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.