Like Mickey Mouse... with a hole in his head.
"Wingnuts" and President Obama
A socialist? A Muslim? Anti-American? The Anti-Christ? Large minorities of Americans hold some remarkable opinions
NEW YORK, N.Y. - March 24, 2010 - A new book, Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe Is Hijacking America by John Avlon describes the large numbers of Americans who hold extreme views of President Obama. This Harris Poll seeks to measure how many people are involved. It finds that 40% of adults believe he is a socialist. More than 30% think he wants to take away Americans' right to own guns and that he is a Muslim. More than 25% believe he wants to turn over the sovereignty of the United States to a world government, has done many things that are unconstitutional, that he resents America's heritage, and that he does what Wall Street tells him to do.
More than 20% believe he was not born in the United States, that he is "the domestic enemy the U.S. Constitution speaks of," that he is racist and anti-American, and that he "wants to use an economic collapse or terrorist attack as an excuse to take dictatorial powers." Fully 20% think he is "doing many of the things that Hitler did," while 14% believe "he may be the anti-Christ" and 13% think "he wants the terrorists to win."
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,320 adults surveyed online between March 1 and 8, 2010 by Harris Interactive.
The actual percentages of adults who believe these things are true are as follows:
What Republicans, Democrats and Independents think
There are – no surprise here – huge differences between what Republicans and Democrats believe. Majorities of Republicans believe that President Obama:
Also large numbers of Republicans also believe that President Obama:
Even more remarkable perhaps, fully 24% of Republicans believe that "he may be the Anti-Christ" and 22% believe "he wants the terrorists to win."
While few Democrats believe any of these things, the proportions of Independents who do so are close to the national averages.
One big surprise is that many more Republicans (40%) than Democrats (15%) believe the president does what Wall Street and the bankers tell him to do.
Differences by education
These replies are also strongly correlated with education. The less education people have had the more likely they are to believe all of these statements. Consider these differences between those with no college education and those with post-graduate education:
After reviewing these findings, John Avlon comments, "These new numbers are shocking but not surprising – they detail the extent to which Wingnuts are hijacking our politics. This poll should be a wake-up call to all Americans about the real costs of using fear and hate to pump up hyper-partisanship. We are playing with dynamite by demonizing our president and dividing our country in the process. Americans need to remember the perspective that Wingnuts always forget – patriotism is more important than partisanship."
So what indeed! These responses recall a favorite saying of our founder Lou Harris that "when you don't want to publish a poll finding you dislike, you should get out of the business." The very large numbers of people who believe all these things of President Obama help to explain the size and strength of the Tea Party Movement, a topic that will be addressed in another Harris Poll in a few days time.
PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE VARIOUS STATEMENTS ABOUT PRESIDENT OBAMA ARE TRUE
"On another subject, here are some things people have said about President Obama. Please indicate for each whether you
believe it is true or false."
Summary of True
Base: All adults
|Total||Education||Political Philosophy||Political Party|
|He is a socialist||40||45||38||42||20||67||30||15||67||14||42|
He wants to take away
Americans' right to own guns
|He is a Muslim||32||43||30||24||9||51||26||16||57||15||29|
He wants to turn over the
sovereignty of the United States
to a one world government
He has done many things that
|He resents America's heritage||27||31||26||25||18||49||19||9||47||12||27|
He does what Wall Street and
the bankers tell him to do
He was not born in the United
States and so is not eligible to
He is a domestic enemy that the
U.S. Constitutions speaks of
|He is a racist||23||28||22||20||9||42||15||7||42||7||22|
|He is anti-American||23||27||22||20||9||43||14||8||41||7||22|
He wants to use an economic
collapse or terrorist attack as an
excuse to take dictatorial
He is doing many of the things
that Hitler did
|He may be the Anti-Christ||14||18||13||9||4||24||9||8||24||6||13|
|He wants the terrorists to win||13||16||11||11||6||23||9||6||22||5||12|
Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding
This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States March 1 and 8, 2010 among 2,320 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.
All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.
Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.
These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.
The Harris Poll®#42, March 23, 2010
By Humphrey Taylor, Chairman, The Harris Poll, Harris Interactive
By Humphrey Taylor, Chairman, The Harris Poll, Harris Interactive
About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.