November 18, 2008


Ed Morrissey at Hot Air is plumping the efforts of an outfit called HowObamaGotElected, which in turn is now being bandied eagerly throughout the wingnutosphere.

Their main theme, apparently, is that Obama voters were "ignorant" because they hadn't absorbed the wingnuts' favorite smears about Obama during the campaign. The site claims that it commissioned a "Zogby Poll" which came up with the following results:

512 Obama Voters 11/13/08-11/15/08 MOE +/- 4.4 points

97.1% High School Graduate or higher, 55% College Graduates

Results to 12 simple Multiple Choice Questions

57.4% could NOT correctly say which party controls congress (50/50 shot just by guessing)

81.8% could NOT correctly say Joe Biden quit a previous campaign because of plagiarism (25% chance by guessing)

82.6% could NOT correctly say that Barack Obama won his first election by getting opponents kicked off the ballot (25% chance by guessing)

88.4% could NOT correctly say that Obama said his policies would likely bankrupt the coal industry and make energy rates skyrocket (25% chance by guessing)

56.1% could NOT correctly say Obama started his political career at the home of two former members of the Weather Underground (25% chance by guessing).

And yet.....

Only 13.7% failed to identify Sarah Palin as the person on which their party spent $150,000 in clothes

Only 6.2% failed to identify Palin as the one with a pregnant teenage daughter

And 86.9 % thought that Palin said that she could see Russia from her "house," even though that was Tina Fey who said that!!

Only 2.4% got at least 11 correct.

Only .5% got all of them correct. (And we "gave" one answer that was technically not Palin, but actually Tina Fey)

Now, the data about the voters' ability to correctly identify facts about Sarah Palin -- as well as their understandable confusion about what Palin actually said about Russia, considering that in fact she did say that one could see Russia from Alaska -- is essentially meaningless; a survey of McCain voters would almost certainly come up with similar statistics.

But as Nate Silver says, this is flat-out push-polling. Look at the questions in the first half of the data summary -- nearly every one of the supposed "facts" is either simply false or a grotesque distortion:

-- Biden's plagiarism: While it's true that the media swirl around the "plagiarism" story probably drove him from the 1987 primary campaign, Joe Biden was in fact cleared of those charges.

-- Obama kicked opponents off the ballot: Also false.

-- Obama wants bankrupt the coal industry? Complete bullshit.

-- Obama and Ayers: The claim he began his political career in Ayers' living room is false: "Ayers was one of many who sponsored coffees for Obama in 1995 when he declared for the Illinois Senate. The official campaign launch occurred at the Hyde Park Ramada. Their relationship barely goes beyond serving together on an education foundation board in Chicago."

So what the wingnuts are complaining about is the fact that the news media, for some strange, unknown reason, failed to pick up these falsehoods and loudly broadcast them as factual.

But in a sense, it is true that this polling does make clear that the media did fail in its education mission. It failed to educate the wingnuts -- of which, evidently, Zogby pollsters are now a special subset.

But one suspects that even if they had, it wouldn't have done a bit of good. On Planet Bizarro, liberals always be evil and stooopid.

Can you help us out?

For 18 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.