The Electorate and Political Ignorance

Republican Politics :

More disconcerting than the thought of a Romney administration, is the knowledge that at least 40 percent of those casting a vote on November 6 are grossly apathetic.

In a recent YouGov poll, I asked participants about their views on abortion policy and what position they thought Obama, Romney, the Democratic Party, and the Republican Party took on abortion. Only about 60% of respondents knew that Obama and the Democrats supported more pro-choice policies than Romney and Republicans. Given that the parties have had clear and long-standing positions on this issue, it’s astonishing that 40% of Americans don’t know this basic fact (other surveys find even higher levels of ignorance).

Amazing. If such a large number of Americans are this clueless about a basic issue like abortion, what the hell are they basing their their vote on? How knowledgeable can they possibly be on issues like the economy, health care, immigration and foreign policy?

Unfortunately, the more ignorant the electorate remains on the basic issues that define the two political parties, the easier it is for Rovian politics to do its dirty work. There is definitely method to Romney’s flip-flopping madness.


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15 thoughts on “The Electorate and Political Ignorance

  1. My mother voted for Kennedy because he was handsome. She voted for W because he had a “ranch”. My best guess is she will vote for Romney because Ryan’s mother was with him at one speech and that “was nice”. You can’t make her understand that they will gut Social Security and Medicare, two programs she very much relies upon, because she does not want to hear. Instead, she goes off vague marketing ploys. She represents the 40% – and you cannot make them think.

    I have said before that you have to appeal to the fear factor – show very scary ads showing old people living under a bridge; what the world will look like with global warming and what that will do personally to them; people working in factories for little money and under sub-human conditions in America (think Foxcon in China)while the rich live in luxury; etc. Ads showing a very scary vision of what will really happen – to compete against that weird scary vision of Obama the Socialist (which is always vague).

  2. If the electorate voted for Bush twice,we cannot argue the point too much. At this point we can only believe that a majority will rise in Democrats favor and pray for Mr Obama. Hurricane Sandy is not helping to push the message but may help the Democrats sweep the election.

    Obama for 2012

  3. If you think that is grossly apathetic or ignorant or unaware, I challenge you to go out into the public streets and ask complete strangers whom you meet such questions as “Who is Vice President of The United States?” or some other similar rather simple question about government or the people in government.

    If you do this with any regularity, the blank stares and stupid answers you receive will absolutely floor you sometimes.

  4. The republican party feeds off of an ignorant electorate, without them the GOP would be irrelivent . Nonexistent.
    What scares me the most regarding this segment of our population, which are in reality the minority, is that the combination of the voter suppression, lies, fraud, and an army of the stupid, these people are in the position to elect a complete fool for president.

  5. Perhaps there SHOULD be a literacy test, a REAL one, like competency in a Civics class, before graduation from high school, in order to get your free (photo ID or not) registration card along with your diploma…combined with a MAJOR OVERHAUL of our election system.
    The answer is complicated…our failing education system, ideology that’s drummed into their heads, the Foxification of America and the media fostering a sharply divided electorate for ratings. Literacy, thoughtfulness and educational achievement have been turned into qualities to be ridiculed…because so many were failing?

    I don’t believe this election is as close as the polls, which the media push on an hourly basis. I appreciate the President looking and ACTING “presidential” in this latest “October Surprise” (the REAL one, not made up by the Donald) and giving voters a second chance to see a competent, calm, rational and effective leader in action.
    Perhaps those undecided voters or the apathetic will think twice about skipping this test.

  6. This article plays to one of my big fears about our society. This “Follow the Leader” mentality scares the crap out of me. I hate the idea that these sheep are making such vital decisions for all of us.

    With abortion being an issue that seems to guide people into opinions on so many other important issues, the distortion factor is huge. They just listen to the others in their tribe (Fox News, etc…) But ask them specifics and they are at a loss.

    I asked a conservative friend of mine a couple months ago what his big problem with Obama is, he said Obama borrowed all that money from China for his socialist agenda of redistribution. I said, “with a 16 trillion dollar debt, how much do you think that is?” “I think China has 48% of our debt” he replied. I said, “it is 9%.” He then accused me of liberal bias. I gave up and moved on to sports… This guy isn’t stupid, just inside the bubble. Scary.

  7. On the day when the second presidential debate was due to air, I casually asked an acquaintance if she was planning to watch. This woman appears to have all of her mental faculties intact, so I was shocked by her reply. She said “no — I don’t care about that sort of thing, and it better not interrupt Survivor!!” Sigh.

  8. Yeah, I have had friends say they don’t pay attention because politics “brings them down”. They will feel really down with a depression and living under a bridge.

    Also have had some say they are “above politics”. Again, they are not going to feel above too much if the Repugs have another go at it – and it hurt them enough the last time.

  9. I have a friend who I knew for a while. I am very vocal about my politics and even though she had heard me numerous times talk about my liberal, progressive politics but one day, she let me know she wasn’t sure if I was a Republican or a Democrat.

    I was amazed. She and I had spent so much time together and yet she didn’t know what side of the political spectrum I was on. The truth was, she just didn’t know what the positions of either party was, being that she had no interest really in politics.

    I think this is the case for lots of Americans; they’re Low Information voters. Some of these folks really just shouldn’t be voting at all. No wonder Republicans can still hold onto half of the seats in government.

  10. I was at the swimming pool yesterday in our community center. It is also a polling place where early voting is now taking place. I asked a fellow swimmer if she had voted yet and she promptly said “I don’t vote!” She went on to say that she doesn’t believe in the way that a president is elected by electoral votes so she refuses to participate. I said nothing, but I couldn’t help but think of those people who have fought and died for democracy and the right to vote for their country’s leaders. I’m amazed by these people who are totally uninterested in the outcome of this crucial election!

  11. I think that after a few more adjustments that the republicans can make, voting will be obsolete. It will be an illusion as the GOP uses propaganda and election fraud to take over this country.

  12. Karen: one of my most frustrating calls was to an otherwise seemingly bright, articulate young woman who claimed she refuses to vote because every time she does, she gets called for jury duty. As you might imagine, I sat for far too long with my mouth agape.

  13. The most amazing thing to me is how alot of people don’t think any of these issues will affect their lives in anyway, sure the economy is important and the deficit is important but thats not my driving force for my life abortion shouldn’t even be in question birth control shouldn’t be on the table at all, planned parenthood shouldn’t be on the table, this personhood law should not have even seen the light of day not to mention one vote on it, religion should never ever come up in any election because it plays no roll unless we have extremist trying to invade our government in which is whats being done, so why can’t we stop any of these things that we don’t like thats being pressed against us? I think it’s because the evangelist have a large audience access to tv and radio the network and they have combined money on their side.

    I went to a bar and grill for lunch i was standing on a side where there was a structure that kinda blocked me from where these guys were sitting they were talking about the president called him the n-word about 10 times said he’s stealing their freedoms and libertys and they won’t stand for it they fought in the war they fought for this country and no way a nigg*r going destroy everything they fought for. The people who voted for the nigg*r should be put before a fireing squad and shot down like Hitler would do it. I was shocked to hear another white person in this day and age talk like that. they said Obama ran up the deficit that never was there before he came into office and he’s raising taxs on everybody but the rich you know wallstreet and all being in the presidents pocket. it was said that Obamas giving the worthless niggs and illegals healthcare and foodstamps and they won’t work a day any where you can provide transportation for them to and from the job and they won’t take it their just lazy spects in this country and their tired of it. Romneys the guy whose gonna change all of that he’s a great businessman and has wealth he promises to get the country working again he’s all for protecting our freedoms and libertys this man knows how to stand up to the terrorist and will protect this country, that Obama he’s weak and the world see’s this country as broke and weak under a socialist nigg*r goverment. he’s got to go he should be ran out of here from day one a good fine trustworthy man whose religious and has a great family like Mitt Romney thats what this country needs.

    Now i wanted to interrupt but i thought these guys are all caught up in their prejudice and like how the country has been run by whites the very same one’s that screw us over every chance they get, they don’t care about Mitt Romney never really answering any important questions nor do they care about how he left the state that he once governored the olympics he supposed to have turned around wasn’t the most supreme thing to base your vote on for president. I pay attention to what those say who have been affected by BAINs dealings while Romney was there he still has holdings and investments in BAIN and all accross this country and the world, Romney and Ryan have spread lie’s over and over again those things shouldn’t be shook off total disregard for the president i don’t like that, blaming the president for one’s own downfalls i don’t get that. No president takes you by the hand and lead you to the promise land your destiny is what you make it and alot of luck on your side, if you want something to happen then do everything you can to make it happen, you can change presidents but if you still have the same mindset then what will change for you, you’ll still continue the trap you’re in or become bitter like those two guys were. blaming the president, throwing to the wind that it was under Bush we went into this recession and borrowed all this money and ran up the deficit and failed our school system that is very much fixable which went down the tubes under Bush and the republicans ,Obamas lack of support from the republican congress has hindered a speedy recovery for this country. if Romney and Ryan get into position for the presidentcy their gonna cut out everything from A to Z and it affects everybody if any of us think any of us are immuned then we need to grow up real fast here, the spending the president has done has been for our benefit spinning won’t change that fact what he did was for us what romney and ryan will do will be against us, giving up our womens rights for these 2 i’d rather not, what does abortion personhood religion have to do with the deficit or balancing a budget.

  14. Demi…… soon as the older and southern racist let it sink in that we had a black president I knew that there would be a backlash. But the republicans working with the evangelicals, rightwing radio and fox news really set off massive propaganda conspirisiy theory’s. When the census showed that the white race was headed to become a minority party in the near future…..these people went insane. It is sickening.

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