Hillary Clinton
Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

I hate polls that demonstrate that some astronomical number of people are foolish. For example, there’s a  a new poll from The Economist/YouGov that says:

  1. Forty-nine percent of Republicans believe it is definitely or probably true that “leaked email from some of Hillary Clinton’s campaign staffers contained code words for pedophilia, human trafficking and satanic ritual abuse.”
  2. Fifty-two percent of Republicans believe that President was definitely or probably born in Kenya.
  3. Fifty-nine percent of Republicans believe either that the climate is not changing (16%) or that it is changing but human activity isn’t a participating cause (43%).

The implication here, once you realize that Trump received just shy of 63 million votes, is that about 31 million people believe that Hillary Clinton is involved in satanic child abuse and pedophilia, that about 33 million people think Obama was born in another country, and that 37 million people are deeply misinformed or in denial about climate change. And these are just the Republicans. There are many independents and even a substantial number of Democrats who believe these asinine things.

It’s a wonder that more people don’t gargle Drano and die because it seems like a sensible thing to do.

I hate these polls because because I find it demoralizing to be reminded about the critical thinking skills of so many of my fellow citizens.

I’d rather not know the details. I’d like to imagine that reason and real information might play some decisive roll in politics. But it doesn’t feel that way right now, and polls like this aren’t helping.

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Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at ProgressPond.com