I first heard about this widely reported poll on Twitter, from Public Address:
My tweet back was:
lunacy but you forgot to mention in same poll a third of dems think gwb knew of 911 attacks in advance.
Yes, that’s in the link. But IMO, believing Obama to be the Antichrist is orders of magnitude more weird.
And my response:
have to agree. In fact thinking anyone is the antichrist is pretty far gone.
Anyway I’ve thought a lot more about the poll. It has been widely reported as proof that a large segment of the US right are deranged. So it got me interested in finding the full poll results.
The first thing I notice, in the poll of 500 New Jersey residents, is that it is an automated telephone poll. This means the respondents push buttons on their phone, they are not speaking to an actual person.
So immediately I am suspicious that many of those responses may be in jest. Hell, if I received a recorded voice saying
“Do you think Murray McCully is the Anti-Christ? If yes, press 1, If no, press 2. If you’re not sure, press 3”
well once I’d stopped laughing I’d be pretty tempted to press 1 or 3 🙂
Now is there any proof for my theory many voters may have been taking the piss. Let us look at the crosstabs. Overall 8% said yes he is, and 13% were not sure. And the shock figure was 18% of conservatives said yes he is, and 17% were not sure
- 5% of those who voted for Obama in 2008 said he is the Anti-Christ and a further 5% said they were not sure
- 6% of moderates said Obama was the Anti-Christ and 13% were unsure
- 6% of Democrats said Obama was the Anti-Christ and 7% were unsure
- 24% of Hispanics said Obama was the Anti-Christ and 18% were unsure
- 11% of African-Americans were unsure if Obama is the Anti-Christ
- 24% of those aged under 30 said Obama was the Anti-Christ and a further 18% were not sure
The last stat especially reinforces my suspicion many were taking the piss. Does anyone really think over 40% of under 30s do not know if Obama is the Anti-Christ?
So more under 30s and more Hispanics said Obama was the Anti-Christ, than conservatives did. But that is not such a sexy headline.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am sure there are some conservatives who think Obama is the Anti-Christ. And they are scary. But is it a very small minority of the conservative movement, or as much as one in three as the poll headline suggested? I say the former.
And some other unusual results:
- 31% of 2008 Obama voters think Bush knew of the 911 attacks in advance
- 4% of 2008 Obama voters want to eliminate the Federal Government, as do 6% of McCain voters
- 21% of Democrats do not think or are not sure if Obama was born in the US
- 11% of Republicans think Bush knew of the 911 attacks in advance
- 6% of Democrats want to eliminate the Federal Government, and only 5% of Republicans
- 50% of African-Americans think Bush knew of the 911 attacks in advance
- More Hispanics and African-Americans said they want to eliminate the Federal Government than Whites
My conclusion would be that one should be wary of using automated phone polling for controversial statements. People are far more willing to push a digit on a phone for something they do not believe, than actually tell an actual human being the same thing.