New Poll Results Are Proof That Republicans Don't Think
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A village cannot revise village life to suit the village idiot. -- Frank Schaeffer
On Tuesday, the Daily Kos published a new Research 2000 study showing the current state of belief in the GOP. Though the results aren't anything new -- indeed, the study just puts hard numbers to everything we already thought we knew about the right wing -- the data also show, in sharp detail, just how far to the right the GOP has been dragged by its right wing...and how far out of step they are with the rest of America as a result.
The data also show that Frank Schaeffer was more than fair in characterizing these people as America's "village idiots." For one thing, they really are a bitterly small minority. Last week, I laid out some numbers of my own, which showed that the conservative movement as it's currently constituted only represents the views of about 25 to 30 percent of Americans. (And, historically, that's about as big as conservative movements ever get in the US -- though it's plenty big enough to do some real damage.) Furthermore, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll done last October, only about 20 percent of Americans currently identify as Republican, which is a 40-year low. There's nothing about our current GOP that can be supportably described as "mainstream."
Kos's pollsters did a valiant job of getting inside the heads of this 20 percent. But the story they tell also shows how severe the conservatives' level of derangement has become; and just how little introspection the conservatives have done to reckon with the causes and consequences of their own failures. And it also documents the vast chasm this willful refusal to deal with reality is creating between this noisy minority and the vast majority of Americans.
To grasp the size of the gap, you only have to compare Kos' numbers on conservative beliefs with the most current available stats on the attitudes of the country as a whole. So -- that's what I did below. This discussion doesn't address all of the the questions in Kos's summary, because good data wasn't available on some of them; but a look at most of the high points gives you an accurate picture of just how far out of the mainstream the GOP is pulling.
Should Barack Obama be impeached, or not?
Not Sure 29
Over a third of Republicans say Obama should be impeached. ("For what? Who the heck knows?" asks Kos. The beauty of being a village idiot is that you never have to explain yourself.) Nearly another third think it's an open question; only one-third say no.
But out in the Real America, Obama's Gallup approval ratings are well within the normal range for a one-year president. Since his TV appearances last week, they're up over 50% again -- and, as Rachel Maddow notes, the Omentum is rising.
Do you think Barack Obama is a socialist?
Not Sure 16
OK, fine. All faithful FOX watchers know that Obama is a socialist. But the problem for the village idiots is: it's increasingly true that socialism is a terrifying boogeyman that only they can see. For them, it's Mao and Stalin. For the rest of us, it's just another day of government-built roads and schools.
An April 2009 Rasmussen poll (and remember, Rasmussen's findings generally skew rightward) found that only 53% of Americans thought that capitalism was better than socialism. A full 20% though we could do with some more socialism around here; and 37% didn't have an opinion either way.