have worked for him in the past, and no doubt will again in the future. I tried to persuade him to vote yes on the health care bill, unsuccessfully. But one vote does not a career make.

I think he is right that the 6th district of Kentucky needs a blue dog Democrat. Personally I hope he stays in the House, though I think he will leave if he thinks he can become Governor.

DocWithHeart said...

I love the anonymous posts that bash my dear former professor. At least have the dignity of identifying yourself/-selves.

DocWithHeart said...

I thought when I immigrated here that I was going to become the citizen of a civilized nation. The poll results you posted indicate to me that I was mistaken. Also, who cares if Obama was Muslim? I thought this country was accepting and tolerant of all religions. Or is Islam a banned religion in this country? Is there a law prohibiting people who are not Christian from running for president. Oh God, there might there?

Gruntled said...

Lydia, I thought Colin Powell gave the best answer to this question. First, it is false that President Obama is Muslim. Second, it would not be a bad thing if he were.

Anonymous said...


Article VI section 3

"The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

There law says there will be no religous test for anyone in government, from your mailman to the president. We are a secular nation, but with a very religous populace.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to America. We have a right to be anonymous here and to bash as you call it. Aren't you really anonymous too?

Kerri said...

I would like to see just one of Beau's colleagues that actually considers him a "dangerous conservative"!

Anonymous said...

I think halifax's comment was made with tongue firmly planted in cheek to make a point (humour). I may be wrong.