30% of GOP supporters want to bomb them, but 44% of Democrat supporters want to welcome refugees from a fictional country

The Guardian and left wing mouth-piece blogs are all aghast that 30% of Republican supporters want to bomb a fictional place. They’ve run all sorts of headlines and stories to that effect.

Almost one-third of Republican primary voters would support bombing the fictional kingdom of Agrabah, according to a report released by Public Policy Polling on Friday.

More than 530 Republican primary voters were polled this week on their support for Republican candidates and foreign policy issues including banning Muslims from entering the US, Japanese internment camps from the second world war and bombing Agrabah, the kingdom from Disney’s animated classic, Aladdin.

In its poll, Public Policy Polling asked the 532 Republicans: “Would you support or oppose bombing Agrabah?” While 57% of responders said they were not sure, 30% said they supported bombing it. Only 13% opposed it.

But what they haven’t reported, while they mock Republicans for their apparent stupidity, is that 44% of Democrat supporters want to welcome refugees from the same fictional country.

Just last week, Democrats in the media were guffawing over a poll which showed 30% of Republican primary voters would bomb the fictional city from Disney’s Aladdin. This week a Republican polling group asked a similar question of Democrats, and the results were even more embarrassing, with 44% of Democrats saying they’d support taking in refugees from Agrabah.  

WPA Research asked Democrats “Would you support or oppose allowing refugees from Agrabah to be re-settled in the United States?” In response, 44% of respondents said “yes.” Young Democrats, between 18 and 34, were especially eager to help the mythical refugees, with 66% saying they would support taking them in.

The question of whether or not the U.S. should accept refugees from Syria has been publicly debated for several weeks, especially since the terror attacks in Paris and, more recently, in San Bernardino, California. Republicans tend to oppose taking the refugees, with several Republican governors saying they would fight any effort to settle refugees from the war torn country in their state. So the question about refugees from Agrabah, while not a real place, does track with a real question about refugees that has been in the news.

The battle of the fake polling questions about Agrabah began last week when a writer for Salon.com suggested the bombing question as a way to embarrass Republicans. Left-leaning polling firm Public Policy Polling immediately adopted the idea and broadcast the results Friday morning.

The result was dozens of stories in media outlets whose authors were clearly amused by the question designed to embarrass Republicans. The fact that Democrats (19%) also wanted to bomb Agrabah was often mentioned at some point in the story, but the headline was definitely the 30% of Republicans who fell for the trick question. Breitbart News was one of a handful of sites to point out that, combining yes and no answers, more Democrats seemed to have been fooled by the fictional location than Republicans.

Oh dear, when political stunts get turned on you there are problems. This has now backfired on the activists with Democrats being shown as stupider than Republicans.

Stats Chat meanwhile decries the use of fake polls.

I’m pretty sure that less than 30% even of Republican voters really support bombing a fictional country. In fact, I’d guess it’s probably less than 5%. But think about how the question was asked.  You’re a stereotypical Republican voter dragged away from quiet dinner with your stereotypical spouse and 2.3 stereotypical kids by this nice, earnest person on the phone who wants your opinion about important national issues.  You know there’s been argument about whether to bomb this place in the Middle East. You can’t remember if the name matches, but obviously if they’re asking a serious question that must be the place they mean. And it seemed like a good idea when it was explained on the news. Even the British are doing it. So you say “Support”.

The 30% (or 19%) doesn’t mean Republicans (or Democrats) want to bomb Aladdin. It doesn’t even mean they want to bomb arbitrary places they’ve never heard of. It means they were asked a question carefully phrased to sound as if it was about a genuine geopolitical controversy and they answered it that way.

When Ali G does this sort of thing to political figures, it’s comedy. When Borat does it to unsuspecting Americans it’s a bit dubious. When it’s mixed in with serious opinion polling, it risks further damaging what’s already a very limited channel for gauging popular opinion.

Anything to sell newspapers these days.

 

– Breitbart, The Guardian, Stats Chat


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