Thursday, March 25, 2010

Harris Poll--24 percent Republicans believe Obama is Anti-Christ

This is an interesting poll from The Daily Beast, which reveals Republican attitudes about President Barack Obama. From The Daily Beast:

On the heels of health care, a new Harris poll reveals Republican attitudes about Obama: Two-thirds think he's a socialist, 57 percent a Muslim—and 24 percent say "he may be the Antichrist."

To anyone who thinks the end of the health-care vote means a return to civility, wake up.

Obama Derangement Syndrome—pathological hatred of the president posing as patriotism—has infected the Republican Party. Here's new data to prove it:

* 67 percent of Republicans (and 40 percent of Americans overall) believe that Obama is a socialist.

* 57 percent of Republicans (32 percent overall) believe that Obama is a Muslim.

* 45 percent of Republicans (25 percent overall) agree with the Birthers in their belief that Obama was "not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president."

* 38 percent of Republicans (20 percent overall) say that Obama is "doing many of the things that Hitler did."

* Scariest of all, 24 percent of Republicans (14 percent overall) say that Obama "may be the Antichrist."

These numbers all come from a brand-new Harris poll, inspired in part by my new book Wingnuts. It demonstrates the cost of the campaign of fear and hate that has been pumped up in the service of hyper-partisanship over the past 15 months. We are playing with dynamite by demonizing our president and dividing the United States in the process. What might be good for ratings is bad for the country.

The poll, which surveyed 2,230 people right at the height of the health-care reform debate, also clearly shows that education is a barrier to extremism. Respondents without a college education are vastly more likely to believe such claims, while Americans with college degrees or better are less easily duped. It's a reminder of what the 19th-century educator Horace Mann once too-loftily said: "Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge."

Full results of the Harris poll can be found here.

The interesting thing I found about this poll is actually the link between education and beliefs in such outrageous claims. Going into the Harris poll data, there is this interesting data:

These replies are also strongly correlated with education. The less education people have had the more likely they are to believe all of these statements. Consider these differences between those with no college education and those with post-graduate education:

* He is a socialist (45% and 20%)
* He wants to take away Americans' right to own guns (45% and 19%)
* He is a Muslim (43% and 9%)
* He was not born in the United States so is not eligible to be president (32% and 7%)
* He is a racist (28% and 9%)
* He is anti-American (27% and 9%)
* He is doing many of the things Hitler did (24% and 10%).

Those respondents with no college education appear to have believed the more outrageous statements than those respondents with a post-graduate education. I do wish the Harris poll would have broken down the education factor by whether the respondents had no college degree, some college degree, a bachelors, or post graduate education here. But the results are certainly striking--respondents who did not have a college education had a higher belief that President Obama was a Muslim, was not born in the U.S., was a racist, and did things that Adolf Hitler did. The less educated these Republicans are, the more they are easily swayed by GOP hate and fear-mongering. Going back to the 24 percent of Republicans that believe President Obama is the Anti-Christ, I wonder just how many of these Republicans feel they are justified to take a gun and assassinate President Obama? After all, it only takes one to believe he/she is killing the Anti-Christ.

Now that is scary.

No comments: