Friday, September 12, 2014

“We are screwed.”

“We are screwed.”  So says Neo-Neocon, upon reading a poll of likely voters and discovering that less than two thirds of them knew which political party controlled the House or the Senate.

I'm afraid it's even worse than she thinks.  On House control, for example, the breakdown was 63% correctly said that Republicans were in control, 20% incorrectly said that Democrats were in control, and 17% admitted not knowing.  The group answering “Democrat” most likely simply guessed wrong.  There are only two answers, so one would expect that half of those who guessed would guess wrong – and half would have guessed right.  That means that probably only 43% actually knew that Republicans control the House – the rest of the “Republican” answers were those who simply guessed correctly.

This brings to mind another poll, taken around the time of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.  I can't locate it now, but I remember the gist of the result.  The poll had a single question for likely voters: list the names of the two major U.S. political parties.  Only 33% – exactly one third – of respondents correctly listed “Republicans” or “Democrats”.  I remember looking into the poll's details, and they seemed to do it well – they accepted all plausible variations for either party, including things like “GOP”.  Even with that degree of leniency, still only a third of likely voters knew the names.  Ugh...

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