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What Republicans believe about Barack Obama

is_barack_obama_a_racist_who_hates_white_people_.png

DailyKos.com contracted the pollster Research 2000 to pull together a random survey of self-identified Republicans and test the prevalence of some of the stranger ideas floating around.

The answer, sadly, is that these ideas are very prevalent.

About 39 percent of Republicans think Obama should be impeached, and 29 percent aren't sure. This might be because 63 percent think he's a socialist, and only 42 percent think he was born in the United States.

More than 50 percent of Republicans think Sarah Palin is better qualified than Barack Obama to be president. About 24 percent believe Obama wants the terrorists to win, and 21 percent think Acorn stole the 2008 election (55 percent aren't sure). A solid 31 percent think Obama is "a racist who hates white people" and -- the coup de grace -- 23 percent think their state should secede from the United States.

There are a lot of hypotheses for why these numbers don't say what they seem to say (that is, that a substantial portion of the Republican base is completely divorced from reality). Maybe Research 2000's sample is off. Maybe people don't really believe the answers they give to pollsters. Maybe they do believe these things, but don't take their own beliefs very seriously. But we'd all better hope it's a pretty good explanation, because these are the folks who choose the general election candidates for one of the country's two major parties. And it's hard to see this group of people rewarding compromise with Barack Obama.

By Ezra Klein  |  February 2, 2010; 4:13 PM ET
Categories:  Polls  
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Comments

When you're asking Republicans what they think, Republicans are going to come up with a response that they think is most likely to anger "the libruls." It's not that they don't actually believe what they say -- they do -- but that their choices and answers are influenced by what they think will most clearly express the spite they feel. I don't think they ponder too heavily the implications of thinking that Obama hates white people. What they do think is that saying this about Obama is "striking a blow against the godless liberals" or anger the liberal relative that they silently resent, so they go with that.

Obama's thought was that he could move the country away from spite-based belief systems and policy-making, but I think it's true that their are more votes to be mined from resentment than from trying to encourage a reality-based political belief system.

Posted by: constans | February 2, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Ah, my fellow Republicans. Actually, that sounds about right. Some of the positions I can agree with.

I think Sarah Palin would make a better president than Barack Obama. But I don't know if that's the same as saying that she's better qualified. I don't think it is. Obama definitely looks better on paper.

I don't think Obama should be impeached. It's wrong on the merits--we don't impeach presidents because we think they are doing a bad job, that's what elections are for--and it's a bad idea all around. For a dozen reasons.

I understand why many Republicans think Obama is a socialist. I stop short of agreeing with that assessment, but I will say, if healthcare is any indication, he's an incompetent socialist.

I don't think he wants the terrorists to win, but I believe Obama considers the former War on Terror a nuisance, and largely a non-issue. I don't think he considers radical Islam any kind of serious threat to national security.

I don't think Obama is a racist. I don't think he hates white people. I think that's a very interesting opinion, though. It seems to suggest a mindset that people I disagree with politically, and happen to be another ethnicity, hate me because I'm white. When I think it would be much more plausible to say Obama hates conservatives, or Obama hates red state America--not that either of those things are true, just that they would be much more plausible than the idea that Obama, who is surrounded by white, Ivy-league liberals, hates white people. That's a weird one.

I think Acorn has mad-skillz when it comes to getting dead people, and cartoon characters, to vote for Democrats. Call it fraud it you like. I call it getting out the vote.

I don't think my state should secede from the Union. First of all, there are lots of liberals here, especially in the cities. What would we do with them? Would the rural areas then have to secede from the urban areas? And who's going to run the Post Office?

Folks who want to secede from the country really are divorced from reality, I must confess. But it must be true. It's in a poll.

I am unlikely to reward compromise with Barack Obama. Especially not after he cut the next manned moon mission. Of all the government largess to be cutting . . . moon missions? Has he never seen Star Trek? Doesn't he want his children to grow up to be Chancellors of Star Fleet? What's wrong with this guy?

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 2, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Let's see if I have this right.

Ultra left hate site dailykos
Ultra left polling firm research 2000

And the shocking poll results!!!!

Republicans are real bad people who hate our President.

C'mon Ezra. You gotta try harder than this. Liberals don't control the media anymore. You can't get away with this moronic crap anymore. It's why you shortly will be without a job. (Suggestion: Get a resume to George Soros)

Posted by: manbearpig4 | February 2, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Not to feed the previous poster anything, but Research 2000 hasn't always produced the best poll results in the past, and there are questions about some of the methods they use and how they set their polls up. Not saying the results are totally fradulent, heaven knows there a millions of people who buy this garbage, but I think a grain or two of salt needs to be taken with them.

Posted by: EricS2 | February 2, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

There's another explanation: these are self-identified R's -- not registered R's, or independents who lean or often vote R. Most polls have recently put that percentage of the population at the lowest point in years, which may mean that these are the what's left of the party, and that this base is not only extremely conservative, but that they listen to and buy in to the current theories (conspiracy or otherwise) that are pushed in conservative media. I'd have been really interested to know the education level of the respondents (especially compared to various responses given), and what source(s) of "news" they rely on to arrive at their answers.
I'd also be interested to know if the respondents thought they were responding to a R-sponsored poll, or something else. That is, they were loyal enough to self-identify as an R, but did also they perceive the poll as some sort of loyalty test, and felt like there was a "correct" answer for a loyal R to give, given how these issues have played out in the media?
Fascinating stuff, no matter how you look at it, though.

Posted by: reach4astar2 | February 2, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Research 2000 claims to be non-partisan. That's fine. The numbers don't look good for those 2000 Republicans. Maybe it's true. I've heard the same sort of thing, in more marginal numbers, from our side. That being said . . . Kos commissioned this research for his book, American Taliban, which demonstrates how conservatives and Republicans are identical in their goals and aims with radical Islamic terrorists.

I'm sorry . . . why is it we should be stepping across the aisle again?

I like low taxes, so I'm *exactly the same* as someone who straps a bomb across his chests and detonates himself in the middle of a city bus? Really?

Lots of room for dialog, there. Compromise.

And not only that, Obama cut the budget for space exploration. Not that I was likely to pull the lever for any Democrats in November, anyway, but now I'm thinking I'll be pulling the lever for the Republicans a little extra hard. Maybe while wearing my Neil Armstrong Official Moon Rock underwear.

American Taliban. No space program. Sheesh.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 2, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

"a substantial portion of the Republican base is completely divorced from reality"

Reminds me of when I read that 36% of Democrats believe 9/11 was an inside job by the Bush admin.

I don't know about the birther claims, but for the record he *is* a socialist.

And why *shouldn't* states be allowed to secede from the union if they want to?

Posted by: whoisjohngaltcom | February 2, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Kevin, there will be a space program, just not one where it's our own rocket's taking astronauts up. We'll be buying rides with the Russians and seeding more money into the private sector to push their ideas on farther. It's basically a retreching given that Constelation was doomed to failue without a tripling of the budget, at least. Wouldn't that be one of those horrible government expenditures?

Posted by: EricS2 | February 2, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

*Wouldn't that be one of those horrible government expenditures?*

Everything I "like" that the government does is support for deserving patriotic, regular Americans and national achievements. Everything I don't like is just shoveling money to the undeserving who demand handouts and inefficient payments for shiftless bureaucrats and ivory-tower thinkers who can't get a real job. It's simple, really.

The fact that Kevin Willis has his pet programs that he thinks are particularly "deserving" should not surprise any of us. The entire pathology of the Republicans is that the Obama presidency would represent a shift towards those that they believed were "undeserving." In the more extreme form, you had some Republicans openly saying that the election of Obama would mean that African Americans were going to use their new-found political power to take revenge on whites.

Posted by: constans | February 2, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Ok, let's take this a step further. What if I commission a poll, call people up, and the first question I ask is "Would you like to become a cheeseburger?" What percentage of people are going to answer yes to that question? What kind of tone is that going to set for the rest of my super serious poll? I bet if my next question were "Do you think anyone in your family has ever considered becoming a cheeseburger?" I'd get a lot more "yes"s than you'd otherwise expect.

My point is, if you call people up, and start asking questions that are kind of out there, what I'm really studying is the psychology of polling, not a series of policy issues. In the case of political poling, if you start asking questions that are very clearly meant to signal political beliefs, why shouldn't you expect your respondents to pick up on that. If you suggest that fairly extreme views are welcome, people are going to pick up on that as well.

Recently Ezra has written several posts that very sensibly point out that when you try to predict the voting behavior of members of congress based on their alleged policy beliefs, you get nonsense. If instead you use their political beliefs, it all makes perfect sense. Why shouldn't the same theory apply to polling. It's one thing to call up someone and ask them a very specific question like "who are you going to vote for next Tuesday", but what do you think "Is Barack Obama a racist who hates white people?" even mean. What supposed belief is a question like that really exposing?

Posted by: eerac | February 2, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Everyone:

I need your help to see if we can make Kos and Ezra Klein look bad. It seems to me that the poll oversampled some groups in order to get a desired result:

http://24ahead.com/n/9785

What I need you to do is to leave a comment at that link with a comparison between the ratios that Kos used and those used in past polls.

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | February 2, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

John Galt,

Secession solves nothing. It wouldn't be good for the state, the country, the citizens of the state, or either parties or ideologies. It's irrational, in the most literal definition of the word. Any objectivist should be able to see that proposing secession, much less succeeding at it, would be all downside. Entirely destructive. And is almost guaranteed not to happen. But, if Texas becomes an independent republic, I'll eat those words, I suppose.

EricS2: "It's basically a retreching given that Constelation was doomed to failue without a tripling of the budget, at least. Wouldn't that be one of those horrible government expenditures?"

This is an excellent point. I am not objective in regards to the space program. I was born in 1969, 3 months before man walked on the moon. I was a child of the 70s. Read hundreds of sci-fi books in the 80s. I remember well the Challenger explosion. Etc. Which is all to say, I confess my love of NASA and the space program is not rational. My desire to see another manned moon mission, and then a manned Mars mission, is hyper-emotional.

I have no trouble opening it up to the private sector but the government has an important role in infrastructure. If we were waiting for Wal-Mart to build all the roads to get to their stores, we'd be waiting a while.

I'd love to see us back on the moon. HD? 3D? First woman on the moon (there would have to be a woman on the team, there would just have to be). Leave some mirrors, transponders, autobots and whatnot up there so we don't have to come back for fifty years, but still. The only big government initiative I liked from the Bush admin was back to the moon. Mission to Mars.

Now, it's all ashes and dust. Ashes and dust.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 2, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Say what you will about the Kos or Research 2000, Obama's Q&A with Republican Reps on Thursday told me everything I needed to know about the current state of the Republican Party.

After it was over, I leaned over and asked, "Can you believe Republicans thought this would be a good idea?" The response: "After hearing what they must have thought were good questions...Yeah, I can believe it." And that's their leadership!

Most eye-opening hour and a half ever.

Posted by: slag | February 2, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

constans: "The entire pathology of the Republicans is that the Obama presidency would represent a shift towards those that they believed were 'undeserving.'"

As opposed to the "entire pathology" of the Democrats that says whatever anybody has now, they don't deserve, and we should take it?

Ha. I kid, I kid. Sort of.

But, to your point, I think most Republicans felt an Obama presidency would represent a shift of government towards programs that Republicans felt were unsuccessful. Or doomed to failure. Take your pick. While some people resent their tax dollars going to "undeserving" poor folks, I think most conservatives believe money does the most people the most good when it is put to work in the private sector. This might be 100% wrong, or 50% wrong, but it's not, I don't think, about certain people being "undeserving" of a hand up, or a little healthcare coverage in hard times. Rightly or wrongly, I think most Republicans consider most of the legislation before congress to be expensive boondoggles that will do more harm than good.

You want to disagree with that, fine. If you want to argue that Republicans don't agree with you because of mental or moral pathological disorders, I don't think there's much of a discussion to be had.

As far as my love of NASA goes, it is what it is. I always have. I always will. Space exploration is, at its heart, about expanding human knowledge, about pushing the boundaries, about invention and creation and discovery. It is about mankind being the best that it can be. It's about going where no man has gone before.

OMG. I can't believe I just said that last part. And I can't believe I just said OMG.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 2, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

The crosstabs check out, and the question wording was clear, so there's nothing obviously faulty about this. I think we have to take it at face value, with the caveat that we don't know what the percentage of the overall sample was "self-identified republicans"

Posted by: Quant | February 2, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

So, if the poll is flawed (a contention made but most certainly neither proved nor disproved here), is there any part of it we can believe?

If these numbers are even close to the truth, I would think thoughtful Republicans would have a little family chat with their irrational partisan brethren and tell them to take their meds. Poll or not, I see very little of that happening. Maybe they should talk to Kevin_Willis: he may choose never support Obama, but at least he isn't making crap up.

As a centrist, I want there to be a principled and vigorous opposition party to balance WHICHEVER party is in power. But I want the persons in that party to have functioning neurons. What happened to the THOUGHTFUL conservatives?

Posted by: post_reader_in_wv | February 2, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

*As far as my love of NASA goes, it is what it is. I always have. I always will. *

We all have our pet government programs that we don't deride as "government programs" because we, personally, like them. And everything else is "unsuccessful. Or doomed to failure" or would do "the most people the most good when it is put to work in the private sector" or "expensive boondoggles that will do more harm than good." Applies to the military, not-very-well-thought-out invasions of Iraq, ballistic missile defense, etc. just as easily.

When you actually have tangible experience dealing with people in government and served some time in government yourself, you actually realize that you *are* that government bureaucrat that everyone derides. And so is everyone else. But you realize they're all doing good work, and so the choice comes down to making choices between what you can afford and what you can't and what works well and what doesn't. And such a mindset of tradeoffs isn't really compatible with the Republican party line about the awfulness of government which apparently ruins everything. But even the Republicans "snap out of it" for a moment to come to the defense of *their* personal program.

*You want to disagree with that, fine. If you want to argue that Republicans don't agree with you because of mental or moral pathological disorders, I don't think there's much of a discussion to be had.*

I think the responses from Republican voters speak for themselves-- to them, Obama's presidency is a case of someone that is bent on to lashing out against whites.

Posted by: constans | February 2, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, Obama looks forward to working with Republicans in a bipartisan manner to get to the bottom of where he was born.

Posted by: SteveCA1 | February 2, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

*As a centrist, I want there to be a principled and vigorous opposition party to balance WHICHEVER party is in power.*

That's the problem with being a "centrist"-- it's entirely dependent on having "two sides" that one can rationally compromise between. My question is why, under the circumstances, you'd want to bother with philosophical centrism? One side (the Democrats) is already providing you with a "moderate" agenda that you supposedly want, right? So why bother hoping against hope that the opposition party be "reasonable"? Why not be happy that your centrism is being served by a set of compromises hashed out between liberal, moderate, and conservative Democrats and work to get more Democrats into power?

*What happened to the THOUGHTFUL conservatives? *

They became Democrats. Once thing I noticed comparing my childhood in suburban New Jersey to what things are like there now that I'm an adult is that suburban white collar workers in the northeast are much more likely to vote Democratic than they used to be.

Posted by: constans | February 2, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

"You want to disagree with that, fine. If you want to argue that Republicans don't agree with you because of mental or moral pathological disorders, I don't think there's much of a discussion to be had."

It is difficult to have much of a discussion when we see Republicans in lock-step opposition to what is, in all its essence, a Republican healthcare plan.

My side wanted single payer. We bargained down to an ugly kludge that would work within the conservative framework-- just so long as it would ameliorate the massive human suffering that our current healthcare system causes. The reaction to this has been screaming that it's an assemblage of Stalinite death-panels.

I find no other viable explanation but bad-faith on the part of the Republicans.

Posted by: adamiani | February 2, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Constans:

"Applies to the military, not-very-well-thought-out invasions of Iraq, ballistic missile defense, etc. just as easily."

I agree. Especially with the not-very-well-thought-out invasions of Iraq. Though I'm not sure the military would be better handled in the private sector--Blackwater? I'm dubious.

"When you actually have tangible experience dealing with people in government and served some time in government yourself, you actually realize that you *are* that government bureaucrat that everyone derides."

I do work for (county) government. I am that bureaucrat! The IT bureaucrat, anyway. I've seen how it works from the inside, and my experience has been that there are lots of great people doing yeoman's work. I'm not deriding public service or civil servants. I certainly don't mean to give that impression.

"Republican party line about the awfulness of government which apparently ruins everything"

Well, that's not my line, and that's not really my take away from the Republican platform, generally. But your mileage may vary.

"I think the responses from Republican voters speak for themselves-- to them, Obama's presidency is a case of someone that is bent on to lashing out against whites."

Well, 31% of them think that. Which means that 79% of them don't. Even the 31% number seems high to me, but given that, according to Rasmussen, 35% of Democrats believe George Bush knew about the 9/11 attacks in advance, I suppose I have to concede that it's likely correct.

I don't think Obama hates white people. I know a fair amount of Republicans, and maybe it's just the circles I travel in, I can think of only one who kinda-sorta holds that view. Which would make it about 3% of Republicans in my polling sample. Which, granted, is not scientific.

My personal pathology has to do with NASA. It's like Obama grabbed the gun from over the fireplace, took Schnookums behind the barn, and shot my puppy. 100% of Kevin Willis's polled responded that Obama hates space exploration and spits on the dreams of Gene Roddenberry. That's all I'm saying.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 2, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Tom Brokaw wrote in his book "The Greatest Generation" referring to a couple of hard working scientist that cared for all Americans and peoples world wide."They were interested in the human condition--they weren't out for themselves" I believe this is what we must measure all of our politicians by....."are they Humanist"? President Obama is a Humanist.He will be considered one the Greatest of this Generation. The Party of NO are squandering their opportunity to be brave and caring Americans. History will not be kind to them.

Posted by: Americacares | February 2, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Tom Brokaw wrote in his book "The Greatest Generation" referring to a couple of hard working scientist that cared for all Americans and peoples world wide."They were interested in the human condition--they weren't out for themselves" I believe this is what we must measure all of our politicians by....."are they Humanist"? President Obama is a Humanist.He will be considered one the Greatest of this Generation. The Party of NO are squandering their opportunity to be brave and caring Americans. History will not be kind to them.

Posted by: Americacares | February 2, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

I think Ezra, 'entertainment value' of your blog has increased many fold because of the comments by one joker called 'Kevin_Willis'.

Hey 'Kevin-Willis' keep doing your stupidity here as long as it is allowed. It is so much fun...

Finally, even after total disaster on 'governance' if ever I would vote for Democrats and Obama - the reasons are clear and obvious in this poll and your post.

We had one 'moron' (though I do not hate him that much that he is no more our president) by 'stealing election' in 2000 and a decade of sorrow. I do not want to endure that under Palin again.

As I said, Tea Party folks - give them a chance to get the lime light and some 'stage'. Their internal contradictions are of so horrendous proportion that 'people' will see through the game much quickly and they will collapse very soon. America should not have required having such 'junk' in her Politics. But I guess that is the price of 'our freedom'. Because we cherish our constitution and intend to keep it a functioning ethos, we have to deal with ‘scum’ as like pointed in this post.

'Kevin-Willis' come forward; back to your regular programming. This is your apprentice work before you meet your God – Rush Limbaugh.

Posted by: umesh409 | February 2, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

The poll was conducted for a leftie web site, which explains its findings. End of story.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | February 2, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

G-d help us.
looking at those poll results leads me to feel very hopeless about things.
if those results are true, then i feel real despair over our situation.
if more than 50 percent of republicans believe that sarah palin is more qualified than barack obama, then this country is hopelessly lost.
how did the country get to this point?
and with democrats now piling on, and shooting themselves in the foot.....i dont know what to think anymore.
if ignorance is true evil, then we are just about there.

Posted by: jkaren | February 2, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

@umesh409"

"Hey 'Kevin-Willis' keep doing your stupidity here as long as it is allowed. It is so much fun..."

I'm glad you enjoy our time together. I do, too.

"Finally, even after total disaster on 'governance' if ever I would vote for Democrats and Obama - the reasons are clear and obvious in this poll and your post."

Um, okay. But, keep in mind, I'm a stupid Republican. Could you translate that into something intelligible to my neanderthal intellect?

"I do not want to endure that under Palin again."

Palin as president? That's never, ever going to happen. Do you worry about the bogeyman in your closet, too?

"'Kevin-Willis' come forward; back to your regular programming. This is your apprentice work before you meet your God – Rush Limbaugh."

Thanks. That was substantive.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 2, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

@ constans:

Actually, I agree with your point that my centrism will find little cause for hope with the Republican party as it is now. And if ALL the thoughtful conservatives didn't become Democrats (I'll dispute you on that point, because I don't think they all did), they surely have been or shortly will be purged out of the GOP.

My centrism is not a function of the political alignment of the parties at this or any other single point in time. Nor does my centrism proceed from some desire to find compromise on everything. Far from it, and I don't think that's either possible or desirable all the time. Without going into details, I'll tell you that I am very progressive on certain current issues and conservative on others.

No, my centrist tendencies proceed in part from a belief that we NEED opposition parties because the majority, however aligned it may be (and Democrats hold the center now because the Repubs keep hurtling to the right), is never ALWAYS correct. There are some very old ideas that we should conserve, and other that we should obliterate in the name of progress.

So, constans, have you read John Avlon's _Independent Nation_ or Sam Tanenhaus's _The Death of Conservatism_?

Posted by: post_reader_in_wv | February 2, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

@adamiani:

"It is difficult to have much of a discussion when we see Republicans in lock-step opposition to what is, in all its essence, a Republican healthcare plan."

100 pages of watered-down Republican ideas in a 2000 page piece of legislation don't really make it a Republican plan. That being said, I think the Democrats could reproduce word for word a Republican healthcare proposal from the 1990s and the Republicans would filibuster it. So, point taken.

"We bargained down to an ugly kludge that would work within the conservative framework--"

Which, in my opinion, has just made a mess. You really want to pass this?

"The reaction to this has been screaming that it's an assemblage of Stalinite death-panels."

I don't believe the Republicans put end of life counseling in the bill. Also, it was Obama--not a Republican--that told a woman that maybe her 100 year old mother should take a pill and prepare for the inevitable, rather than get a pacemaker at a townhall ostensibly meant to promote HCR.

"I find no other viable explanation but bad-faith on the part of the Republicans."

Yes, well, I think that's true, as far as it goes. I'm just not sure the Democrats have been all dewey-eyed innocence in regards to advancing their agenda. It seems to me they felt they had the majorities, so they could just steamroll the Republicans and get what they wanted. As Obama responded to Jon Jyl's issues with the stimulus plan: "I won." Which could easily be translated as two other words inappropriate for the comments section at the WaPo.

This was the same attitude the Democrats tackled healthcare reform with, initially shutting out the Republicans from the process, and not just for procedural reasons or process reasons, but in order to establish themselves as the alpha dogs and tell the Republicans they had no say, no how.

When it turned out that the whole steamrolling thing was harder than it looked, they found it was tough to backpedal and the Republicans in not such a hurry to quit playing hardball, now that they saw a tactical advantage.

Politicians are self-important people who generally tend to value their egos very highly, and other politicians should know better than to tread on toes indiscriminately if they really want to accomplish something.


Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 2, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

These survey results are in line with the Democracy Corps focus group reported last October in two reports entitled, "The Very Separate World of Conservative Republicans" and "Why Republican Leaders will have Trouble Speaking to the Rest of America."

Rather than attempting to characterize the respondents as wacky or worse, the key thing is a pretty large group of Americans actually believe this and act on those beliefs. It's not going to go away and it has real consequences for our politics.

Jim Fallows has written in the last couple of days that bipartisanship simply can't happen now. Why? Because Republican leaders don't have and can't get permission from the people who produced these survey results and who participated in that focus group. i.e., their base.

Posted by: bbebop | February 2, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Kevin Willis, I'll just jump to the end of the discussion because it's getting late. What I wanted to say is that you don't have to compromise with Kos any more than I have to compromise with that dude from Red State. There's an argument about which of them is more reasonable than the other, but it's beside the point. They run websites. The issue of compromise, at least as pertains to politics, is among legislators. We either support legislators that are willing to work together to get legislation passed or we support legislators that maximize their party's electoral prospects at all times. As the last couple decades have shown, those tend to be mutually exclusive.

I think the Democrats have a fairly good track record of compromise in the name of moving legislation, though that may change next time they're in the minority. I think the Republicans have a pretty bad recent track record of compromise.

I don't have an opinion on the validity of the poll. It could be way off, I don't know. What seems true to me is that there is a non-insignificant percentage of the Republican electorate that *does* believe those crazy things. Increasingly, this part of the party has gotten loud enough and mobilized enough that it's affecting how the national parties behave. I submit that this has been *bad*. How bad? Let me tell you about the Twinkie.

And Kevin, I too felt the sting of the space program getting cut. I feel like the decline of the space program has led us to be a country that doesn't dream big any more. It's sad. I also read "Constellation" and thought "Constellation-class starship".

Posted by: MosBen | February 2, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

So these idiots think he hated his mother? I read the book, and she was pretty awesome, and of a rather pale hue.

I hope this half of the Republican party falls off and the rest join the Blue Dogs to form a third party. Maybe that is sort of happening unofficially anyway.

Posted by: staticvars | February 3, 2010 12:18 AM | Report abuse

"I too felt the sting of the space program getting cut. I feel like the decline of the space program has led us to be a country that doesn't dream big any more."

yes. the cuts in our space program are so demoralizing.
i still remember watching the walk on the moon on my tv set.
it felt like the united states could do anything.

if anyone had asked my parents and i on that euphoric night, where the space program would be in 2010...we would have been dreaming big. maybe we would be on mars....maybe we would be colonizing the moon. the stars were the limit.
now, we are living in a country that actually takes sarah palin seriously, and cannot yet get this health care bill passed.

but in all fairness, the election of barack obama was a shining and exhilarating moment also. life is like that.
history is written with a crooked line.

.

Posted by: jkaren | February 3, 2010 12:31 AM | Report abuse

"I think the Democrats have a fairly good track record of compromise in the name of moving legislation, though that may change next time they're in the minority."

In the name of moving certain legislation, yes. But the also dig in their heels and take an anything-goes, bare-knuckle approach when they see what they think is truly bad legislation. I give you Social Security Reform. They didn't want to fix that or tinker with it at the edges, they wanted to kill it. And they did, boy howdy.

" I think the Republicans have a pretty bad recent track record of compromise."

Recently, this is true, but their base does not like the compromises anymore than the Democrat base likes them to compromise. They usually see it as rolling over, and the base of the compromising party always sees them as having gotten the worse (usually much worse) side of the deal. But I think there is a difference between refusing to compromise because you think legislation is bad (Social Security Reform, HCR) and negotiating in bad faith, which the Republicans (certainly Mitch McConnell) seem to be doing now. They are just trying to gain political advantage and game the system. While this may well work, the problem is you are right--Democrats will use the same strategies, with improvements, when they are in the minority.

If you look back, it seems to be the Republicans actually compromised quite a bit with the Democrats--when the Republicans were in the majority. Now that they are in the minority, they seem to want to take their ball and go home.

"We either support legislators that are willing to work together to get legislation passed or we support legislators that maximize their party's electoral prospects at all times."

Well, I think there is a middle ground. Not every bit of legislation should get passed. Not every bill needs to be turned into a law. Just like you don't have to eat everything at the all-you-can-eat buffet. Sometimes, blocking legislation rather than just trying to get something passed is the right move.

Though saying you support a piece of legislation and then filibustering it because you think it'll look bad for your political opponents isn't a good faith maneuver. I'd also caution conservatives that it does not bode well for their effectiveness and governing, once they do win majorities again.

But, I was disappointed in what the Republicans--with majorities in both houses and the presidency--were able to get done. And what they picked (Iraq War? Really?). Clinton, and a Republican congress and senate, reduced the size of government and passed Welfare Reform and NAFTA. And that's when the Republicans could not have been said to be doing anything in good faith (impeachment? really?).

I'm kind of looking forward to the possibility of a Republican house and/or senate and an Obama administration.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 3, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Some of the responses, particularly concerning secession and Obama's legitimacy are pretty shocking. The problem with drawing general conclusions from the poll is that it contained very few questions about current federal issues. Nothing about the economy, taxes, health care, financial regulation, foreign policy, defense, etc. Someone who believes that Obama was born in Kenya may nevertheless support increased regulation of hedge funds.

Posted by: dwells3 | February 3, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

the elephant in the room

"how do white people feel about having a non-white president"?

an obvious topic of discussion that is being talked about indirectly

kos takes up the topic in the code words that are being used to express white dissatisfaction: "obama is a racist who does not like white people?

this sentiment is not going to go away

many white people are distressed at the growing number of minorities

the feelings will intensify when the census is finished and the results reveal how population growth brings a steadily diminishing white majority, an even more multiracial country than we have ever been

this is a social issue

the tea party expresses the issue

the GOP is trying hard to use it as a political issue

i think much of it is mis-directed anxiety of blue-collar families whose share of the economic pie has been decimated

Posted by: jamesoneill | February 3, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Better question Ezra - if this is what Republicans think of Obama, then why is he trying to find sanity on the other side of the aisle instead of working with the large Congressional majorities he has to pass legislation to: A) increase or maintain those majorities, and B) win the policy war the GOP base appears to have abandoned altogether. The GOP seems much less focused on policy solutions than on pleasing corporate donors and creating new boogeymen for the base to overreact to. Sad, but true.

At what point is it best to just IGNORE the GOP and move forward with just Dems instead of trying to get the truth-challenged kids in the class to matriculate? Sometimes you gotta leave kids back. Sometimes you have to send them to Special Ed. That's what Dems need to do with Republicans - leave them behind.

Posted by: pk2031 | February 3, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the posting of jamesoneill. I think that an incipient and insidious rascism is at the heart of much far right sentiment. They would never admit it, but it shows itself. White people do not know how to deal with our growing minorities, and our president (who I think is superb) is symbolic for this trend. Their fears are ignited by the intemperate language of too many who have the airwaves. Let's stay rational and compassionate.

Posted by: IndProf | February 3, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

I find the secession aspect of the poll very interesting. This was tried in the past and found to be lacking. What would these former states do with this newfound freedom? Would they -

· Continue to have a "governor"?
· Use the three-branch model; hold elections for a president and congress?
· Have a military?
· Allow any US Government installations (military bases, NASA installations, etc.) to remain or would those institutions be forced to move?
· Negotiate with other foreign governments for goods and services?
· Require a visa or passport for entry?
· Maintain their sections of interstate highways? Or would those be closed.
· Be required to petition the UN for any US (or other foreign country) for aid in case of an emergency, ie. natural disasters, threat of invasion by another former state?
· Fund a school system?
· Have a separate banking system – print currency? Would the surrounding states recognize that currency? How would it be valued?

Has anyone actually thought this through or does it just sound like fun?

Posted by: annemcl | February 3, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

*I think Acorn has mad-skillz when it comes to getting dead people, and cartoon characters, to vote for Democrats. Call it fraud it you like. I call it getting out the vote. *

Look Kevin, this is a symptom of your problems-- you're so obsessed with the Republican party that you mindlessly decided to start taking up republican talking points rants about ACORN voting fraud, Who would have thought, when you were a child, that your future would result in your mindlessly ranting against voter registration drives in poor communities like the crazylady Michele Bachmann? This is another sign how association with the Republican party and its talking points morally corrupts the people involved and associated with it, and it's another sign how people involved with activism and association with the Republican party are not really to be taken seriously. It's resulted in a slow but steady moral and intellectual weakness such that you can be used and abused by the Republican party when you are asked to mindlessly mouth talking points designed to demonize voter organization among poor communities. And you came to these beliefs simply because it is a social requirement of adhering to a Republican belief system, without which your Republican social group would not consider you "cool."

Posted by: constans | February 3, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

There were other questions in this poll because I read it. Other questions that should have been asked, but weren't asked: (1) "Are you a fan of Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh?" (2)"Have you ever been a fan of Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh?" and (3) " what TV new network do you watch for news"?
My guess would be that the answers to questions one and two would be "yes". My guess to question three would be Fox News.

Posted by: mcdonalsherry | February 3, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Hey folks, anyone remember the first commandment of Statistics 101:?
"You can get your polling to arrive at your preconceived conclusions, no matter
what the fatual data may present."
In reading the comments accompanying this article I note that the greater majority of you have a command of the language and use it well. However, whatever happened to your math skills, Kevin_Willis? 31% + 79% = ??
More importantly, however, what happened to your collective common sense and
bull s--- sensors?
Obama is anti-white???? (Do you say that because you're anti-anyone-who-isn't-caucasian or because you've made unintellgent financial decissions and your portfolio is worth only 1/2 of it's 2006 high?)
Obama is a socialist. (You forgot, obviously, that he's also a red-pinko-Commie) C'mon. Get a grip. Obama's no more a socialist than Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan were.
"More than 50% of Republicans think that Sarah Palin is better............" I'm aware that the times are not so good right now, but Sarah Palin better qualified to be Pres.? Is this based on empirical fact or that she was able to see Russia out her bathroom window?
Among the many wonderful things about the U.S. is the First Amendment and as of late, the internet. Almost EVERYBODY gets to have a podium from
which to launch an iffy opinion. It remains to the rest to
separate fact from good and not so good fiction.

Polls-don'tcha jes looooooove 'em??? Almos' as entertainin' 'n reliable as Rush 'n Glenn, them two stalwart cement bulks of truth!!!

Posted by: gsalner | February 3, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

C'mon. He's pushing socialized health - he's a socialist!!!

He doesn't think folks should throw away money in Vegas when there are people starving and our schools can't afford books for their students - he's a socialist!!!!

He can't see Russia from the Oval Office and I'll bet he's never taken a shot at a Moose (well, he had Biden to do that, and a fine job he did...like hitting the side of a barn) - he's a RACIST and a SOCIALIST!!!

And, he's an intellectual!!!!! And ETHICAL (more so than any President I can remember in the past few administrations). But, he looks, well, BLACK!!!!! He was born in Kenya (not on some plantation)!!!!! He has a WHITE MOTHER!!! He's a RACIST!!!!! AND a SOCIALIST!!!!!!

Oh, the horror of it all. Sadly, I know many Republicans who believe all this. In my opinion, anyone who believes at this point that Obama is a racist is probably projecting. I believe it is fear - a deep racial fear and economic fear - that drives this Republican mindset. The one thing that I do wish Obama would do is enforce the federal law that prohibits pot use - here in Colorado, it's getting out of hand - medical marijuana kiosks on every corner, it seems. Other than that, I'm a firm supporter of the President.


Posted by: NotReckless | February 3, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

This is what Republicans believe:
"More than 50 percent of Republicans think Sarah Palin is better qualified than Barack Obama to be president.
About 24 percent believe Obama wants the terrorists to win.
21 percent think Acorn stole the 2008 election (55 percent aren't sure).
A solid 31 percent think Obama is "a racist who hates white people" and -- the coup de grace -- 23 percent think their state should secede from the United States."
.
This is what I believe: The average intelligence level of Republicans is at an all time low. This is because smart, intelligent, educated people that used to consider themselves Republicans have dissociated themselves from this bunch of fruitcakes. Abraham Lincoln must be turning in his grave these days.

Posted by: Franktheliberal | February 3, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, can you really be this dumb? The poll was conducted by DailyKos?? Is there anything more damning or more relevant? With respect to reliability and lack of bias, you'd be better off with a poll conducted by the KKK. But you throw this data and the name "DailyKos" around as if either had any hope of credibility. What a joke you are chief, a bad joke.....

Posted by: subframer | February 4, 2010 5:37 AM | Report abuse

Wise up, folks. You can't get any more radical left wing than DailyKos and they are paying the bill, so Research 2000 puts out whatever the money says -- as they have for years. Get smart. Don't believe everything you read.

Posted by: RonKH | February 6, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

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