Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Origin of the Anti-Christ question

I've had several reporters call me now and ask where on earth we came up with the Anti-Christ question.

Well we didn't.

Last week we were scrambling to get a poll about Joe Wilson out and posted the questionnaire on our blog to get input from our readers and make sure we weren't missing any important angles on that story. We also got that call for suggestions up on Twitter.

One of the suggestions was that we poll on this question of whether Barack Obama is the Anti-Christ. We couldn't get it on the Wilson poll due to length considerations, but I got several follow up e-mails and messages on Twitter from people saying they really did think we should ask it, so we did.

We put it at the very end of the New Jersey poll, even after the demographic questions, because we just didn't know how people would take it. It is definitely the strangest question we have ever asked. But very few respondents- less than 3%-hung up and didn't answer that last one.

We'll be honest. It took about six or seven takes to record that question with a straight face and without busting out in laughter at the ridiculousness of it. But I think the answer does tell us something about the level of extremism out there and how far some people are taking their hatred of President Obama.

Anyway, our company really is trying to find an intersection between high quality, accurate scientific polling and genuine utilization of social media. So the moral of the story is send us your crazy question idea and we really might ask it.


Doverspa said...

Remember that respondents do not always answer truthfully. It would not surprise me that respondents who think you are pulling their chain or being silly by asking the question would "mess with" your poll by responding a certain way.

I think the "Birther" and "Truther" questions are accurate and show 1/3 of Rs and Ds are conspiracy theorists of various sorts.

But 8% could be people screwing with you rather than an honest opinion. Just a possibility to keep in mind.

Doverspa said...

Also, for control purposes in future polls, can you ask if people think Pres. Bush was the anti-Crist as well?

Anonymous said...

The question can tell you nothing about attitudes to Obama.
The Antichrist may be taken literally, metaphorically, or satirically. There is no way of knowing how the term is understood. It may well be that religious conservatives - who may believe in an Antichrist - would use the term for Obama as political hyperbole, in the same way that politicians are likened to Hitler, but do not regard Obama as literally the Antichrist.
Your facetious question was probably appreciated as such by many (especially moderate and left) who answered positively.
A bad question. Not useful answers. You do yourselves a disservice.

Anonymous said...

Can you ask who the Whore of Babylon is next time? Preferably in California. I'd be interested to see if Pelosi, Boxer, or Feinstein comes out on top.

AuntPittypat said...

I have to agree with the commenters here. I noticed in the internals that those who believed Obama was the anti-Christ were disproportionately in the 18-29 age group and in the 609 area code.

Now, if memory serves, the 609 area code is southern Jersey which might account for something. This is where the Pine Barrens are and people still believe in the Jersey Devil.

Seriously, it seems like the generation that is used to being punked might find that question seems too Borat and answer "yes" as a joke.

Anonymous said...

Whore of Babylon? Didn't know Babylon moved to California. thanks for the info, dude.

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