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Do a majority of Republicans really believe ACORN stole the election from John McCain?

A couple of days ago, Ross Douthat and I spoke to a class that E.J. Dionne teaches. At some point, I was riffing about how it's a pretty odd political system in which a solid 45 percent of the people believe in death panels and yet public opinion on health-care reform is closely split. Douthat replied that he'd seen research showing that most of the people who say they hold extreme opinions do not, if questioned more deeply, hold those opinions. It's more of a group identification thing. I'm choosing to believe he's right, because I don't really know what to do with a polity in which 52 percent of Republicans believe ACORN stole the election from John McCain.

By Ezra Klein  |  November 20, 2009; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  Polls  
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it's 52% of Republicans -- just another group identification thing

Posted by: bdballard | November 20, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

I wonder what percentage of liberals think Gore actually won in 2000, even though almost all the facts show in a completed recount, Gore loses. Most people don't believe Acorn was a deciding factor, but the left continually pretends that Acorn has done nothing wrong and had 0 effect. The truth is somewhere in between.

Posted by: Natstural | November 20, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Do Republicans really not understand the difference between registration fraud and voter fraud or do they just play dumb for rhetorical purposes? Natstural, feel free to help me out here...

Posted by: tagimaucia | November 20, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Do you think that Barack Obama legitimately
won the Presidential election last year, or do you think that ACORN stole it for him? If you think he won the election legitimately, press 1. If you think ACORN stole it for him, press 2. If you’re not sure, press 3.

Thats the question asked by PPP that got this infamous 52% of Republicans who think ACORN stole the election for Obama.

If this were court I'd object for leading the witness. I mean, sure if u call up 1,000 random republicans....most of whom arent all that thrilled to have this guy as president, and ask them this kind of leading question sure you'll get some wacky result like half of them saying he stole it, why not express your malcontent over the 2008 election here. Its a great example of really crappy polling.

You could just as soon as if he was from Mars and you'd get a certain percentage of people saying yes, does that prove that say 25% of conservatives are clinically insane??

Posted by: zeppelin003 | November 20, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Um, Natstural -- you're comparing one of the closest presidential elections of all time (2000) with a clear electoral college victory. They aren't comparable.

Posted by: rpy1 | November 20, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

why do we even go down this road (tit for tat). Ezra i thought you were above this. Bush won in 2000 and Obama won in 2008. Nothing anyone says on here changes EITHER situation. All it does is polarize the country further than it needs to go.

Posted by: visionbrkr | November 20, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Not just a "clear electoral college victory", a popular-vote walloping. Obama won by almost ten million votes.

Posted by: thehersch | November 20, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

True, thehersch. Thanks for the clarification.

Posted by: rpy1 | November 20, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Its very similar. In both elections are core group of loyal supporters are not able to accept that their side lost.

Ezra should be above this, but I feel like he is really positioning himself to be the Rush/ Hannity of the left. Not in the amount of followers, but in how he constantly has articles demonizing conservatives/republicans and has posted some downright crazy ideas (like there is no need anymore for states). Its really quite sad. This is what happens when you give someone who should have stuck to posting on DailyKos, a real blog.

Posted by: Natstural | November 20, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

--"Ezra i thought you were above this."--

Pfffffff. Klein hasn't a shred of honor in him.

To whit:

--"45 percent of the people believe in death panels"--

The government is horning in on health care, Klein. Health care is a life and death issue. The government will increasingly be mediating those issues. It is preposterous to pretend that government bureaucrats setting policy on matters of life and death are not in essence death panels.

It is equally valid to contend that the coming slow drift to socialist mediocrity in health care is another form of death by bureaucratic suffocation. "Death Panel" is a swell metaphor.

Valley Girls can prattle on and on about the avowed absurdity of secret chambers of evil politicians voting up or down on individual instances of Citizen Doe Care, but the reality is far more prosaic, and more irredeemably noxious.

Posted by: msoja | November 20, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

*"Death Panel" is a swell metaphor.*

Yeah. People can go on and on talking about their "facts" and their "laws" and what not, but we know the "truth"-- it's not what you read in a bill or what happens in an election. It's what you feel in your gut!

As time goes on, I'm less and less surprised that conservatives don't understand that Colbert is a parody.

Posted by: constans | November 20, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

While we're on the topic, you can't really equate the naysayers of 2000 and 2008.

The 2000 election produced reports of voters being denied the right to vote in Florida - mostly in minority communities. See the full details issued here ( Not to mention the true recount was never completed, as ordered by the Supreme Court.

This is FAR different from a clear popular majority and electoral landslide from Barack Obama in 2008. To question the 2008 results or to attribute it to ACORN is borderline delusional at this point (they would have had to stuff nearly 10 million ballots in multiple states to make that result happen).

Posted by: kmani1 | November 20, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Why do people like msoja fear theoretical government "Death Panels" when there are very real death panels run by insurance companies now, that would be eliminated by the reforms under consideration?

Every time somebody's coverage gets "rescissioned", or are denied coverage for a pre-existing condition, and they go on to die (ten of thousands of non-theoretical deaths) it was a "Death Panel" pure and simple that made that decision.

Why does this not concern you?

Posted by: jeirvine | November 20, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

--Why do people like msoja fear theoretical government "Death Panels" when there are very real death panels run by insurance companies--

I'm not *forced* to submit myself to the vagaries of the insurance market, which, in any event are less arbitrary than having my life hang on the outcome of the next election, or the incompetence of the bureaucrats. When I sign with an insurance company, I get a contract stipulating things, and there are recourses for breaching same.

Posted by: msoja | November 20, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

--"it's not what you read in a bill"--

The fact that there is a bill is evidence that the government intends to begin mediating issues of life and death. It isn't some gut feeling that tells people the government is about to do for health care what it has done for education and railroads and disaster relief and pandemics. It's the freaking bill in the Senate.

Posted by: msoja | November 20, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

--Why do people like msoja fear theoretical government "Death Panels" when there are very real death panels run by insurance companies--

Further, our modern insurance companies, which Klein's minions do reflexively disparage, are pretty much artifacts of legislative fiat, i.e., they are no longer creatures of the free market. All the things that progressives like to whine about have been passed through the government horse so many times that there isn't much left of it. What you don't like about insurance companies is exactly what government has made them.

Jan Iwanik posted a nice history of government intrusion into the insurance market at Mises a few days ago:

Posted by: msoja | November 20, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Regarding that poll, keep in mind that this was done by the same polling organization that had Hoffman, the conservative candidate in the NY 23rd congressional district special election, ahead by 15 points in their poll released a day before the election. Turned out he lost by about three or four percent. So I'd take PPP's results with a heavy dose of salt.

Posted by: gilbertbp | November 20, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Actually, studies by the NYT and other media organizations show that if all of the votes were counted in the Fl recount, Gore would have won. Gore also won the popular vote. If we really cared about the will of the people, we would have had president Gore and no Iraq war. Bush only won 5 to 4 in the supreme court. This doesn't take into account the massive voter disenfranchisement in several states or the Jews for Buchanon ballots in palm beach. If the democrats didn't care so much about offending repiglicans we could have had a real challenge of the vote, through a house of representatives vote.

Posted by: srw3 | November 20, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse


Would you like us turn back the clock? Isn't 5-4 a simple majority that many on here want to shove health reform through the senate on (ie get rid of the filibuster)? Oh so is a simple majority only good when it favors what you want to happen?

Don't feel bad for Gore. He's going to be a "green billionaire" before we know it. He'll gladly take over for Soros when he's long gone as the loveable liberal.

Posted by: visionbrkr | November 20, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm a little depressed this poll result has gotten so much play in the liberal blogosphere, because zeppelin003 is right on the money. It was a badly put question, forcing people who are uncomfortable with Obama's election into the two categories of "ACORN stole the election" and "I don't know."

I want to see another poll where respondents are allowed to say they think the election was stolen, and if they do, are prompted to volunteer who they thought stole it. ACORN would certainly show up, but 52% of the Republican electorate? I really don't think so.

Posted by: HerooftheBeach | November 20, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

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