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January 16, 2005

Comments

Sorry you think we're uninformed.

Carol Ann, I meant nothing personal when I wrote about uninformed Bush voters. What I was referring to is this: it is unarguable that a higher percentage of Bush voters were uninformed about the fact that no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq, and there is no evidence of ties between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda.

So what put Bush over the top in the election were votes from people who didn’t understand the facts in Iraq (plus, I’m sure, many other facts about the deficit, the environment, and so on). I didn’t mean that everyone who voted for Bush was uninformed, just that polls prove that the overall group of Kerry voters was better informed than the overall group of Bush voters.

I took the title of my post from the author of the "Funny Times" piece. "Uninformed" isn't equivalent to "less smart" (you can be highly intelligent but ignorant of a fact). Rall used some poetic humor license here, which is what all good comics do. Myself, I take it to mean "Bush voters on the whole are less smart than Kerry voters about key Iraq facts."

How do you know? Have you interviewed all Bush voters or taken a poll? Sorry dear Brother, but I don't agree with you.

I didn't have to take a poll to learn that Bush supporters were uninformed, because one was done by someone else: http://www.pipa.org/OnlineReports/Pres_Election_04/html/new_10_21_04.html

The poll showed that a majority of Bush supporters had erroneous beliefs about WMD and an Al Qaeda/Iraq connection, while a majority of Kerry supporters had accurate beliefs.

The reason? Cognitive dissonance--an inability to meld new factual information with old conceptions.

Quoting from a summary of the results, "The roots of the Bush supporters' resistance to information," according to Steven Kull, "very likely lie in the traumatic experience of 9/11 and equally in the near pitch-perfect leadership that President Bush showed in its immediate wake. This appears to have created a powerful bond between Bush and his supporters--and an idealized image of the President that makes it difficult for his supporters to imagine that he could have made incorrect judgments before the war, that world public opinion could be critical of his policies or that the President could hold foreign policy positions that are at odds with his supporters."

The mistake in the analysis here is you take one issue that's of prime importance to you and focus on it. Many voters may have, and in fact did, vote for Bush for other reasons having nothing to do with any war or WMD. Second, generally, survey after survey after survey of the American voter shows that Republicans are better informed about news, current events, politics, and history than are their Democrat counterparts (not to mention on average higher income and better educated - see 2004 CNN exit polls online). Broaden the questions beyond the one topic you're obssessed with, and this becomes apparent. Take a browse through any of a number of books on the American voter available on Amazon.com to confirm this. Finally, we did away with poll taxes and tests a long time ago - so no one has to justify their vote to your liking.

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