By now, anyone who doesn’t know that polls are tools for manipulating public opinion, not for discovering what public opinion is, simply hasn’t been paying attention. And when poll results are published under the headline “The Big Lie: Over half of Republicans believe Donald Trump is the actual President of the United States,” it’s clear that we’re not dealing with honest brokers. With the recent news out of Arizona, Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, it’s clear that to believe that the 2020 presidential election was hardly the freest and fairest in American history is far from falling for a Big Lie. And that’s just the beginning of this poll’s dishonesty.
A research firm called Ipsos conducted the poll on behalf of Thomson Reuters. Ipsos bills itself as “the world’s third largest Insights and Analytics company,” and claims to “provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees.” However, Ipsos was accused of “systematic” and “massive” liberal bias in its polling during the 2016 presidential campaign, and there is no indication that it has mended its ways since then. On the basis of its “Big Lie” poll, instead of ridding itself of its biases, it is doubling down on them.
In a survey filled with awkwardly worded questions clearly designed to produce the outcome Ipsos and Reuters desired, we learn that only eight percent of Democrats and twenty-seven percent of Republicans believe that “foreign terrorism (committed by non-Americans on American soil)” poses “the biggest threat to the safety of average Americans.” Meanwhile, 49% of Democrats and 34% of Republicans believe that the biggest threat to safety comes from “politically or religiously-motivated domestic terrorism (committed by Americans on American soil).” 43% of Democrats and 38% Republicans were most concerned about “random acts of violence (committed by Americans on American soil).”
Superficially, this looks as if Americans are hardly concerned about jihad terrorism (“foreign terrorism”) at all, and extremely worried about “white supremacist” terrorism (“committed by Americans on American soil”) and people who open fire in schools and shopping malls (“random acts of violence”). So what we need, you see, is restrictions on dissent from the Left’s agenda (to take care of the “white supremacists,” who are now anyone to the right of Leon Trotsky), and the loss of our Second Amendment rights to end those random shootings. And lo and behold, the Democrat Party is here to help.
But wait a minute. Could sloppier and less informative categories have possibly been formulated? The foreign/domestic distinction, so beloved of our intelligence and law enforcement agencies, is actually of little value. A few weeks ago, an Islamic State (ISIS) jihadi was coming up for a bond hearing in Michigan and complicated his own case by threatening to murder his own attorney once he was released. Ibraheem Musaibli was born in Michigan, and was arrested while waging jihad in Syria. If he succeeds in bumping off his own lawyer, would that be “foreign terrorism,” or “politically or religiously-motivated domestic terrorism”? At least we can be fairly sure it wouldn’t be a “random act of violence,” since he would know his target. But what if Musaibli was freed and decided to heed the Islamic State’s call for attacks on random civilians in America? Which one of the three categories would that fall into?
Similar questions can be asked about Edward Schimenti of Zion, Illinois, who was sentenced in mid-April to thirteen and a half years in prison for aiding the Islamic State. Schimenti, a convert to Islam, expressed the desire to “cut the neck” of non-Muslims, in accord with the Qur’an’s command to do so (47:4). If he had cut the throat of a random stranger on the street, would that be a random act of violence, or domestic terrorism, or foreign terrorism, since even though Schimenti is an American, ISIS is not considered to be primarily an American organization?
Such examples could be multiplied ad infinitum. One would think that “the world’s third largest Insights and Analytics company” would work harder to “provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees” by formulating more precise categories, so as to make clear what citizens, consumers, patients, customers and employees are really thinking, and what they’re actually concerned about.
But it’s clear that Ipsos isn’t about revealing. It’s about concealing. This poll is designed to conceal the fact that very few Americans are genuinely worried about this phantom menace of white supremacist terror that we hear so much about except in terms of genuine white supremacists committing actual terrorist attacks. It fudges its categories so that people who are concerned about jihad violence, antifa and Black Lives Matter violence, and “white supremacist” violence are all lumped together in a way that gives the impression that “white supremacists” and “gun nuts” are what most Americans are worried about. And those just happen to be the Democrats’ two primary targets today. What a coincidence.