Are Republicans Really This Nutty?
It’s not easy being a black, gay Republican and when news stories like this come out, it’s even harder. According to a poll done by the liberal website Daily Kos, they interviewed 2000 “self-identified” Republicans and found the following:
• 39% of Republicans want President Obama to be impeached.
• 63% think Obama is a socialist.
• Only 42% believe Obama was born in the United States.
• 21% think ACORN stole the 2008 election — that is, that Obama didn’t actually win it, and isn’t legitimately the president, with 55% saying they are “not sure.” This number is actually significantly lower than it was in a similar question from Public Policy Polling (D) back in November, which said that 52% of Republicans thought ACORN stole it. So does this mean Obama is gaining ground among Republicans? As it is, only just over 20% of Republicans will say that Obama actually won the election.
• 53% think Sarah Palin is more qualified than Obama to be president.
• 23% want to secede from the United States.
• 73% think gay people should not be allowed to teach in public schools. This position puts the GOP base well to the right of none other than Ronald Reagan, who helped defeat the Briggs Initiative, a 1978 referendum in California that would have forbidden gays or people who advocated gay rights from teaching in public schools.
• 31% want contraception to be outlawed.
Now at first blush, a moderate Republican like myself might think: “Wow, this party is filled with nothing but loonies. Why in the world do I want to be a part of that?” And so, said moderate gets discouraged and leaves the party to become an independent.
But before we moderates start heading for the hills, we have to ask a few questions. Ann Althouse, looked at the same story and came up with a few questions of her own:
…we have to stop first and wonder how good are the Daily Kos/Research 2000 pollsters. I picked up this story at Talking Points Memo, where there’s no information about why I should trust this poll. How did they locate their 2,000 “self-identified” Republicans, who, TPM tells us represent “the psyche of the minority party’s base”?
Also, I wonder if some people who aren’t conservative at all lie to pollsters — especially a poll with a lefty name like “Daily Kos” — so they can skew the results and give those folks the results they imagine the poll is designed to produce: that non-liberals are evil/stupid.
I guess I have some reservations about a poll that was conducted by a partisan website. Of course they want to produce a poll that makes Republicans look like small-minded bigots. As Althouse notes, these are “wonderful anti-Republican PR results.” We now have “proof” that the GOP is full of crazy people.
Now, there are crazy people who call themselves Republicans. I do think there is a problem in the GOP related to anti-intellectualism and outright bigotry. I’m not saying this poll has no bearing, but I do think it tends to skew the results to make people on the Left feel good about themselves and discount those on the right, the ones that aren’t crazy or think Sarah Palin is a genius. It feed into the popular myth on the Left that middle class voters should vote their economic interests, meaning they should vote Democrat and that anyone who votes GOP is stupid, evil or racist.
There is also a message here for moderate Republicans who might be tempted to take this result as gospel. Instead of looking at this report and giving up on the GOP, moderates need to focus on what is good: the Scott Brown win, groups like Log Cabin Republicans and Republicans for Environmental Protection who work for change, and many other good things. The fact is, I know a lot of good and reasonable Republicans who don’t wear tin foil hats.
The GOP isn’t all paradise. But it isn’t all psycho ward either.