Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Is poll of Ala., Miss. voters cultural profiling?

Hello. Welcome to O-Pinion, the editorial board's online place for commentary and discussion.

Lots of discussion on this primary voting day in two deep South states, Alabama and Mississippi, about a Public Policy Polling survey that showed significant numbers of prospective Republican voters with views more aligned with the 1950s than 2012.

But The Daily Beast's Michelle Cottle asks a good question: Why did the pollsters only ask those in this deep South primary questions about evolution and interracial marriage. "It’s scary that a quarter of Mississippi and Alabama Republicans are against interracial marriage, and half believe Obama’s a Muslim," Cottle writes. "But can the Democratic-affiliated pollster explain what this has to do with the current Republican presidential race—and why only Southerners are being asked?"

This smacks of "cultural profiling," she said. She has a point.

So here are the poll results: Only 26 percent of Alabama GOP voters believe in evolution; 60 percent don't and 13 percent aren't sure about it. Twenty-one percent still think interracial marriage should be illegal; 12 percent aren't sure whether it should be. Given that it was just in the year 2000 that Alabama changed its law banning interracial marriage - about 30 years after the Supreme Court outlawed it - maybe that's no surprise.

Even fewer prospective Mississippi voters believe in evolution: 22 percent do; 66 percent don't; 11 percent aren't sure. On interracial marriage, nearly half think it should be illegal or they aren't sure - 29 percent still think it should be illegal; 17 percent aren't sure. 54 percent think it should be legal.

Given that even some Republicans who want to be president - ahem, Donald Trump - expressed doubts about President Barack Obama's citizenship, and evangelist Franklin Graham challenged (and later retracted) Obama's Christianity, this poll result is hardly surprising. In both Alabama and Mississippi, most respondents think Obama is a Muslim eventhough he says he's a Christian. Fifty-two percent of Mississippi voters said he was a Muslim and 36 weren't sure; only 12 percent believe he's Christian. In Alabama, just 14 percent believe he's a Christian; 45 percent think he's Muslim and 41 percent aren't sure.

But hold up, Margie Omero of the liberal Huffington Post says. Before you go out and label the GOP voters in Alabama and Mississippi backward, you should know that polls show their views aren't inconsistent with the general population.

"Most Americans believe in creationism of some sort. Gallup tracking on this question shows only 16 percent believe 'humans evolved, but God had no part of the process' and twice as many believe creationism is 'definitely true' as believe the same about evolution (39 percent, 18 percent). Similarly, in 2005 Pew showed a third believe evolution is the 'explanation for the origin of human life.'

"On interracial marriage, PPP's April 2011 poll, also with Mississippi Republicans, showed far more (46 percent) wanting to see these marriages illegal. And the new polling suggests Mississippi and Alabama Republicans are not necessarily that far removed from voters overall. Gallup tracking on this question shows huge movement since 1958, when only 4 percent 'approved' of interracial marriages. But even at its new high of 86 percent in 2011, it falls short of unanimous."

oh. boy.

On the election front, today's Southern Super Tuesday is a toss-up for Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Polls show they're all bunched up close to each other with around 30 percent - more or less - of the vote. Jay Cost of the conservative Weekly Standard has a good assessment. The National Journal has an interesting take too, and points out that Hawaii's primary is today also though results will be overshadowed by the Southern hoopla.


Archiguy said...

This rather depressing article is indicative of either:

1) Our educational system is woefully inadequate, especially in the fields of theoretical and applied science, mathematics, and the development of critical thinking skills. Just what we need in terms of creating an educated, informed, and capable populace the challenges of the coming century will require. Or...

2) The awesome power of political propaganda and religious indoctrination. How can these people be so backward, so dumb? Because the truth is out there and they voluntarily chose the path of ignorance. Why?

If we can't find a way to fight this, we're doomed as a great nation. We're backsliding, while the rest of the civilized world is moving forward. We WILL get left behind, except not in the rapturous way the zealots believe.

discourser said...

Actually, I think these poll results are indicative of pollsters not keeping up with communication trends in today's society.

Even many of my 50+ year old friends have dropped their home phone. I don't know of anyone under the age of 35 that has a home phone.

I believe pollsters only call home phones, so they immediately are not getting a true cross of demographic. Of those who do still retain home phones (like our household), unless you are bored and really want some interaction, you are most likely to say "not interested" and hang up.

Archiguy said...

Actually discourser, that's true. We have caller ID and it's family policy not to answer the phone if there's no name attached to an incoming number. However, pollsters are one group I wouldn't mind talking to. It's hard to believe the general public is as stridently opposed to reality and reason, and as religiously indoctrinated and inflexible, as this poll indicates. God help us if those results are accurate.

Jim said...

Hey, Ms. Flono and Archiguy: it wasn't these Alabamans and Mississippians who couldn't tell the difference on the printed page between Bush-Cheney, Gore-Lieberman and Buchanan-Foster. It wasn't them, either, who couldn't figure out how to push a little piece of paper out of a ballot. Maybe their sensibilities don't limit their ability to make use of the vote. What do you think? Should they have to pass a test of some sort to access their right to vote? Huh? Would you design the test? Should a prospective voter be obliged to convince Archiguy that he/she is not "...backward, so dumb..." before being admitted to the polls? Sheesh!

Wiley Coyote said...

So here are the poll results: Only 26 percent of Alabama GOP voters believe in evolution; 60 percent don't and 13 percent aren't sure about it. Twenty-one percent still think interracial marriage should be illegal; 12 percent aren't sure whether it should be. Given that it was just in the year 2000 that Alabama changed its law banning interracial marriage - about 30 years after the Supreme Court outlawed it - maybe that's no surprise.

Do you know what the above is?

It's diversity. I can't imagine any liberal who can't see that, especially since "diversity" is the liberal's mantra.

If everyone believed exactly the same thing, we'd have no diversity.

That's why the term and use of diversity has been so bastardized for years.

It's okay for an all Black college to not have a "diversity director" but not okay for a traditionally all White college to NOT have one.

I abhor the racial hatred of white supremacists and their use of the Confederate flag as a hate symbol, but they are part of a diverse population in our country. Liberals see them as not being part of "diversity".

You can't have it both ways. You can't be a liberal and say "the flag is protected by free speech and therefore the burning of it is protected", yet say skinheads are not part of diversity in our country or other people who truly believe that the Confederate flag represents heritage and not hatred to them.

Bono said...

That's okay. Most of us believe that people from Alabama and Mississippi should be able to A) have an IQ score above 100, B) have at least their H.S. Diploma, in order to vote, and C) be limited to 2 children, so we don't continue to create an ignorant, racist, and confederate society.

Content of Character, not color of skin.

Twodogz said...

"21% of people in Alabama still think interracial marriage should not be legal."
Just wondering how many of the people polled were white. Did you know that Alabama is 26.2% black? They're also 68.5% white. Since almost 1/4 of the people polled don't want interracial marriage and over 1/4 of the people there are black, and not even 3/4 of them are white, can we deduce that more blacks beleive this way?
Deep Thoughts...........

Anonymous said...

One never knows, maybe they are more intelligent than the other states. Afterall, evolution has never explained or tried to explain creation. By this I mean the creation of the first single celled plant and/or animal.

Since most people that "believe" in evolution think this is an explanation of creation, maybe these people realize that it does not explain creation and thus said no.

Now, before someone goes off attacking me, I believe in the process of evolution, I just recognize its limitations. I have no answer as to how inorganic matter combined into amino acids, and then into proteins and then into cells. And neither do any of you.

Anonymous said...

When you find a half human, half monkey somewhere let me know then maybe I would even THINK about evolution being true. They call it a THEORY for a reason! They want to insult our intelligence because we believe that a Creator created this earth. I guess that's where liberals come from. The half ape half human???

Anonymous said...

It's clear you don't understand the theory. There's nothing about it that relates to half monkey/half human.

Anonymous said...

That's the great thing about America. We're allowed to be as stupid, backward, and hateful as we want to be.

Anonymous said...

What are you talking about? They are clearly in favor of regressive taxation, lower wages, inferior education and anything else that regulates the two states to the bottom in terms of opportunity for their citizens.

Is it any wonder the Southern states have the most regressive taxation in the country and all are welfare states when it comes to federal tax dollars. Way to go Republicans, blame it on the Democrats. Go Figure.

Anonymous said...

Let's see PPP poll Democrats with the following questions:

1. Do you believe most criticism of President Obama is rooted in racism?

2. Do you agree with Bev Perdue's suggestion to cancel elections?

3. Should President Obama be able to enact legislation without the consent of the Republican-led House?

4(a). Did you cheer when Senate Democrat leader Harry Reid proudly announced "We have killed the PATRIOT Act"?

4(b). Did you cheer when Senate Democrat leader Harry Reid accused GOP Senator Rand Paul of "giving terrorists the opportunity to plot against our country" when Paul asked for a delay in voting to renew the PATRIOT Act"?

5(a). Do you support the President's position that you need to show ID to buy cold medicine but not to vote?

5(b). If you answered YES to 5(a), do you want Latinos to die from pneumonia on their way to vote?

John said...

Hey Archiguy, you wrote:
"It's hard to believe the general public is as stridently opposed to reality and reason, and as religiously indoctrinated and inflexible, as this poll indicates."

Sounds like YOU are the one indoctrinated and inflexible. You've bought into the liberal lie that tolerance means everyone else has to believe what you do or you get to call them idiots and morons!

Anonymous said...

We are a democracy of dunces.

And it shows.

Anonymous said...

Evolution is a theory. There is no way you can prove it to be true. It is an easy way to avoid the argument, particularly when that is what they are cramming down your throat in public schools and colleges. If you disagree you are scorned and ridiculed.

Why are we so concerned about our nation backsliding? Who is so far ahead of us? There is no nation greater than the U.S. Stop spreading fear.

Anonymous said...

Yes, evolution is a theory, and people on here posting about half monkeys/half humans obviously didn't learn it in school, as there's nothing in the theory that teaches that.

Yes, the schools are failing to teach fundamental biology theory.

Anonymous said...

After watching Mecklenburg County government at, I'm not sure I believe in evolution any longer. Seems kind of like they're still living in caves.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 3:45:
I think you nailed it.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, make that Anonymous at 3:54 who nailed it.

Anonymous said...

Simple truth: you can get any answer you want, if you ask the right question in the right way. EVERY pollster knows that.

IMHO, poll results are more indicative of the opinions of those running the poll than they are of those answering the questions. That's why I never believe poll results, and would never participate in one.

Side note to the Observer: polls are not news. Actual events are news.

Anonymous said...

"Side note to the Observer: polls are not news. Actual events are news."

Quoted For Truth

Anonymous said...

For all of those stating evolution is a theory......so is the thought of a devine creator and Jesus being the son of God....all theories some with more scientific reasoning than others.

Archiguy said...

What this poll indicates is the inflexibility of religion to adapt to changing times. Far too many people use religious dogma as a way of reinforcing their membership in a social group that has long roots in the community and is an integral part of their lives. The Church says I need to believe in this, in spite of no supporting evidence, and I do what they tell me to do so that I can continue to remain in good standing with my family and friends.

And that's fine, but belief in God shouldn't cause someone to question scientific evidence that's been proven over and over. Science doesn't need to adapt to religion, but religion needs to adapt to science. We no longer believe the earth to be flat, but at one time strict religious doctrine mandated the punishment of death for such heresy. The Bible was used to justify the burning of innocent women thought to be witches.

Such is the case with evolution. Although there are holes in the theory, that's all they are, and they will eventually be filled in. That's how science works. But the fundamental theory of natural selection and evolution was settled long ago. It is no longer a mere theory. It is established fact.

Denial of what is now obvious does nothing but brand someone as a useful idiot. Useful to those who forage for Republican votes, mostly. But dangerous to a democratic republic which depends on an educated and informed populace to elect responsible leaders.

Anonymous said...

Like that "side note," polls are not news and many of us no longer appreciate the opinion expressed by the O. Wish we had a decent newspaper in our area. The Wall St Journal is a little expensive.

Anonymous said...

5:09, WSJ is expensive because they have reporters who create their own content. The CO simply regurgitates wire reports and syndicated columnists, and steals stories from sources MeckDeck and Cedar Posts without attribution (see their recent "come to Jesus" moment regarding John Connaughton's fraudulent "economic impact studies", lifted from a MeckDeck column posted 5 days earlier).

Anonymous said...

comment above should read "steals stories from sources LIKE MeckDeck..."

Jim said...

@ Bono 2:13 P.M.
I guess you mean "Most of us believe WHITE people from Alabama and Mississippi..." Wow! That's so inclusive! So not profiling! So intellectual and sophisticated! Ain't you sumpthin, now!

Anonymous said...

As an Alabamian currently living here in Charlotte, this poll doesn't tell me anything I didn't know. However, as much as I love my home state, the attitudes that still exist are very disheartening in the year 2012.

If we want to say this poll is cultural profiling, then I guess it is using the South to detract from the many other people in the nation that feel the same way as these respondents. We know that when people spend a lot of time looking down their noses at other sections of the nation it makes them feel better about themselves, giving them this erroneous idea that those views could never be found where they live. It also helps them believe that they are so far advanced than others, too. The more divided our nation becomes politically the more I am beginning to doubt we are going to advance any further. Instead, regressing seems much more likely. Just look at the hot issues being pushed around by Republican candidates on state and local levels in the last 9 months for proof.

Anonymous said...

So were the same questions asked of Dems in those states? Of course not...and does anyone think the results would have been different...except if the Dems had been asked the name of the VP or something like that.

Stupid poll...was taken to make news...not learn anything useful.

Anonymous said...

So Rush isn't allowed to say what he said, but you're allowed to make disparaging remarks about a group of people that YOU have a negative opinion about.

And when you do disparage these people, do you really think they're really going into the voting booth and stand along side YOU and your policies?

Zon said...

Well duh. Yes, the poll was doig cultural profiling. And, it didn't tell us anything we didn't already know.

Anonymous said...

I guess Archiguy has it all figured out. All Christians are Republicans, all athiests are Democrats.

Archiguy said...

Anon 8:04 - That's not what I was saying, and distorting what opponents say is a common tactic of the political right. But what IS true is that Republicans push these "social values" and inflexible religious positions hard. Democrats still believe in the separation of church and state. Defining the issue as "us vs. them" is what they use to get elected.

Anonymous said...

Ooh, I see Archiguy. You mean a ploy like class warfare?

Anonymous said...

One old boy from Mississippi, that they interviewed said it all when he stated, "Just like it says on my license on my pick up says, The South Will Rise Again". This probably is the attitude of most folks in Mississippi and Alabama. Yahoo, bring it on!

discourser said...

Archiguy said -

[..]pollsters are one group I wouldn't mind talking to.

Guess what most of those calls are that you are ignoring. ;-)

The majority of the time, I blow them off. I do a few here and there, especially if they are from a PAC that I recognize. It's funny how they word some of their questions and I'm sure I am in a small percent answering the way I do.

Anonymous said...

Another "Opinion" article smear. How about polling some Obama voters right here in Charlotte about their convictions and reasons for voting for Obama. Start somewhere, like, I dunno, Tuckaseegee or Freedom Drive.

Archiguy said...

Anon 8:36 - The Republicans have been waging top-down class warfare for over 30 years. Just what do you think "trickle down economics" is? During that period the percentage of the nation's wealth held by the top 1% has doubled while the middle class has seen no increase in their standard of living at all.

All the productivity gains and higher profits realized by offshoring most of the American light manufacturing segment of the economy went straight into the pockets of the upper class. Those jobs were replaced by lower paying service sector jobs that pay half as much, when they were replaced at all.

That's not a ploy, it's a strategy - a successful one from the Republicans' point of view.

Anonymous said...

@ Archiguy:

Two words: Jon Corzine

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