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Posted by on Nov 19, 2009 in Politics | 32 comments

Poll: 52% of Republicans Think ACORN Stole Election For Obama

Before you read this story, play this video below to set the proper mood:

Now read this poll:

Losing NY-23 candidate Doug Hoffman became the latest in an increasingly long line of conservative politicians to blame his problems on ACORN yesterday despite the complete lack of evidence the organization played any role in his defeat.

The Republican base is with him though. PPP’s newest national survey finds that a 52% majority of GOP voters nationally think that ACORN stole the Presidential election for Barack Obama last year, with only 27% granting that he won it legitimately. Clearly the ACORN card really is an effective one to play with the voters who will decide whether Hoffman gets to be the Republican nominee in a possible repeat bid in 2010.

Belief in the ACORN conspiracy theory is even higher among GOP partisans than the birther one, which only 42% of Republicans expressed agreement with on our national survey in September.

The ACORN line has been largely promoted by talk radio hosts, then picked up by politicians — yet another sign of the talk radio political culture at work.

Once upon a time, Republican politicians exploited the far right and conservative talk show hosts who could be counted on to get far right members of the party’s political base to the polls to vote Republican. Now, increasingly, the tail is wagging the dog in terms of some prevalent beliefs, talking points and some matters of party strategy. It’s yet another sign of the GOP’s weakening center, which is also reflects the country’s sagging center in an era of intensifying partisan and ideological polarization — as well as a sign of today’s less assertive elected Republican party leadership.

Some Democrats still charged after 2000 that George W. Bush lost the election. But the party leadership in general didn’t question the legitimacy of the Supreme Court’s election (remember Al Gore’s 2000 concession speech?) and the de-delegitmizing George Bush was not the key opposition theme during his presidency But — as in the case of centrists, independents and moderates — Republicans are not a monolithic block, as this poll shows. This poll seems to represent the Glenn Beck fan portion of the party which will pick up the ball and run with anything that can be used to argue that Obama is not a legitimate President. But here in lies the danger for the GOP.

Writes My DD’s Jonathan Singer:

Overall, the American people roundly reject the notion that ACORN somehow stuffed enough ballots — at least 9,500,000 of them — to somehow steal the election from John McCain and give it to Barack Obama. (This theory also compels the conclusion that ACORN somehow forged every single pre-election poll, including even those from Fox News (.pdf), the trend of which tracked almost exactly with the ultimate election results.) Indeed, Americans say no to this theory by a 62 percent to 26 percent margin — including a 72 percent to 18 percent margin among Independents.

If the Republicans want to continue to live in their own world with their own “facts”, they can certainly go ahead and do that. But it’s not so easy to woo new voters to one’s cause when those being wooed think those doing the wooing have only an attenuated relationship with reality.

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Copyright 2009 The Moderate Voice
  • The lunatics are now firmly in control of the Republican party. Or perhaps we should say the talk radio millionaires are saying outrageous things the lunatic fringe wants to hear to pad their bank accounts. Not a good thing for the country as a two party system is something I believe in.

  • elrod

    I’m sure none of this has anything to do with race. None at all. Can’t be.

    • You’ve got it elrod – race baiting brought the Republican party to power but as demographics change it will be their downfall.

  • ProfElwood

    Truthers. Birthers. ACORNers?
    … racecarders?

    • Don Quijote

      Truthers. Birthers. ACORNers?
      … racecarders?

      How about Republican? or Conservative?

  • JSpencer

    Those numbers won’t be terribly surprising numbers to all the folks who have watched the steadily devolving standards of the right over the past decade or more, but this catering of the GOP to the dumb and dumber contingent of the electorate is still highly disturbing. I remember a time when standards were actually important to the GOP, but that was back when self-respect was considered less dispensible. I’m sure many people who read about this story will comfort themselves with the old false equivalence kneejerking, but that won’t change the reality, and it won’t help the party – or the country one whit either. Sorry to say, I also believe there is a race component at work here – although I think it takes a backseat to old-fashioned stupidity. The Becks and Limbaughs would still be working themselves (and their sycophants) into a lather even if Obama was white.

  • mlhradio

    Statistics can be alarming when played the right way. However, all statistics must be taken into perspective. While 52% of republicans may erroneously say that the election was stolen, you must keep in mind that only 27% of the electorate self-identifies as republican ( 52% times 27% equals…14%, not exactly an impressive percentage. 14% is dipping into Lizard Brain Territory ( Even if you add in the group “republican leaning independents”, that still works out an anemic 22% of the electorate.

    To put this in perspective, 18% of Americans believe that the Sun revolves around the Earth. And 31% believe in astrology.

    • GeorgeSorwell


      With all due respect, I disagree with you about the size of those numbers.

      Fourteen percent of the population is an impressive number of people. And 22% is anything but anemic–it’s nearly a quarter of the population.

      Compared to the percentage of the voting-age population that actually votes, the people who believe that Acorn stole the election is pretty high.

      It’s not hard to imagine why they are being pandered to.

  • mlhradio has it right.

    I’d call this yet one more way to measure the “fringe”.

    • TheMagicalSkyFather

      I agree but it does mean the Republicans are now a majority fringe party.

      • pacatrue

        Yeah, this implies that Republicans are a fringe group.

    • pacatrue

      I think I have to disagree with yours and mlhradio’s statistical analysis. 🙂 It’s not just that some 14% of Americans believe something wacky. It’s that a large number of a defined group do. To put it another way, let’s say your goal is to predict whether or not someone believes ACORN stole the election. Assuming the sample is valid, it would appear that self-identifying as Republican would be a major predictor of this false belief. If you want to know if someone believes this false thing, the very first question you should ask them is if they are Republican. (Of course, there might be better predictors as well, such as “do you listen to Glenn Beck?”)

      The same is not true for many other crazy beliefs like the sun revolving around the Earth. If you wanted to predict who would believe that, a Republican or Democratic identity would not help much.

      Another way to think of it: Let’s say 99% of gay men thought that the government has a plan to round them up and gas them by the end of the year. This would quite rightly be a very surprising statistic. But, by the logic of mlhradio’s comment, we could say this is not surprising at all. if about 5% of Americans are gay, then only 2.5% of Americans think this. Well, 2.5% is within the margin of error of almost every poll, so this statistic is meaningless.

      But it’s not.

    • GeorgeSorwell


      I was going to say what Pacatrue said, more or less.

      The problem is that a large number of a defined group of people believe this. Being a self-identified Republican is a dependable predictor of this belief.

      This assumes–as, again, Pacatrue said–that the sampling is valid.

      I don’t love what the Democrats are doing. But am I really supposed to vote the party that panders to people who think Acorn stole the last election for Obama?

  • jchem

    This headline certainly makes for some entertaining stuff to read, but I agree with mlhradio and Polimom that some perspective is in order. From the comments in the link:

    Your sample is skewed: 53% of those surveyed say they voted for Obama’s opponents or don’t remember. But he WON with 53%.

    Also, a little math shouldn’t hurt anyone. The poll was conducted with a sample size of 1,066 registered voters, 33% of whom identify as Republicans. So in the pool we get roughly 352 people who identify as Republicans. If you want to call this representative of a solid national sample, fine. But it doesn’t take a lot to actually read through the results. One bit missing that I thought could have also been a headline was the question regarding healthcare: 40% support it while 52% oppose it. But then again, talking about these crazy Repubs is much more fun than talking about something that’s been in the news for the past several months.

  • Thanks, pacatrue, for some good stats on this.

  • DLS

    Sure, they are fringists — the counterpart to, albeit smaller than and even dwarfed by, the fringe leftists.

    Why this bizarre attack on the GOP (including on this lefty site), similar to obscession toward Palin?

    Is it a distraction given the problems the lib Dems have created in Washington increasingly this year?

    Surely it’s not a pathetic defense of ACORN and attempt to rehab and rescue it, so maybe it can corrupt the Census next year, if not merely regain its federal funding.

  • “Why this bizarre attack on the GOP”

    It’s not an attack on the GOP; it’s merely a statistical analysis based on data given freely by said GOP members. If half of those who are Republicans are considered even by you to be “fringists”, maybe that says something bizarre about Republicans as opposed to those who are pointing out the stats.

  • DLS

    “It’s not an attack on the GOP”

    or an obscession with Sarah Palin. Or a round earth, or downward (inward) gravitational forces. Silly me.

    • Try replying to the substance of my comment, instead of your ridiculous quibbling. Looking back, the post does attack the GOP because it’s just friggin weird-o world that half of Republicans are (even according to YOU) “fringists”. There’s nothing attacking them in presenting the stats, though, and the stats are certainly telling. Can you at least agree with that?

  • DLL83

    To say that ACORN “stole” an election that Republicans had no hope of winning in the first place is certainly not the most well thought-out position to say the least. On the other hand, what little I have heard about ACORN, whether true or not, has been quite unfavorable. It’s not as if they’re a squeaky-clean organization, so these poll results don’t surprise me in the least. Maybe I’m being naive, but I suspect that many of the 52%, if presented with the actual numbers as given in this article (i.e. that 9,500,000 votes would have had to be fake for this to be true), would rethink their answer. This to me is less an indication of stupidity as it is of people’s propensity to believe what they are told by people who they see as sharing their own values.

  • mlhradio

    Tangentially, I do find that the republicans’ monomaniacal obsession with ACORN to be curious. For such a minor group that most people (including myself) had never heard of until last year’s election coverage, the frothy-mouthed pundits sure are raising a fuss.

    …then again, the exact same could be said for Sarah Palin. So I guess monomaniacal obsession is fair game for both sides, eh?

    • TheMagicalSkyFather

      Deibold is a better example but now they will probably be disliked on the right as well. With any luck maybe we will finally all decide paper tails are mighty sweet in election machines.

  • Don Quijote

    …then again, the exact same could be said for Sarah Palin. So I guess monomaniacal obsession is fair game for both sides, eh?

    Uh, Sarah Palin was the Governor of a US State and a candidate for the Vice Presidency one of the major party ticket, and her supporters believe that she can win the nomination for 2012 and possibly the Presidency…

    Not quite comparable…

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    76% of Dems thought Bush was illegitimate in 2001 according to the below poll. I also still back that assessment though I feel that he won 2004. Regardless many more Dems thought Bush illegitimate by real numbers and by percentage.

    • “76% of Dems thought Bush was illegitimate in 2001 according to the below poll.”

      The difference, as well you know I’m sure, is that there’s actual evidence that this might be the case. As for the silly acorn claims — even if acorn members were registering Mickey Mouse to vote in order to raise their fees, fake people don’t actually show up at polls. So unless these Republicans think there’s something inherently wrong with registering poor people and people of color and people who live near universities, well, there’s just no merit in thinking acorn helped “steal” the election.

  • mlhradio

    >>Fourteen percent of the population is an impressive number of people. And 22% is anything but anemic–it’s nearly a quarter of the population. It’s not hard to imagine why they are being pandered to.<<

    More than 20% of the population also believes in witchcraft, astrology, communication with the dead, extraterrestrial visitations, and hauntings (Gallup Link). Does that mean we should pander to those groups, too?

    • GeorgeSorwell


      I don’t see any correlation between belief in astrology and politics. So if I ran a political party that opposed the Democrats, I wouldn’t spend my resources on that brand of weirdness.

      On the other hand, if I could count on some 22% of the population being upset by Obama over this brand of weirdness, I would make all the hay I could.

      And if you don’t think it’s happening, turn on the Fox News Channel for a while.

  • Leonidas

    Public Policy Polling is total garbage polling. I recall a poll they did about Obama being the Antichrist and if you looked at the actual responses it turned out that 5% of those who voted for Obama had the view that he was indeed the Anti-Christ. You just can’t take this organization with any degree of seriousness without falling into the same class as birthers and trig Palin conspiracy theorists.Additionally wiki points out

    Public Policy Polling (PPP) is an American, Democratic Party-affiliated polling firm based in Raleigh, North Carolina. PPP was founded in 2001 by businessman and Democratic pollster Dean Debnam, the firm’s current president and chief executive officer.


    The neutrality of PPP’s surveys has been questioned since the firm’s clients are exclusively Democratic-affiliated organizations, and because surveys on health care reform have included polarizing questions such as if respondents think President Barack Obama is the “Antichrist”.

    This poll has as much validity as one done by Rush Limbaugh. Pure garbage. Next time before posting a poll, I suggest you know a little more about the organization conducting it.

  • Leonidas

    oh a little snippet from the Obama Antichrist poll

    The extremism in New Jersey isn’t limited to the right though. 19% of voters in the state, including 32% of Democrats, think that George W. Bush had prior knowledge of 9/11.

    So anyone who believes PPP on this Acorn stole the election bit, should also believe that 32% of democrats in New Jersey are “Truthers”. I think most people are are smart enough to realize this is a bogus polling operation, at least in regards to this type of tabloid headline polling.

  • Leonidas

    BTW if you want real ACORN news, Big Government has released another damning video…)

    Lavelle Stewart, of ACORN in South Central Los Angeles, tells us she thinks we have to hook up with “someone who’s on that international sex business level,” that “14 and 15 year olds been traveling overseas for years,” that she can do independent research for us, and that she has had meetings with Porn magnate Larry Flynt. As for laundering the sex money into my faux political campaign, Lavelle says, “there are ways, people do it all the time. Yeah there are ways, especially out here in California.”

    additionally, another interesting related item

    Breitbart to AG Holder: Investigate ACORN or We’ll Release More Tapes Just Before 2010 Election

    • GeorgeSorwell


      Time will tell how central these beliefs about Acorn are to current Republicans.

      Meanwhile, despite your complaints that complaints about Acorn are unfair, you offer a link of Breitbart threatening the Attorney General with tapes about Acorn.

      You can’t have it both ways.

  • kritt11

    If they believe that they are totally blocking out the fact that the Republican party was in total disarray around the time of the election. The extreme choice of Palin as McCain’s VP was due to his awareness that he was not popular with the base of his party, and to a lame attempt to attract some of the female voters who were disenchanted when Obama won the nomination. Also, due to unhappiness with the GOP after 8 years of Bush/Cheney, many Independents and moderate Republicans voted for Obama.

    This is revisionist history at its worst. The most unfortunate aspect of the party is its tendency to appeal to the lowest common denominator. The GOP has chosen not to uplift its members, but to appeal to their worst fears with deception.

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