StanCollender'sCapitalGainsandGames Washington, Wall Street and Everything in Between

Why I Am Not a Republican

02 Feb 2010
Posted by Bruce Bartlett

I can only conclude from this new poll of 2003 self-identified Republicans nationwide that between 20% and 50% of the party is either insane or mind-numbingly stupid.


Not Sure
Should Barack Obama be impeached?
Do you believe Barack Obama was born in the United States?
Do you think Barack Obama is a socialist?
Do you believe Barack Obama wants the terrorists to win?
Do you believe ACORN stole the 2008 election?
Do you believe Sarah Palin is more qualified to be president than Barack Obama?
Do you believe Barack Obama is a racist who hates white people?
Do you believe your state should secede from the United States?
Should openly gay men and women be allowed to teach in public schools?
Should contraceptive use be outlawed?
Do you believe the birth control pill is abortion?

EDITOR'S NOTE:  While Capital Gains and Games welcomes active debate, this particular comment thread has now been closed. We encourage you to weigh in on the issues raised in other, more-recent posts.

Addendum: Polling expert Nate Silver comments on this poll here. RLG at The Economist comments here.

Somebody please convince me

Somebody please convince me that Kos was cooking the stats to make Republicans look like ignorant rubes.

cooking the data

Rather than Kos cooking the data to make the Republicans look like rubes, are you sure they aren't trying to make the Republicans look better than they are?

Research 2000 conducted the poll

Research 2000 just went out and polled 2,000 "self-identified Republicans" and asked them these exact questions. DailyKos didn't have anything to do with the conduct of the poll aside from paying for it.

Remain Unconvinced

Research 2000 is a quality, *independent* polling firm, and the questions, exactly as they were asked, are provided. It's evident that they are not push poll questions - they're obviously straight up. You can see that for yourself. Bottom line - your modern-day Republican party, ladies and gentlemen - is REALLY THAT NUTS.

What slays me is the percentile which admits they DON'T EVEN KNOW. That percentile is generally under 4% in most political polls, but those numbers are in double digits here. DOUBLE DIGITS are unsure of the answers to the most elementary conceivable questions. No wonder they LOVE Sarah Palin.

Maybe you aren't as smart as you think....

Be careful where you get your polling data... Maybe the Daily Kos isn't the most reliable source for anything remotely accurate.

But maybe they just use a real pollster

Which they do. R2K is an independent pollster. It's not like using a party-affiliated outfit.

And this is what they found. It's as simple as that. And perhaps it explains why the Republican caucuses vote so lockstep on everything most of the time; they're pandering to primary voters.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the data comes from an independent polling firm, yes?

did you read the polling information?

Daily Kos commissioned the poll from an independent and respected polling company called "Research 2000."

The poll questioned only self-identified registered Republicans. The only input Kos had was on what was asked. If you read the questions, you'll see it's not a push-poll, either.

Kos was as surprised by the results as anyone else. But if it makes you feel better to ignore these facts and to hold onto your own assumptions about the GOP, that's certainly your business.

Ya think ?

Research 2000 is a quality, *independent* polling firm, and the questions, exactly as they were asked, are provided. They are not push-pull questions - they're obviously straight up. Bottom line - your modern-day Republican party, ladies and gentlemen - is REALLY THAT NUTS.

About that upper bound...

Do you think Barack Obama is a socialist? 63
Do you believe Sarah Palin is more qualified to be president than Barack Obama? 53

I suppose it's remotely possible that 3% of Republicans could believe that a one-term mayor who destroyed her city's budget for the next generation and a half-term Governor of a state which is massively subsidized and whose legislature meets even more infrequently than that of Texas is less qualified than a lawyer and U Chicago Professor of Law who spent several years running successful community organizations.

But 13% are both (1) sane and (2) believe BarryO is a socialist?


The word is not "stupid" or "insane".

The right word is "evil".

But if 80% of our country is

But if 80% of our country is insane or mind-numbingly stupid (a good estimate), then that would make leave 30% to 60% of the democrats to fill that remainder.

Well . . .

keep in mind the number of people who are still willing to self identify as Republicans. Last time I looked is was somewhere in the neighborhood of 25-28%.

Why I am not a Republican

Prepare yourself for a whole load more insane comments. Research 2000 the pollster has already received 2 death threats!

Stupidity Goes Both Ways

I'm fairly certain that I could produce a question-set with results from self-identified Democrats that are just as shocking. I call myself an "Independent", but I'm sure that the above statement applies to that population as well. Or, for that matter, for the whole American or global population.

At any rate, I don't buy the logic that one should refuse to associate oneself with an ideological movement or political effort just because many who claim to do so hold unsavory opinions unrelated to the central ideas or party platform. The whole concept of a "big-tent" party is that people are making common cause around a core set of goals, and that beyond that, differences are tolerated for the sake of success through unity.

If a party formed around the goal of responsible government budgeting, and it turned out that 25% of the members turned out to be radically pro-drug-legalization, or worse, adherents to the "9/11 was an inside job" conspiracy theory (a nonsensical and delusional belief that truly disgusts and infuriates me) should I just turn up my nose in disgust, disassociate myself, and sit on the sidelines because those folks' ideas are just so unpalatable?

Re:Stupidity Goes Both Ways

You're on. Give me the questions and I do it.

You must be joking...

You write "I don't buy the logic that one should refuse to associate oneself with an ideological movement or political effort just because many who claim to do so hold [here it comes] unsavory opinions unrelated to the central ideas or party platform."

How are these ideas unrelated to the Republican party platform or the central ideas of the party? They are absolutely related. If there were questions about Beyonce or their favorite film, then I'd agree. But these questions are very relevant, and mirror the kinds of basic questions commonly used in polling all the time when we're trying to measure ones political beliefs and ideology.

I smell some desperation don't want it to be so, but apparently it is. Sorry, but having correct information is always better than mistaken hopes.

Just as shocking

If you think that the poll was slanted, just read the questions (all directly stated) and look at the cross-tabs. It's not the questions that made them look bad, it was the answers.

"pretty sure" -- now there's a weak argument

Go ahead, come up with the questions.

These results are so incredible, it's no wonder people are calling shenanigans. (Please note it is not DailyKos but Research 2000 that conducted the poll, a lot of commenters seem to have missed that.)

On the other hand, I think of the Republicans in my family and I have to admit it's possible.


Please bring it on. Walk the walk, btw have you ever been to dailykos when kos himself bans those "nonsensical and delusional beliefs"?And are you referring to the republican party as a big tent party? People like yourself who claim to hold the middle ground are unfortunately utterly ignorant of reality. Indeed, it's a sad state of affairs...

As a democrat...

As a democrat, I would like to add that we have our share of "fruits and nuts". It is scary.

The fruits and the nuts...

I'm not a Democrat, but my wife is a Democratic activist, and here in Washington the fruits and nuts are thick on the ground.

My favorite anecdote (which is not the singular of "data", remember): On the eve of the election I was dragged to a pollwatching party. I met a former state legislator who confided in me, "I'm glad Obama will be president. He's much more prepared than McCain to deal with all the disasters that will happen in 2012, when the Mayan calendar runs out." She was not joking.

I've met a scary number of 9/11 Truthers, anti-vaccination and anti-flouridation nuts, and fans of Prison Planet or Infowars among the Democrats.

Plenty of nuts in the Democratic Party

Very very few of them have gotten themselves elected to anything though.

You hear Republican Senators and Congressmen espousing the beliefs in this poll on a daily basis. The last time I heard a Democrat elected endorsing anything equivalent was Cynthia McKinney... and Dems had the good sense to primary her out of office.

A truther question would be difficult to write. There's the nutty belief that no plane crashed into the Pentagon and the WTC was brought down by demolition, and there's the sane belief that the Bush administration dropped the ball on terrorism prior to 9/11, but a poorly worded poll question would probably lump the two together.

We're all Charles Barkley now

“I Was a Republican Until They Lost Their Minds”. Charles Barkley on July 20, 2006.

Actually, I've never been a Republican. Grew up in the 70s in a loony liberal Democratic household, went to college, started to learn about economics, and became more "realistic" about things. Nowadays I'm about as fiscally conservative as you can get. But as I was moving to the right, the Republican party was doing the same, and at five times the velocity. The modern "rabid right" makes the "loony left" of the 70s look good, or at least better.

And Bruce Bartlett has become one of my intellectual heroes.

Beliefs After 9/11

Bruce, you have to realize that even after it was blatantly shown, and even admitted to by George W, that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11, over 40% of the country still believed that he did. Over 50% of evangelicals condone torture. Roughly 45% of the country does not believe in evolution.

Most of these people are Republicans. All of them are "mind-numbingly stupid", but they vote. Is it any shock that this country ended up with the likes of George W. Bush? He is one of them. So is Sarah Palin. Ignorant, uninformed, but always 100% sure of themselves.

Grain of salt?

Strange as it feels coming from my fingertips (ouch! they burn) there's a decent article over on the Moderate Voice with some reasons the poll numbers may be a bit skewed. Then again, they do sound about right to me.

Umm...sorry. This poll is accurate.

Ann Althouse's argument that if the poll identified itself as being for Daily Kos would somehow make the results WORSE< is hilariously stupid.

First of all -- I doubt that daily Kos was even mentioned.

Second, even if it were -- she presumes that most Republicans even know what Daily Kos is. They don't.

Third, even if Daily Kos was identified as the polling oprganization -- and Republicans knew what it was -- wouldn't this tilt the results more to the SANE side? Specifically, wouldn't rabid wingnuts and wackos refuse to participate in the poll at all? Wouldn't the more sane, moderate and rational Republicans be the ones who bothered to answer?

Frankly, the results are scary for taht reason alone.

Also, this is the same polling outfit Kos uses to poll Obama -- and Washington DC politicians and the paries -- favorability ratings. The same poll that showed Obama slipping to 53% favorability and the massive enthusiasm gap between Dems and the GOP (in the GOP's favor).

I think Republicans who don't take this seriously are probably dooming their party to the fringes of Presidential politics much like the Dems did in the late 60's through the 1980's.

Looking at the electoral map -- I just don't see how any Republican who could survive the GOP primary stands a chance of winning the Presidency for at least the next 3-4 elections

Grains of salt are really small...

Perhaps I am an idiot, check that, I know I am an idiot, card carrying and all that, so could you show me where, in the article you linked too, he showed anything beyond speculation on the validity of the poll? I mean, complaining about the results because you don't like them and suggesting that perhaps the pollsters ginned up the results to make the GOP look bad is not really indicative of the web sites title (themoderatevoice). And he sites Althouse, who is in perpetually angry and snide mode as a source.

No Salt in that Mine

I read the article you link to, and it's, well, underwhelming. The writer couldn't be bothered to look at the poll itself, which has been posted on the DailyKos website, but instead relies on Ann Althouse, who also hasn't troubled herself with, oh, you know, actually looking at the poll before dismissing it.

I have looked at the poll myself. The only thing I saw that gave me any pause was that the poll seemed to over sample the South. But then, the Republican Party seems to over sample the South these days (and I live here).

If someone wants to articulate a well-considered, factual dispute with the poll, its questions or its methodology, I'd be interested to read it. As a liberal, I am dismayed by the weak arguments from the right. I don't want an unchallenged world view. After initially cheering Obama's mopping of the floor with the Republican caucus, I was dismayed that they so obviously weren't up to the task of challenging him - because that's what makes us better. It's hard to have a marketplace of ideas when one side has a monopoly on the ideas (and the delusions reflected in this poll do not count as "ideas").


there are more of them in the south, no?

So if 65% (made up number) of redders are down south, shouldn't the poll as more southerners?

It would be more helpful if

It would be more helpful if there was a control associated with this that included all Americans. Just saying 20-50% of Republicans are stupid doesn't mean anything if 20-50% of Americans are stupid (by your standards, that is).

Yes, well one might expect

Yes, well one might expect analogous results to a poll of 2003 Dems asking whether George Bush directed the attach on the WTC.

Sorry if that hits a little close to home Bruce.


You seriously claim that in 2003, 20 to 50 percent of self-identifying Democrats said Bush ordered the attack on the WTC?

Why you're not a Republican

Bruce, anyone who is dumb enough to take a Daily Kos poll seriously is too dumb to be a Republican.

The poll

The poll wasn't done by Daily KOS, it was done by Research 2000.

Don't go proving their point though.

He already did

Oh snap!


1) The poll was conducted by Kos, so its results should be taken with an entire salt mine.

2) Do you really think the rest of the country is any more sane? Half of them believe in alien abductions! This is why we should be thrilled that more people don't vote -- The non-voters represent a disproportionate percentage of the ones who believe stupid crap.

KOS et al

You have apparently decided that the extreme left is where you belong. Among those with whom I associate, the lefties are the only ones given to statements like "either insane or mind-numbingly stupid" when referring to those with whom they disagree.

Well, really, for God's sake.

Are you going to tell me with a straight face that you believe Barack Obama is a foreign national and should be impeached? Or that creationism should be taught in public schools? Or that contraception as well as abortion should be illegal?

These aren't just extreme positions. I think the phrase "either insane or mind-numbingly stupid" is absolutely apt.


Conservatives are far more civil to those with whom THEY disagree. They just call them traitors, socialists, and fascists. Much better.

The Methodology

From the bottom of the poll's web page, here is a direct quote of the methodology (note the Daily Kos subcontracted the polling to Research 2000):


The Daily Kos Republican Poll was conducted by Research 2000 from January 20 through January 31, 2010. A total of 2003 self identified Republicans were interviewed nationally by telephone. Those interviewed were selected by the random variation of the last four digits of telephone numbers, nationally.

The margin for error, according to standards customarily used by statisticians, is no more than plus or minus 2% percentage points. This means that there is a 95 percent probability that the "true" figure would fall within that range if the entire self identified Republican population were sampled. The margin for error is higher for any demographic subgroup, such as for gender or region.






Interesting methodology

Phone polls are more likely to get self-important windbags who have nothing better to do than answer questions. They probably got a lot of unemployed lower-class men over 50.

The younger people have cell phones, and the richer sort are working and too busy to answer.

Vinyl, this isn't

Vinyl, this isn't "interesting methodology". This is *standard* methodology, the exact same way political polls have been conducted for 50 years. It's well-established, thoroughly tested methodology.

It ain't true

For fifty years the pollsters have been running a scam on everyone. The basic axiom for probability using small (miniscule in most cases)samples is the requirement for absolute randomness in choosing the sample. Not only is this principle ignored, they "correct" for it by using fudge factors which have no mathematical basis. The mathematical theory was developed for the purpose of testing a SINGLE hypothesis, not a series of questions. Standard it may be, rational it is not.

Shifting Definition

If NPR is considered a left-leaning news source, I think the typical Republican is being ill-served by his news sources (Fox).

most obama voters thought

most obama voters thought that the republicans controlled congress... neither "party" is either insane or mind-numbingly stupid...the whole population of the country is like that...

well now...

... it sure looks to me like Republicans are doing a pretty good job controlling Congress, majorities be damned.

That said, got link? I hadn't happened on this bit of data.

Stupid !

If repubicans are so stupid as eidenced by their beliefs, how do you reconcile the fact that blacks were the biggest supporters (95%) of the Obama fraud, and the fact that black have a larger percent of evangalicals (ie. no evolution)than whites. As a conservative I am not barred fro
m acknowledging facts that are not politically correct. Jim W.

"The Obama fraud"?

Barack Obama won the 2008 election handily, garnering the laergest popular vote total for president in the history of the country. Where's the fraud?

You may not be "barred from acknowledging facts that are not politically correct", but you sure seem inclined to ignore those that are inconvenient to your personal political narrative.

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