At least 80% of Republicans are morons

According to a new Gallup Poll, 80% of Republicans—four in five—view Sarah Palin favorably. (The specific questions asked is this:  “As I read each name, please say if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion, or if you have never heard of them before.  How about—Sarah Palin?”)

More bad news: 32% of Americans consider themselves Tea Party supporters, two points higher than the “opponents.”

The only good news is that Palin’s overall ratings have been falling pretty steadily: she’s viewed unfavorably by 81% of Democrats and 53% of independents, and by fewer than 40% of all Americans. 52% of Americans in toto view her unfavorably, which speaks to her viability in the next Presidential election.

I am unable to imagine, much less sympathize with, a mentality that sees Sarah Palin as a viable politician of any sort.  And how could one imagine that such a mercurial and unthinking creature could be an effective President?

It’s impossible for me to say to the Palin-ites, “I disagree strongly with your views, but I respect you as a person.” People with such views deserve no respect.


  1. Posted November 14, 2010 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    Dr. Coyne, viewing someone “favorably” is not the same as saying that they are fit to hold high political office. Example: I view my yoga teacher favorably, but I’d never vote for her for any political office.

    Sarah Palin does have some positive attributes (e. g., she is physically fit; she can get people to like her).

    That doesn’t mean I want her anywhere near any political office though.

    Besides, is she really any dumber than, say, Senator Jim Inhofe or
    Rep. Shimkus? (IL-19, the one who said that Global Warming is no big deal because his deity made a promise not to destroy the world again)

    • Newish Gnu
      Posted November 14, 2010 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      Do you view your yoga teacher favorably as a teacher of yoga? Would you view Palin favorably or not as a potential yoga instructor?

      When the public is polled about their views of current or potential politicians, the point is to assess their political support.

      • Posted November 14, 2010 at 11:31 am | Permalink

        Here is why I see “favorable” differently than “I support for President”:

        n the ABC/WashPost poll, Palin’s fellow Republicans are evenly divided on whether she is qualified: 47 percent say she is, 46 percent answered that she isn’t.

        You ask different questions, you get different answers. Many might like her as, say, a “spokesperson” in the way they might like Rush Limbaugh but NOT as a candidate for office.

        • Posted November 14, 2010 at 11:33 am | Permalink

          Ooops, I forgot the quote marks. They should start “in the ABC…and end “that she isn’t”.

    • MadScientist
      Posted November 14, 2010 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      Palin doesn’t have to be dumber than Inhofe or Shimkus; she’s definitely dumb enough to do a hell of a lot of damage at home and with our relations abroad. The fact that 80% of our major political party loves Palin is really scary stuff. I wonder if the religious nuts have infiltrated the GOP just as they have infested local politics in Texas (and other states).

      • Posted November 14, 2010 at 11:31 am | Permalink

        You “wonder”? 🙂

        • Tualha
          Posted November 14, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

          The question is not how many people view Palin “favorably” or “unfavorably” but how many would vote for her under a given set of circumstances. If she runs, I think it’s very likely her shortcomings will become more obvious as the primaries unfold, and she won’t end up as the GOP nominee; but it’s quite likely that the nominee will seek her endorsement.

          • Newish Gnu
            Posted November 15, 2010 at 5:02 am | Permalink

            Except that primaries don’t “unfold” anymore (Obama/Clinton 2008 being the only exception and, frankly, that was over a long time before Clinton faced up to it.)

            You “beat expectations” in a couple early states, the media runs stories on why everyone else is doomed, and before voters in the remaining 45 states even get their coffee, you’re the nominee. And once the inevitability of the nomination is assured, you start seeming more presidentially qualified. And the 50% of your party that thought you weren’t denies ever thinking that. (Like all the GOPers now who say they opposed Bush way back when.)

            Five early states: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, and Florida. In the GOP, that sounds like Palin Country to me.

            I’m scared.

  2. Christoph
    Posted November 14, 2010 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    Totally agree. The support for Palin and the Tea Party is baffling. That millions of people in the U.S. support both is a result of what – poor education? Propaganda? Fear?

    I can’t understand how U.S. citizens can swing so far (from Obama to the fringe right) so fast. Yes, the midterms are different than the Presidential cycle, but still…

    • vytautas
      Posted November 14, 2010 at 6:50 am | Permalink

      The Tea Party provides a “respectable” outlet for unthinking people who are largely guided by hate and fear. What I mean by “respectable” is that it provides a certain swath of white, middle class Americans an outlet to hate minority people through coded policy messages. Anti-government sentiments are code for not redistributing their hard-earned (white) tax dollars to improve the social welfare of brown people (as they tend to perceive this as the mission of a gov’t with an African-American president at the helm). The movement allows them to being able to proclaim that they believe in such and such (tea-party) philosophy rather than having to own up to the true underlying motivation. It’s also about celebrating ignorance, in the same way that fundamentalist Christians treat ignorance as a virtue (it’s not a bug, it’s a feature!). Adherents also claim to feel disenfranchised by those darn thinking, elite liberals – who don’t represents “real” Americans. It plays in to their limited, simplistic, hot-button fueled view of the world (“god, guns and country”). And further tells them (or provides an outlet) that this view of the world is not only OK – but correct and virtuous.

      • ruralcounsel
        Posted November 16, 2010 at 8:42 am | Permalink

        That little bit of vicious racist hate-speech is just too representative of the Left and their own ignorance, sense of self-righteousness, and overall tone-deafness.

  3. Camilo
    Posted November 14, 2010 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    @ Christoph: Well according to a wiki article (yes, I am aware of the reliability issues) “…studies assert that 46% to 51% of U.S. adults read so poorly that they earn “significantly” below the threshold poverty level for an individual.”

    The common understanding is that the population is so uneducated, or so unwilling to learn that they are easily manipulated. Which, for a country that controls world politics, both in the public eye and behind closed doors, is actually quite a positive statistic for their government.

    The USA is considered stupid for some very good reasons, prejudice or not. I hope that helps you understand the reason so many people support republicans/tea party.

  4. Posted November 14, 2010 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    The Tea Party 2.0, like the Gnu Republicans, employ mad tactics of aggression coupled with organizational skills sans brains. They’re like fire ants with rabies.

    • Posted November 14, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      And this you determined through hands on observation and study, right?

  5. legal9ball
    Posted November 14, 2010 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    “People with such views deserve no respect.”

    You may want to be a little carefull before going down this road.

    You evidently respect dangerous animals for what they are. A person holding erroneous beliefs, even distructively erroneous beliefs, can be respected for doing, like a dangerous animal, and like yourself, the very best for his own thriving as he is able to do by his own lights.

    • Friend of Icelos
      Posted November 14, 2010 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      Especially if those views are a result of culture and poor education, rather than any deliberate intellectual laziness. For instance, I went to high school just outside Atlanta about 10 years ago, and I’m fairly sure I didn’t learn a word of evolution in my biology class.

      I know many good people who hold some really bad ideas but are otherwise respectable. Perhaps we should reserve our disrespect for those who contribute most to disinformation, and for anyone whose bad ideas can be explained only as intellectual laziness.

    • MadScientist
      Posted November 14, 2010 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      With regards to wild animals, that’s not so much respect as taking reasonable precautions. Like I used to carry a .38 back in the days when I’d go bow hunting or even hunting with my .30-30. The .38 wasn’t for killing animals, it was kept for use as an animal repellent in a desperate situation (which never came about). I wasn’t armed like that because of any respect for wild beasts.

      • legal9ball
        Posted November 14, 2010 at 10:56 am | Permalink

        But you didn’t judge the beast as contemptable. Not rationally anyway.

  6. Saikat Biswas
    Posted November 14, 2010 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    The challenge for the 20% sane Republicans is to assert themselves as the dominant minority. Tall order.

    • Newish Gnu
      Posted November 14, 2010 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      You’re correct.

      I’m a registered republican and I try my darnedest to be a voice of reason in the local GOP. No doubt I’m regarded as a RINO by most of the activists. Fair enough, since I regard them as authoritarian hypocrites.

      The last Republican presidential candidate for whom I voted was John Anderson in 1980. Unfortunately, he wasn’t the GOP nominee.

      • Posted November 14, 2010 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

        I was a Democrat who voted for him, even though he had propoaed a “Jesus Amendment” to the Constitution. I knew that Carter was finished, but I was scared of Reagan. Scared. Of. Reagan. Todays’ Tea Party would consider even Reagan a RINO.

        • Newish Gnu
          Posted November 15, 2010 at 5:09 am | Permalink

          I don’t remember the Jesus amendment….

          But I hadn’t yet escaped the woo yet.

          I just knew that Carter was done and Reagan seemed even worse.

        • ckitching
          Posted November 15, 2010 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

          They might consider Reagan a RINO if they weren’t so busy deifying him. Didn’t you hear? He single-handedly brought down the Soviet Union and ushered in a new age of milk and honey.

      • Diane G.
        Posted November 14, 2010 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

        Ah, those were the days…

        (And he was a western governor, too!)

  7. Peter Beattie
    Posted November 14, 2010 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    People with such views deserve no respect.

    Why not? I think spelling out the actual argument here would be rather helpful.

  8. Kevin
    Posted November 14, 2010 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Sarah Palin is an intellectually lazy, right-wing authoritarian, platitude-spouting, science-denying, Christian-ist bag-o-hammers.

    In short, a perfect candidate for the Republicans.

    I, for one, would relish Palin against Obama. Not that Obama has been doing all that well lately. But he’d wipe the floor with her.

    A Palin candidacy would be the best thing that ever happened to the Democrats.

    • tomh
      Posted November 14, 2010 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      A Palin candidacy would be the best thing that ever happened to the Democrats.

      Which is why it will never happen. Unfortunately.

      • Cents
        Posted November 14, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        But with the tea-baggers on one side and the old guard of the GOP on the other maybe the split will allow Obama to come up the middle.

        America having a tough 5 or 6 years is not going away anytime soon no matter who is in charge. (It’s the debt and all about the debt). Taxes are going up and reductions in the military will happen. Where that leaves America as protector of the known Universe is anybodies guess but it doesn’t look good.

        • Don
          Posted November 14, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

          I agree. The GOP’s Romney/Huckabee or Romney/Jindal 2012 could be effectively undermined by Palin/Paul.

    • Posted November 14, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      I don’t share you optimism if Palin gets nominated. She’s quite capable of beating Obama, despite the current polls.

      Remember that her idiot twin Christine O’Donnell, despite a lot of very negative press and a room-temperature IQ, got 40% of the vote for US senator in a fairly liberal state.

      • Posted November 14, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

        No she isn’t. Remember that she is a quitter; frankly she won’t survive the withering personal attacks that the Republicans will hit her with during the Republican primary.

        Being attacked by namby-pamby Democrats and being attacked my amoral Republicans are very different things.

        • Posted November 14, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

          I said, she could win if she’s nominated. And I think she could get nominated.

          After 8 years of Dubya, it’s pretty obvious that America is capable of electing almost anybody, no matter how intellectually or morally weak they might be. Palin is far more articulate than Dubya, at least if one doesn’t pay much attention to what she’s actually saying.

          • Tualha
            Posted November 14, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

            Palin doesn’t have anywhere near the connections or wealth that Bush had. Her educational record is appalling, while his was acceptable is you didn’t look too closely. And her record as a governor and candidate is even poorer than his was in 2000.

            • Don
              Posted November 14, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

              Right. But she could easily become a third-party standard bearer. The Tea Party could quite conceivably go with Palin/Paul in 2012. Which ought to ensure Obama’s re-election.

  9. Posted November 14, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Demonizing the opposition is one of the surest ways of building yourself up for disappointment.

    Jerry, you did come to your conclusions through a thorough study of the woman, right?

    • Szwagier
      Posted November 14, 2010 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Jerry didn’t demonise the opposition.

      Sarah Palin is a fuckwitted no-nothing who has as much understanding of the world she lives in as a piece of primordial slime.

      That’s not demonising the opposition, that’s an opinion.

      And she’s EVIL.

      *That’s* demonising the opposition.

    • Kevin
      Posted November 14, 2010 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      I assume he watched her speak, or saw the Katie Couric interview.

      She’s a featherweight who has parlayed less-than-ugliness and an OK haircut into undeserved fame and attention.

      She was mayor of a small Alaska town — she was elected with 909 total votes. That’s right…909.

      She parlayed that into a failed bid for the Lt. Governorship in 2002 with 19,000 votes, got the Republican nod for governor with 51,000 votes in 2006, and won with 114,000 votes.

      Before lightning struck and John McCain lost his mind, the woman had received less than 200,000 votes in her entire political career.

      Somebody needs to tell her to her face that she’s not qualified to be President. Not intellectually, not emotionally, not politically, not under any objective system of measuring anyone’s qualifications. Not qualified.

      She isn’t. No. Isn’t. Never.

  10. KP
    Posted November 14, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    I am unable to imagine, much less sympathize with, a mentality that sees Sarah Palin as a viable politician of any sort. And how could one imagine that such a mercurial and unthinking creature could be an effective President?

    I heard my liberal intellectual colleagues say the same thing about GW Bush winning a first, and especially a second, term. IMAGINE IT. It WILL happen if we just sit around and complain about how stupid Americans/Republicans/Tea Party Flat-Earthers are.

    • Posted November 14, 2010 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

      When the U.S. stops sending people to Congress such as Steve King and Michele Bachmann, then I would also relax about a Palin candidacy.

      No, a Palin candidacy would not be a good thing.

  11. locutus7
    Posted November 14, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    As I must remind fellow progressives, 50% of Americans have a below-average intelligence. Yep, half of Americans have an IQ below 100.

    And, virtually all polls and surveys show that the country is split, half tend toward conservatives, half toward liberals.

    Heh, heh, I’ll leave it to the reader to make the correlation.

    • CTC
      Posted November 14, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      People have tried to make such a correlation, notably from the 2004 election results; a rather damning indictment of what you’re trying to say is listed here, as it gives more accurate IQ data, a county-by-county breakdown of how the country voted, and links to other sources that show there’s very little difference between Kerry voters and Bush voters.

      In short, Republicans are dumb enough to cast a vote for assholes, lunatics, and idiots like Boehner, Rand Paul, and Bush, and Democrats are dumb enough to let them get away with it.

    • Posted November 14, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      As the late, great George Carlin put it: Just think how stupid the average person is. Then remember: half the population is even stupider.

  12. Posted November 14, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    How about a follow up question like:

    What is the square root of 3
    Is a light year a
    a) measure of calories consumed in a year of dieting
    b) a measure of the distance light travels in a year
    c) any year which is not a leap year

    How many Supreme Court Justices are on the court currently ?
    a) 7
    b) 9
    c) 10

    It would be interesting to see how the answers correlated.

    • Tualha
      Posted November 14, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      More pertinently, why not ask if they can name a right guaranteed by the First Amendment? According to The Age of American Unreason, more than 1/3 of Americans can’t name any of them (p. 299 of revised paperback edition). Better still, ask them to name the three branches of the federal government; only about half got that one right (same page). That’s certainly more relevant than the math/science questions.

  13. locutus7
    Posted November 14, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Here is the thing, much of the country distrusts intelligence and higher education when they are possessed by leaders. They prefer “average joes.”

    If you look backward to grade school and high school, most students want to pal around with the athletes and cool kids, not the bright kids, who are characterized as geeks and nerds.

    So the template for how america votes is developed in our young.

  14. Tualha
    Posted November 14, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    she’s viewed unfavorably by … fewer than 40% of all Americans.

    Excuse me, that is not correct. She is viewed unfavorably by 52% of all Americans, and favorably by 40%. The original article says “fewer than 4 in 10 view her favorably,” not unfavorably, and this refers to independents, not all Americans.

  15. Janice Cornforth
    Posted November 14, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Palin is just the tip of the iceberg I’m afraid. The crazies are becoming “mainstream.” Here’s a new one:

    New Arkansas state rep: Confederate flag ‘a symbol of Jesus Christ.’

    SOURCE: Arkansas Times (11-11-10)

    It’s very clear by now that a lot of Arkansans walked into the voting booth Nov. 2 and simply filled in the bubble next to anyone’s name that didn’t have a “D” beside it. The reasons for that will be worried over well beyond this election season.

    But there are Republicans and there is Republican Loy Mauch…

    • Tualha
      Posted November 15, 2010 at 5:53 am | Permalink

      Unpleasant though the prospect is, I can’t help but think that another Southern secession might be the best thing that ever happened to America. Just as Canada’s existence may have quashed any lingering loyalist sentiment in the early US, by giving loyalists an alternative to rebellion, so an independent South would quash fanatical theocratic know-nothing conservatism. (Of course, it would be pretty hard on anyone trapped in the area who didn’t agree. It would be nice if we could remove all nuclear weapons from the region beforehand, too.)

      • astrosmash
        Posted November 16, 2010 at 8:37 am | Permalink

        Yeah, but this time, instead of the north declaring war over succession, its motto would be…”Go For It!” (Please keep Va. though…My home state. And N.C too for that matter. Not nearly as Helmsian a hellhole as it once was. Plus some of the most super-est Colleges in the country.

  16. Dominic
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 4:36 am | Permalink

    Palin’s finger on the nuclear trigger…


  17. S.K.Graham
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    I have to agree with the first commenter… “favorable” in opinion polls is definitely not the same as “qualified to hold office” or “would vote for”. It tends toward a measure of whether people *like* the person.

    Palin is a likeable person — an attractive woman with a spunky personality.

    The results of November 2 leave me much more worried that she actually *could* be elected that I previously thought. Scary thought, indeed.

    At any rate, I do not think someone is worthy of disrespect simply for viewing Palin “favorably”, per se. If someone says they would vote for her for something other than chair of the high school hockey-mom’s association, then perhaps a bit of disrespect is called for.

    • Notagod
      Posted November 15, 2010 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

      wElCoMe t00 ‘aMerdica! Will you be staying long?

  18. chupa
    Posted November 16, 2010 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    As much as I despise Sarah Palin’s views and politics, there is one thing I do respect. As far as I can tell, she really did bring herself up from nothing to something. I can’t think of any other female politician who has done anything remotely similar.

    I haven’t looked into her bg much, but I don’t think she had any of the usual 3 requirements for success: big money, a famous political last name, or even much support from the party. For a woman in the US, that to me is quite impressive even if I disagree with what she stands for.

    So, in that sense I do respect Sarah Palin. But in every other sense, she scares the living shit out of me.

    • sasqwatch
      Posted November 16, 2010 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      Think again. The media brought her up… on the strength of her tits and milf-ability. That was the “narrative”.

  19. jerrold12
    Posted November 16, 2010 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    See, about Republican Congressman John Shimkus, who is seeking to head the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Shimkus denies both that human activities affect the climate and that the climate is changing at all. He then goes further to say that the Bible also denies these propositions, citing the Book of Matthew, “the infallible word of God” as promising that the end of the world will be proclaimed by angels’ trumpets, not a flood from polar icecaps melting due to mankind’s carbon emissions.
    You cannot get a more moronic combination of scientific ignorance and religious fanaticism in a politician aspiring to a policy position of major power.

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