Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Rationality takes a hit in NC

Some days it's hard to hold on to that very dear belief in rationality.

Exhibit A is a poll conducted during the last week in North Carolina by Public Policy Polling that asked people, "Do you think Barack Obama was born in the United States?"

26 percent of respondents answered that he wasn't; another 20 percent weren't sure. Among Republicans in our state, 47 percent answered that he wasn't, and an additional 29% weren't sure. Less than a quarter of Republicans answered that our President was born in the U.S.

Democrats did better only in comparison--only 75 percent said that the President was born in the U.S.

There's bad news for Hawaii. Only 88 percent of Republicans provided positive responses to the question, "Do you consider Hawaii to be part of the United States?" For Democrats, the figure was 92 percent.

In response to a post last week about the "birthers" now throwing "temper tantrums," Sam Spagnola commented
The goal is to discredit a whole movement by identifying it with some on the fringe or some other group that can be isolated.
And later...
The whole "birther" linkage is proof enough. They represent a clear minority, yet you want to tar the entire GOP by linking them with the fringe.
The poll indicates that the "fringe" among conservatives and Republicans is the minority that rejects the "birther" argument.

In fairness, the poll has a standard error of plus or minus 3.6 percent. So, it may be that only 28 percent of North Carolina Republicans are so grossly misinformed.

Virginians didn't fare much better in a similar poll; there a third of Republicans got the President's nativity correct.


jhs said...

Dave: I have to seriously question the liberal leaning PPP's integrity on this poll. I know a lot of Republicans and I can't find one who will tell me they believe the president is not an American citizen.

That chairman of the state GOP has already dismissed the birthers as irrational.

Dave Ribar said...

Another poll with a few hundred more Republican birthers.

The wording of the PPP questions seems straightforward (the wording is given verbatim in the post).

Even if the sampling on these polls is flawed, the polls are still identifying hundreds of birthers.

What's the specific evidence regarding the validity of the poll?

The bottom line is that the Republican Party happily nurtured this particular beast--it can now tame it.

Hmm, not one Republican? I guess Stormy, Jaycee and several other local regulars must have flipped over to the Democratic column.

Dave Ribar said...


If you question the integrity of the PPP poll, why did you cite the same poll?

jhs said...

Because folks are always dismissing Rasmussen polls as conservative leaning, and PPP polls as liberal, I found it interesting that a liberal leaning poll found such a drop in support for the current president.

That's why I cited the poll.

I'm still looking for a Republican in North Carolina to tell me they don't believe the president is an American.

I heard a lot of Clinton Democrats saying he was a Muslim foreigner in the spring of 2008 and I went around correcting them and even wrote a long column about it on my former blog.

I will correct any person who believes the president is foreign born because it is untrue.

Roch101 said...

John McCain was foreign born by his own admission (although we never saw his birth certificate) and he was eligible for the presidency. How come, when it comes to Obama, the context seems to be that he would be ineligible if he were not born in Hawaii?

Dave Ribar said...


We don't know that fringe leftists wouldn't have pursued this if Sen. McCain had been elected. It's very doubtful, however, that the Democratic establishment would have nurtured the charge, certainly not to the extent of introducing a Democratic version of H.R. 1503.

Recall that there was a question about Dick Cheney's eligibility to serve as V.P. The 12th amendment of the Constitution prohibits electors for voting for both a President and a Vice President from their state. At the time that Cheney selected himself (recall also that he was in charge of then-candidate Bush's selection committee), Cheney and Bush were both legal residents of Texas. Cheney was allowed to quickly change his residency back to Wyoming. Democrats sued (just as some Republicans sued regarding Obama's eligibility). The suits were dismissed, and the matter was effectively dropped.

Roch101 said...

Yes, I remember, Dave. Harriet Myers presided over the suit on Cheney's eligibility which, as I seem to recall was dismissed because those suing did not have standing.

The point I was trying to make is that those doubting Obama's birthplace are so shortsighted as to not even recognize the progression of events should it be revealed that Obama was not born in Hawaii.

If that were the case, it would put Obama in the same boat as McCain: A foreign-born citizen.

Dave Ribar said...


Wouldn't the progression of events at this point be to make Biden President and for a Vice President to be appointed?

As a practical matter, McCain's citizenship was only relevant before the election (more formally, before the Electoral College met). It's a moot issue now.