Patterico's Pontifications


Shocking Headline of the Day

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 12:40 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

From the Houston Chronicle:

    “Poll finds 23% of Texans think Obama is Muslim”

The poll was conducted by the University of Texas Department of Government. By Texas’ standards, UT may be the closest we Texans have to a bastion of liberalism.

Now here’s the rest of the story:

  • The poll was conducted solely on the internet.
  • One-third of the respondents are 18-34 years old, but only 20% of the voters are in that age bracket.
  • The survey’s respondents were 31% Hispanic but only 16-17% of voter turnout is Hispanic.
  • The survey had 49% of its respondents with only a high school education or less, which is not representative of Texas polls.
  • The results were roughly even in terms of partisanship even though Texas is eight points more Republican than Democrat.
  • Other than that, this survey looks fine.

    — DRJ

    69 Responses to “Shocking Headline of the Day”

    1. From another thread on the same topic:

      “The other 77% KNOW he’s a muslim”

      i like america (d2f951)

    2. It seems that Academics in Texas are ignorant of ethics.

      PCD (7fe637)

    3. As a government student at UT, I can say that with my limited experiences with the professors here, they skew center-right. Many of them seem libertarianish.

      Colin (3e83c4)

    4. Your right, that is a horrible way to do a poll. The real number is probably as low as what 5 to 10 percent? (comfort level?)

      Maybe we should put telephone bots on the case to find out how many Californians think McCain is a fascist.

      Oiram (983921)

    5. 12% thought he was a Republican….

      EricPWJohnson (47b9ab)

    6. Colin,

      That’s encouraging although I guess it depends on how you view the Texas version of center-right. Why do you view them as libertarian?

      EDIT: In any event, Colin, my statement was poorly worded. I intended to label the University of Texas as Texas’ bastion of liberalism, not the Government Department. I mentioned the Govt Dept because it participated in the poll but the end result was unclear and I’ll correct it. Thanks for your comment.

      DRJ (cb68f2)

    7. I would be interested in a poll of UT students on current events and history. A number of studies of people that age show alarming ignorance of history and current events. Why should Obama’s religion (if any) be any different ?

      From the study of 14,000 students:

      Harvard University seniors scoring a “D+” average on a 60-question multiple-choice exam about civic literacy.

      Where did Obama go to school again ?

      Mike K (f89cb3)

    8. You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant“—or so sang Arlo Guthrie.
      It’s also clear that you can get any poll result you want, so long as you cast your net in a pool of your own choosing.

      Mike Myers (31af82)

    9. show alarming ignorance of history and current events. Why should Obama’s religion (if any) be any different?
      I think some people have a serious question about his religion. What do the records at the Catholic school in Indonesia say? I’m working off memory, and the records my be a hoax, but I thought the nuns were respecting his parents wishes that he be treated as a Muslim.
      IOW, I don’t think everybody who answers “Muslim” is doing so because they are stupid and/or misinformed. They may wonder, have doubts, and in the balance conclude that the voice in his head answers to Allah – heck, Obama himself claims to not listen when in the “Christian” church of Rev. Wright.

      cboldt (3d73dd)

    10. Other than that, this survey looks fine.

      Picky picky picky…

      Scott Jacobs (89480a)

    11. Mike K,

      I read those studies when our son was choosing colleges and it’s not encouraging. I’m glad to see several colleges (chiefly state colleges) are making efforts to adopt a more rigorous core curriculum, including a renewed emphasis on Western Civilization. Here’s what UT is doing.

      DRJ (cb68f2)

    12. Comment by cboldt — 10/30/2008 @ 1:17 pm

      It was my understanding that the school in Indonesia was a Madrassa, and that Barack Jr. was enrolled as a Muslim (couldn’t enroll at all if not a Muslim re Indonesian law).
      His Indonesian Step-Father is/was a Muslim.

      Another Drew (3eb642)

    13. Maybe it’s because Barack Obama told George Stephanopolous about his Muslim faith on national television.

      Official Internet Data Office (184273)

    14. AP photo of school register reveals “Barry Soetoro” as muslim Indonesian – Israel Insider (August 14, 2008)
      Obama challenges allegation about Islamic school – AP (January 24, 2007) [Notice the non-denial denial, the school is in fact Catholic. But that fact is not dispositive of the faith of the student as asserted by the parents who enrolled the student.]

      The AP caption reads: “This registration document, made available on Jan. 24, 2007, by the Fransiskus Assisi school in Jakarta, Indonesia, shows the registration of Barack Obama under the name Barry Soetoro into the Catholic school made by his step-father, Lolo Soetoro. The document lists Barry Soetoro as a Indonesian citizen, born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, and shows his Muslim step-father listed the boy’s religion as Islam. (AP Photo/ Tatan Syuflana)” Syuflana is a well-known and frequently published photographer, specializing in Indonesia.

      cboldt (3d73dd)

    15. 53% believe Obama walks on water.

      Perfect Sense (9d1b08)

    16. Has anyone critically examined how Obama treats women? From paying them less to the fact he seems to have none around him. Muslim upbringing teaches that women are second class citizens.

      bill-tb (26027c)

    17. It was my understanding that the school in Indonesia was a Madrassa, and that Barack Jr. was enrolled as a Muslim (couldn’t enroll at all if not a Muslim re Indonesian law).
      According to one report (linked above), he could have been enrolled as a Catholic or Protestant. It sounds to me the school was open to all comers, and was respectful of a diverse religious community. I’d say “Madrassa” is incorrect, or at least not the same as the report I’m referring to.
      I have no idea if the AP photo is a hoax, etc. Just saying that to answer “I think he’s a Muslim” could be the result of deliberate thought and not the product of stupidity.
      The “Madrassa” v “Catholic School” seems to answer the wrong question (school identity, not student identity), and in January 2007, the focus was on ridiculing Hillary for claiming that Obama had been planning a run at the presidency since he was in kindergarten.

      cboldt (3d73dd)

    18. About as reliable as all the other polls in this election.

      Kevin (40fb94)

    19. #9 you make somewhat of a good point cboldt. I thought about that myself. If some people think Obama is a Muslim, they may be not be as dumn as I think. The fact is that Muslim’s believe that once you are born a Muslim forever a Muslim you are. No matter what religion if any you choose to change to.

      Now having said that, is that what we want to do? Agree with idiotic views in the Muslim faith?

      So if someone is born a Catholic and switches to Evangelical Christian they will always have the label of Christian on them?

      Think it through.

      Oiram (983921)

    20. #19 Sorry, I’m tired…….

      So if someone is born a Catholic and switches to Evangelical Christian they will always have the label of Christian Catholic on them?

      Oiram (983921)

    21. While it appears our education about Obama is not getting out there. I was hoping for at least 50-60% thinking he was a muslim. we need to try harder.

      unseen (f8f32d)

    22. I think the poll is alarming. The only cure is for the MSM to flood us with all the gory details about the non-Muslim church he allegedly attended over the past 20 years.

      Xrlq (30eb96)

    23. #21 You don’t have to try harder unseen, just need to find a person with the skills of Karl Rove.

      God help us.

      Oiram (983921)

    24. Obviously they didn’t give the respondents a Ron Paul option.

      Dusty (545d04)

    25. So if someone is born a Catholic and switches to Evangelical Christian they will always have the label of Catholic on them? Think it through.
      My sense is based more his obfuscation on the issue than on fixing a label for whatever he claims to be today. He comes off as a liar, pure and simple. “Never was a Muslim, I don’t know what that Catholic school would mark it down like that” is not credible. Sat though 20 years of Rev. Wright sermons, has him as an advisor, etc., then claims he wasn’t aware of the nature of some of the more entertaining sermons. Again, not credible.
      I’m not amazed at the number of gullible people in the country, not anymore. And some aren’t gullible, rather, they are socialist / class-warfare inclined and very open about it.
      I wouldn’t vote for Obama, not even to be dog catcher, if he was my blood brother.

      cboldt (3d73dd)

    26. Obviously all these people don’t believe he’s a Muslim. What is says is 23% of those polled are pranksters. You call me up on my cell phone and I’m going to mess up your poll too. Garbage in garbage out.

      Wesson (f6c982)

    27. Corrected Headline: 100% of the University of Texas faculty members teaching statistics think that 100% of their counterparts in the UT Department of Government must be idiots.

      Natalie (0f0f46)

    28. #25 Can you successfully be a dog catcher and still agree with G.W. 90% of the time cboldt? Yes? Then I would at least vote for McCain as dog catcher.
      President? nope

      Oiram (983921)

    29. For the record, if I were replying to that poll, I would have responded “Obama is a Pastafarian”.

      Nothing reported by a college town survey should ever surprise you.

      Techie (62bc5d)

    30. I lol’d at Pastafarian

      Go Spaghetti Monster!

      i like america (d2f951)

    31. Perhaps he kisses islamofascist dupa? Might help if LA Times could release the videotape. I know Jews here in Bobby Wexler’s district who bought the Obama I’ll look out for the Joos BS and have already cast their vote for him. One recently sent a mass email explaining her support, much of it a put down of McCain being too pro-war, bitter, angry old man and Obama having seriously experienced advisors to guide him. Hope! Change! Fresh fruit!
      That treasure Steyn had a good column today at NRO questioning why, with all THE ONE’S advantages, McCain is getting closer. O has all that money and ubquitous ads that aren’t really necessary because of all the gratis press adulation. Chrissie “I squat to pee like a little girl” Matthews’ tingle down his leg is now I-am- in-love-with-a-wonderful man.

      madmax333 (0c6cfc)

    32. I don’t see why it matters whether he went to a Madrassah as a Muslim or not. Kids don’t chose their school or their education. If he’s more sensitive to Muslim sensibilities, then more power to him if he’ll use it to advance American interests. That’s the real question to me regarding all his associations–will he use them to advance American interests or use American resources to advance these other interests?

      tim maguire (72f509)

    33. Kids don’t chose their school or their education.
      And honest adults don’t obfuscate their past or their associations. Obfuscate, and the only, ONLY rational reaction on the listener is to draw a negative inference. That’s not bias, that’s how one rationally evaluates the withholding or obfuscating of available evidence.
      Obama has every right to withhold evidence, but he has no right to complain when negative inference is drawn as a result.

      cboldt (3d73dd)

    34. This dovetails quite nicely with the “He is Coming” post.

      Kae Gregory (adbb38)

    35. Christian Catholic

      Isn’t that redundant, Oiram?

      still agree with G.W. 90% of the time

      I guess it depends on what specific time period you are talking about.

      JD (5b4781)

    36. Oiram asked:

      So if someone is born a Catholic and switches to Evangelical Christian they will always have the label of Christian Catholic on them?

      Yes, actually. If you are baptized as a Catholic, your original parish retains the record (all of your sacramental records, such as first communion and marriage go back to your original parish), and you are counted as being Catholic by the Church.

      The Catholic Dana (556f76)

    37. Interesting column in Tuesday’s NY Post by Iranian-born commentator Amir Taheri about how the Messiah’s “Islamic roots” have won him a place in many Arabs’ hearts. So I guess he is not seen as an apostate if so many despotic Arab regimes are praising him to high heaven. Al Qaeda has already confirmed that they are looking forward to Bush and Cheney’s great embarrassment with an Obama victory.
      Funny how local pol Wexler has his fellow Jews convinced that the Messiah has Jews’ best interests at heart. But then many victims of the Holocaust could not believe that Hitler would do them wrong either.
      I’m still wondering just where are Obama’s middle of the road associations? And why the people in his past are so silent. Can’t even get a quote from any of his drug suppliers.

      madmax333 (0c6cfc)

    38. Mike K,

      I read those studies when our son was choosing colleges and it’s not encouraging.

      I wish I could be reassuring about my daughter’s freshman year at U of Arizona. You should see the papers she is being assigned in English ! Their first reading assignment was a short story. The plot ? A boy goes to the girl’s house. She cooks him dinner. They “f**k”. He goes home.

      That’s it. The instructor is a female grad student.

      The next paper was to compare two movies.

      Sheesh !

      Fortunately, she went to an excellent private high school where she got a decent education. I wonder if a test of her general knowledge in four years would show improvement.

      She was also told by a boy she had gone out with casually that she was “the only conservative girl he had met.” That might mean the only one who doesn’t put out. She wasn’t sure.

      She has a McCain sticker on her car.

      Mike K (f89cb3)

    39. He is a Muslim, and actively practiced Islam for many years until entering politics in the US. Obama’s name is pure Arabic, and his father lists his own race as “Arab”.

      Mark Turner (82572a)

    40. She has a McCain sticker on her car.

      You do that around here, and vandalism is sure to follow – count on it.

      Dmac (e30284)

    41. I currently live in Singapore, which has a sizable Indonesian community (which is 90% Muslim). They like Obama because they remember he studied in Indonesia as a child. One of the subjects he studied was the Koran. It was not a Christian school that he attended there. Obama is also alleged to have travelled to Pakistan in the early 1980s, when US citizens were not allowed to go there — sounds a bit suspicious to me.

      Mark Turner (6ffcdf)

    42. It is patently racist to point these things out. Just sayin’ …

      JD (5b4781)

    43. Mike K,

      I want my son to go to semi-liberal schools/classes because I think it’s good to be exposed to different ideas. Fortunately the leftists in his liberal arts classes are off-set by the pragmatists in his business classes, so hopefully he will find a good balance.

      DRJ (cb68f2)

    44. SHOCKING (but not unexpected) HEADLINE OF THE DAY!

      CA Gov. announces planned overhaul of tax code!

      Well, that can only mean it’s going to cost us all a lot more next year.
      Heaven forbid, that CA Gov’t would actually try to live within our means.

      Another Drew (3eb642)

    45. AD – At what point did Californians quit working for themselves and their families, and start working for the State?

      JD (5b4781)

    46. The survey had 49% of its respondents with only a high school education or less, which is not representative of Texas polls.

      You’re going to need to substantiate that.

      jpe (5320bf)

    47. JD –

      What is racist about telling the truth?

      Mark Turner (7eb965)

    48. jpe,

      The second link in the post called the “rest of the story” quotes a leading Texas pollster who says that is not representative.

      DRJ (cb68f2)

    49. DRJ, I think the headline should be that 23 percent of Texans are ignorant and illeterate. A very fertile ground for Republican lies and distortions. Hope they maximize it.

      love2008 (1b037c)

    50. Mark Turner,

      I know it sounds like he did but JD wasn’t calling you a racist or labeling your ideas as racist. He calls everyone that criticizes Obama a racist to demonstrate how polarizing it can be and/or to show how it shuts off debate. It’s also part of his desensitization campaign.

      DRJ (cb68f2)

    51. love2008,

      I think Texans are keenly aware that many people think we’re stupid, uneducated, and redneck. I think I speak for most Texans when I say we don’t care what you think.

      DRJ (cb68f2)

    52. It’s also part of his desensitization campaign.

      …and here I thought it was just part of his charm.

      Dana (658c17)

    53. When McCain and Palin are elected, the English language will quickly add a new expression to describe what just happened:

      “Premature Barackulation.”

      Official Internet Data Office (184273)

    54. Poll methodologies, inaccuracies, and limitations aside, I would be more surprised if Obama is not Muslim, considering that his past is strongly rooted in Islamic tradition (actual conversion away from the faith is forbidden). It may also explain a bizarre comment recently made by Jesse Jackson to the effect that “Zionists would lose their influence” under an Obama administration. I suspect that Obama may have downplayed his Islamic/Arab heritage, and focused on his black African heritage, because this would be more acceptable to mainstream American politics and the voting population as a whole.

      Mark Turner (804e4c)

    55. and here I thought it was just part of his charm.
      Damn it. That is RACIST, and SEXIST. Knock it off.

      cboldt (3d73dd)

    56. That is RACIST, and SEXIST

      It’s perfectly acceptable, cboldt – I’m a minority and female!

      Dana (658c17)

    57. If the strikethrough works then these words will be stricken.

      Patterico (cc3b34)

    58. Comment by DRJ — 10/30/2008 @ 5:34 pm
      Oh my God, DRJ. You are from Texas? No I think you belong to the enlightened and smart 77 percent. And I do care what you think!

      love2008 (1b037c)

    59. You want to see an internet poll screwed over royally, check out any one of a number of Pharyngulations perpetrated by the readers of PZ Myer’s Pharyngula.

      Alan Kellogg (e4d258)

    60. I don’t care much for news stories like this that discuss poll results without providing a link (or other method) of accessing the poll directly, because I’m not interested in the reporter’s spin on a set of filtered results.

      For example, this latest poll by CBS (noticed via TalkLeft) highlights Obama leading McCain by 11 points. But the story text does not mention what is the most interesting result in the poll. Only by looking into the poll itself do you become aware of question 27 (on page 17 of the PDF):

      q27 Which party currently has more members in the U.S. House of representatives—the Republicans or the Democrats?

      A simple, direct question. The House currently has 235 Democrats, 199 Republicans, 0 Independents, and 1 Vacanc[y] (according to the Office of the Clerk), meaning there are more Democrats than Republicans in the House of Representatives. This is an objective fact. This fact does not depend on what the meaning of “is” is. It is not in dispute. It is not subject to competing theories. It is not up for discussion. It does not change based on your personal ideology.

      No one has been conducting a whispering campaign trying to convince the electorate that the Republicans have a majority in the House. No one is spamming email messages to convince the electorate that the Democratic majority has been overthrown. There are no viral YouTube videos, no astroturfed blog comments, no attack ads, no tabloid stories, and no duelling sets of talking points sowing confusion about this fact. In short, there is nothing out there which might mislead voters about the current composition of the House of Representatives.

      And yet, here’s how the people in the CBS poll responded:

      q27 Which party currently has more members in the U.S. House of representatives—the Republicans or the Democrats?

      Republicans 21 17 25 20 (Tot / Rep / Dem / Ind)
      Democrats 62 66 58 64
      DK/NA. 17 17 17 16

      That is, 21% of the people polled think that the Republicans currently hold the majority in the House!

      17% of Republicans hold this demonstrably contrary-to-reality opinion, and 25% of Democrats think this is true. (For those concerned with keeping score, that would make Democrats even more ignorant and illeterate [sic] than Texans.)

      Amazing. And sad.

      Shad (570754)

    61. 21% of the people polled think that the Republicans currently hold the majority in the House!
      Sounds about right. I hang around “smart people” places, and find more errors in fact than is healthy for a “free people to conduct self government.” It’s no accident that the people have been dumbed down. And it’s human nature to LIKE being dumbed down. The country has been on the downslide for at least two generations.

      cboldt (3d73dd)

    62. Shad,

      The second link in the post (the “rest of the story”) has a link to the actual poll results but here’s a direct link.

      DRJ (cb68f2)

    63. This is a perfect example of the media using its skewed figures to slant a story whichever way it wants. If you pick and choose your data, Obama and his leftist illuminati ideals can almost come out looking patriotic and sensible.

      Jeff (7ff0a7)

    64. Thanks for the pointer, DRJ (and for rescuing my earlier comment from limbo). I initially missed the “October 2008 Poll Summary (pdf)” file on the page you linked to, but it does have all the details I was looking for.

      Sadly, skimming through the PDF it doesn’t appear that they asked anything particularly interesting, and they don’t have any cross-tabs.

      I notice that the results of the demographic questions on pages 22-24 don’t seem to match up very well to the demographic “marginals” they claim to have used to weight the results (and which pollster Mike Baselice had objected to). So maybe the PDF contains unweighted results?

      I did get a cynical chuckle from this question (not numbered, but on page 21 of the PDF, right after the question about Obama’s religion):

      Which of the following is true of Sarah Palin?
      She initially supported the “bridge to nowhere” 56.1%
      She lowered taxes on oil companies operating in Alaska 9.9%
      Her youngest son is actually her daughter’s 2.8% (emphasis mine)
      She took steps as Governor to protect Alaska’s polar bears 5.7%
      Couldn’t say 25.5%

      It’s sort of creepy that 2.8% of Texans appear to be Andrew Sullivan acolytes!

      Shad (570754)

    65. Sorry, Mark. For those that are not familiar with my Don Quixote-esque campaign to make the racist charge meaningless and to desensitize the masses to such baseless charges, I can see how it might be a bit off-putting. I am going to denounce you, just in case.

      Dana – I save my charm for you and DRJ 😉 And MayBee 😉 BTW, those are some really outstanding photographs over on your site. I am not fluent in the language used in your industry, but one would have to be blind to not see that you really had a good eye for what you do.

      JD (5b4781)

    66. Shad,

      Thanks for taking the time to do an in-depth analysis and for pointing out the Sarah Palin facts. As for the Sullivan acolytes, I consider them the eccentrics that help keep Texas diverse.

      DRJ (cb68f2)

    67. Those are the folks in Austin, DRJ.

      JD (5b4781)

    68. It’s sort of creepy that 2.8% of Texans appear to be Andrew Sullivan acolytes!

      I’ve long since stopped being surprised at the general stupidity of people…

      Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

    69. Why only 23%? Was it a biased sample?

      daleyrocks (60704b)

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