And speaking of skewed polling…

Ann Althouse addresses a Kos posting that leads off thusly:

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m putting the finishing touches on my new book, American Taliban, which catalogues the ways in which modern-day conservatives share the same agenda as radical Jihadists in the Islamic  world.

Seems the author of said book – after deciding on the book’s premise and title – then thought he should run a poll to see just what “self-identified Republicans” believe. Shockingly, the Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll confirmed his assertions. Althouse thinks this is disingenuous and I conur. She says:

Wonderful anti-Republican PR results. They justify the fears people who are not Republicans have about the Republican Party. I don’t like thinking people are this extreme, and I wish I could see how the questions were worded. The full survey (and the questions) were not out at the time TPM put up this post, and releasing the results in this form reinforces my suspicion that the motivation of the poll is to generate anti-Republican PR.

Well of course it is. And her observation that this it all to justify fears held by people who 1) aren’t Republican and 2) likely don’t know anything solid about the Republican Party is quite astute. I do have to say, however, that her concern that these results would lead someone to think that “people are this extreme” made me want to take a closer look at them. So here we go, one at a time:

39% of Republicans want President Obama to be impeached.

For what? Most Republicans I know (and I know quite a few) are well aware that impeachment is about the commission of actual crimes, not about pressing forward with a bone-headed agenda that most Americans don’t agree with. If the actual question was “Should Obama be impeached?” then I’d say that question was impossibly vague and the results prove nothing.

63% think Obama is a socialist.

Let’s see… Obama has put the majority of domestic auto producers under direct government control, he’s pressing for a nationalized health care system that would be under government control, he is using regulatory power to strongarm banks into accepting government control of their internal corporate practices, he’s attempting to assert even more government control over the financial sector to the point of dictating pay scales and compensation practices, and he is either actively pursing or has publicly advocated all manner of government involvement in the daily lives of the citizenry right down to trying to dictate how college football championships are played. And only 63% think he’s socialist? Given his actual voting patterns, the solutions he advocates, and where he’s put his time and money I think it’s an absolute certainty that he’s a socialist. That survey result (assuming we believe the survey at all) is not an indicator that Republicans are somehow bad people. It shows they’re paying attention to reality.

Only 42% believe Obama was born in the United States.

While I personally don’t put much stock in that theory, I don’t have much sympathy for people who find this attitude a problem. Considering how absurdly simple it would be to prove the other 58% wrong and considering the assurance of a sympathetic media to blare out that proof from every mountaintop, whose fault is it that this attitude persists? Wanna do something about it, Kos kids? You know what to do.

21% think ACORN stole the 2008 election — that is, that Obama didn’t actually win it, and isn’t legitimately the president, with 55% saying they are “not sure.”

I’m willing to put $5 down on the wager that more than 21% of self-identified Democrats still believe the GOP “stole” the 2000 elections even after multiple investigations showed that no such thing happened. (Hey, some of them believe the same thing of the 2004 elections, in spite of the fact that it wasn’t close.)  And since that point in time there have been actual indictments and convictions of ACORN personnel violating federal elections laws in attempts to skew the election toward their favored candidates, Obama being one of those candidates. Considering that evidence, the suspicion that ACORN was, indeed, responsible for some of Obama’s margin isn’t some baseless fantasy. Still, notice that when you add up the percentages what remains – 24% – is likely the category of people who do not believe ACORN stole the election. So, more Republicans think it didn’t happen than think it did. I wonder why that was left out of the assessment? Hmmm.

53% think Sarah Palin is more qualified than Obama to be president.

Again, only 53%? Let’s stack up the objective qualifications, shall we? Executive experience? Palin yes, Obama no. Actual experience leading any kind of military structure? Palin yes (AK National Guard), Obama no. Experience managing multiple governmental agencies as part of a cohesive government structure? Palin yes, Obama no. Now, gee, why would anyone think that maybe Sarah Palin’s actual experience in governance versus Obama’s complete lack thereof would make her more qualified for the job? Easy: because it does. And Obama’s performance over the past year proves Hillary Clinton’s assessment of him during the 2008 campaign: Obama wasn’t ready to be President.

23% want to secede from the United States.

I call bullsh*t on that one. No Republican I’ve ever known has ever even suggested such a thing. In fact, none of them ever so much as threatened to leave the country if Obama got elected, unlike the scores of leftists who made that promise during the 2004 election cycle and then, when President Bush was solidly re-elected, failed to follow through. I suspect the question was worded specifically to get a result and that it’s now being reported somewhat differently.

73% think gay people should not be allowed to teach in public schools.

I again suspect this question isn’t being reported accurately. If the question was whether public schools should be teaching a gay agenda, then I can understand the 73% figure. But that merely being gay should disqualify them from teaching at all? I don’t buy it.

31% want contraception to be outlawed.

Here we go again – I think we’re not being given the whole story. If this were really the attitude – that 1 in 3 Republicans out there thought that any and all contraception should be made illegal for any citizen – I’d have run into it by now. I haven’t. Now, if the actual question was whether the selling or giving of contraception to a minor should be illegal then I’d believe this result. And I wouldn’t consider it to be some out-of-the-mainstream freak position, either, unlike what Kos clearly wants you to believe.

Althouse’s main point should be the real takeaway, here, however. The author of the work had his mind made up and he’s absolutely going to convey his sense to his audience that conservatives and Republicans are American versions of the Taliban. His going to a polling firm to get some numbers to make his book appear to be solidly based is just icing on the cake. Had the numbers come out differently, it would have changed nothing about his book.