Nick Gillespie of Reason has a little fun with a shock headline: “Five Percent of New Jerseyans Who Voted For Obama Think He’s The Anti-Christ!”
Hey folks, you had your chance to vote for real evil last year. Seems sort of late to ponder what might have been.
On a more serious note, Iain Murray explores the percentages of Birthers and Truthers:
I don’t think I’ve ever been as depressed, shocked or, for that matter, frightened by an opinion poll finding as with this one:
We’ve been uncovering a remarkable level of anger toward Barack Obama in a lot of our recent polling so for New Jersey we decided to go a step further in determining how extreme some people’s feelings are about the President and asked respondents if they think he is the Anti-Christ.
8% said yes. 13% aren’t sure. Among Republicans 14% said yes and 15% weren’t sure.
Pretty eye popping numbers. The extent to which some people already hate Obama is amazing. We’ll test that question nationally this weekend.
The extremism in New Jersey isn’t limited to the right though. 19% of voters in the state, including 32% of Democrats, think that George W. Bush had prior knowledge of 9/11.
Beyond that 21% of respondents, including 33% of Republicans, express the belief that Obama was not born in the United States.
Combine the birthers and the truthers and you’ve got 37% of the electorate. And the 3% of voters who really need to get their heads checked are the ones who are both birthers and truthers.
These findings are in no way unique to New Jersey. In fact it’s the least ‘birther’ of five states where we’ve looked at that question. But it’s a reminder that high levels of extremism are in no way limited to the south.
This is getting out of hand. I was heartened by the relative lack of birther signs during the Saturday teaparty, given that in a crowd that size you’re bound to get more than a small smattering of nutjobs. This poll, however, suggests that the problem of irrational extremism in politics is much worse than I suspected. Leaders really have to get a grip. If ever there was time for a national, bipartisan Sister Souljah moment, this is it.
Kathy Shaidle once wrote, “Conspiracy theories are history for stupid people.” It seems to safe to say that you’re always going to have a percentage of the population, on both sides of the aisle, believing in wild, insane theories for elements of history that they can’t or won’t accept.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m due back at my teaching post at Miskatonic University.