Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Is extremism becoming mainstream?

Is extremism becoming mainstream in 21st century American politics?

Our latest national poll would seem to say yes- 35% voters in the country either think that Barack Obama was not born in the United States or that George W. Bush intentionally allowed the 9/11 attacks to occur so that we could go to war in the Middle East. A very troubled 2% of the population buys into both of those conspiracy theories.

It's hard to call a third of the country a fringe.

Only 59% of Americans say confidently that they think Barack Obama was born in the country while 23% think he was not, and 18% are unsure. Among Republicans there are more voters- 42%- who think he was born somewhere else than there are- 37%- who will say for sure that he was born here.

The far out sentiments aren't limited to the right though. 14% of Americans, including 25% of Democrats, think that George W. Bush let 9/11 happen to justify war, and 8% aren't sure.

When more than a third of the population either thinks that the current President doesn't legitimately hold the office or that a former President was attacking the country from within for political gain it shows a pretty remarkable lack of trust in our leaders.

We also took a look at the Anti-Christ question nationally and found that a pretty similar number of voters are willing to go so far as to hang that label on either Obama or Bush. 10% of voters say they think Obama is the Anti-Christ with 11% unsure and 8% say the same of Bush with an equal 11% unsure. Some opponents of Obama have pointed to biblical 'proof' to show that Obama is the Anti-Christ but the relatively equivalent number of Americans saying the same of Bush would seem to be an indication folks' saying that is more a way to express that they really don't like a politician than it is rooted in theology.

It's still remarkable that 16% of Americans will go so far as to declare one of the last two Presidents the 'Anti-Christ' with another 19% unsure about whether that label should apply to one or the other or both.

Strange times in American politics. Forget bipartisanship, it would be an accomplishment if we could just get to the point where excess partisans didn't think the opposite party's President was the Anti-Christ!

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10 comments:

Matt Osborne said...

As you're the only polling concern that's taken an actual interest in this, I'd be curious to see some polling on eliminationist attitudes.

Ray Radlein said...

"It's still remarkable that 16% of Americans will go so far as to declare one of the last two Presidents the 'Anti-Christ' with another 19% unsure about whether that label should apply to one or the other or both."

Or both? Regardless of one's political or theological leanings, I find it hard to imagine that anyone could think that both George W. Bush and Barack Obama were the Anti-Christ.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I thought there were going to be AZ Gov numbers as well?

Anonymous said...

I would find the anticrist figures suspicious given that those that answered yes are most likely to be young. I wonder if they took the question seriously or responded as a joke? You do not see a simialr disparity on other issues.

Anonymous said...

Regarding where Obama was born, how many are so stupid as to not realize that Hawaii is actually part of the United States?

N said...

How many people were polled? Who were they? How were they selected? This information does not appear to be available anywhere, and without it the poll results are meaningless.

Anonymous said...

one man's anti-christ is another man's savior.

that's why religion is a waste of time & energy.

Newton Gimmick said...

My GF's Mother is a crazy Republican, who thinks Obama is an Arab. I'm not sure if that's just because she's so right wing, or if she really believes it. Pretty troubling though, as she's otherwise a pretty smart, average person.

I think it has more to do with "towing the line" than any real thought. Just nonsense dittohead stuff.

snaip said...

N, maybe you should take a closer look at the article. Especially the second last sentence. 621 voters responded. Of these 83% were over 30 years old. No details of who or how they were selected though.

Anonymous said...

When you have 11% say they are uncertain, I would guess you have about 11% of the populace who wouldn't know what an "antichrist" is. It's not the same as maybe.

 
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