13 February 2010

Political Ignorance Abounds Among Both Democrats and Republicans

Excerpt from Forbes: An Inconvenient Truth
Political ignorance is widespread among voters in both parties.

A recent poll sponsored by the liberal Daily Kos Web site shows that many self-identified Republican voters hold irrational and extremist views--a finding that Kos founder Markos Moulitsos deems "startling." Unfortunately, too many commentators mistakenly assume that such ideas are confined to one side of the political spectrum.

Strong partisans are more likely to hold extreme views, such as the "birther" belief that Barack Obama wasn't really born in the U.S. (endorsed by 36% of Kos' respondents). ... [M]any of the Kos findings are roughly accurate. But one can easily find parallel examples of dubious views among Democratic voters.

Moulitsos highlights the 36% of Republicans in the Kos poll who seem to endorse birtherism, and the 22% who say they aren't sure. Yet a 2007 poll found that 35% of self-identified Democrats believe that President Bush knew about the 9/11 attacks in advance, and 26% said they didn't know if he did.

The results also show that 23% of Republicans say they want their state to secede. But a 2008 Zogby poll found that support for secession was much more common among liberals than conservatives. In that poll, 32% of liberals claimed that their state has a right to secede (compared with only 17% of conservatives), and liberals were also more likely to say that they would support a secession movement in their state. Partisans are disproportionately likely to express support for secession when they are angry at an incumbent administration of the opposite party.

Other examples of irrationality by Democratic voters are not hard to come by. According to a 2009 survey, some 32% of Democrats believe that Jews deserve at least a substantial amount of blame for the financial crisis (compared with 18% of Republicans). In November 2008 some 59% of Obama voters did not know that the Democrats then had control of Congress.

For committed partisans, it's always fun to denounce the ignorance of the other side's voters. Unfortunately, partisan activists tend to ignore the inconvenient truth that their own party's voters are just as bad.

This supports my increasing conviction that one must be irrational to claim to be a Democrat or Republican. Both parties are bringing our nation to bankruptcy and ruin, and you would profess to support one?

Why would you claim to support a corrupt party that wants your money and vote, but is not interested in your opinion? What benefit do you gain, other than the psychological boost caused by the self-illusion of influence?

Be enlightened. Break free of the hold of the two-party dysfunction.

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