I usually try to give people the benefit of the doubt, but sometimes stupid just is. And as comedian Ron White is fond of saying, “You can’t fix stupid.” A recent ABC News poll found that 20% of Americans are “birthers”. That is, they believe it’s likely or true that President Obama was born in a foreign country. But wait, that’s not the stupid (or at this point, even the surprising) part.
Of that 1 in 5 real Americans who love their country and would defend its Constitution to their graves, fully a third approve of the job Obama is doing. That’s right. Somewhere around 7% of the population has rationalized that while the President may be in office in flagrant violation of our most sacred political document, at least he’s doing a good job of flying the plane he hijacked.
While it’s possible that this slice of America may have developed a new level of cognitive dissonance or simply be too brain dead to fog a mirror, it’s also possible they were busy texting friends or watching Oprah while taking the survey and were just sort of verbally checking boxes at random.
In any case, it’s pretty clear that while the reported margin for error in these sorts of polls may be statistically accurate, the true margin that yields actionable data is significantly higher.