Politico Asks: Are Voters Stupid?By: Shawn Hess - March 14, 2012
Yesterday Politico hosted their live-stream election show and featured a story about how some voters might be confusing opinion for facts, rendering their decision making abilities somewhat anemic or as they put it “stupid”.
Essentially the article titled, ‘Are Voters Stupid’, written by reporter Alexander Burns highlights confusion by many prospective voters on issues like gas prices, the presidents nationality, and the war in Afghanistan. According to the author these issues are cut and dry and clearly defined by fact, yet readers still debate these details in an opinion-based fashion.
The article features commentary from Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling, a Democratic polling firm. In his commentary he explains the ins and outs of dealing with voters and public perception.
“The first lesson you learn as a pollster is that people are stupid,”
“I tell a client trying to make sense of numbers on a poll that are inherently contradictory that at least once a week.”
“We’re seeing that kind of thing more and more. I think it’s a function of increased political polarization and voters just digging in their heels and refusing to consider the opposing facts once they’ve formed an opinion about something,”
“I also think voters are showing a tendency to turn issues that should be factual or non-factual into opinions. If you show a Tennessee birther Obama’s birth certificate, they’re just going to say ‘well in my opinion he’s not a real American.’ It’s not about the birth certificate; it’s about expressing hatred for Obama in any form they can.”
So the article is fairly strait-forward about the idea that many voters aren’t necessarily confused, but are adamant about sticking to their guns even in the face of reality. If this isn’t stupid, I don’t know what is, but that’s how many people are. So the obvious truth is that Politico published an article on how stubborn the American public can be.
So what’s the story? Now Politico has to do damage control and try to convince viewers and readers that their story was not intended to insult American voters, but to show them how difficult changing people’s perceptions can be. However I think showing Forest Gump at the top of the article clearly suggests that they view the general public as, “mentally challenged” in regard to the issue.
Here, check out the footage:
So, it’s okay with me if you want to call us stupid Politico, just don’t backslide and say it didn’t happen. I guess they lose some points with me for trying to clarify. Either way, it should be taken with a grain of salt, Americans can be pretty fickle, and often times I am concerned that political elections become more of a popularity contest than an informed decision about who is best qualified to represent the people.