PIPA (Program on International Policy Attitudes) Poll: Bush supporters out of touch with reality.

I reference this in a posting below, but I believe the PIPA poll deserves to be highlighted on its own. This poll reveals the defining characteristic of this election, and of the divide in the country: it is between people in contact with reality, vs. those with a stunning indifference to it.

Here are the first two paragraphs of their release:

Even after the final report of Charles Duelfer to Congress saying that Iraq did not have a significant WMD program, 72% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq had actual WMD (47%) or a major program for developing them (25%). Fifty-six percent assume that most experts believe Iraq had actual WMD and 57% also assume, incorrectly, that Duelfer concluded Iraq had at least a major WMD program. Kerry supporters hold opposite beliefs on all these points.

Similarly, 75% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda, and 63% believe that clear evidence of this support has been found. Sixty percent of Bush supporters assume that this is also the conclusion of most experts, and 55% assume, incorrectly, that this was the conclusion of the 9/11 Commission. Here again, large majorities of Kerry supporters have exactly opposite perceptions.

… why do these people continue to maintain these mistaken beliefs, in spite of all evidence to the contrary?

“To support the president and to accept that he took the US to war based on mistaken assumptions likely creates substantial cognitive dissonance, and leads Bush supporters to suppress awareness of unsettling information about prewar Iraq.” –Steven Kull, director of PIPA

It isn’t just Iraq, though… they hold mistaken views about whether or not the world supports the war in Iraq, whether or not the world supported Bush’s re-election… they have no grasp of what Bush’s positions on the issues are, in stark contrast to Kerry supporters, who are “much more accurate in their perceptions of his positions”.

“The roots of the Bush supporters’ resistance to information,” according to Steven Kull, “very likely lie in the traumatic experience of 9/11 and equally in the near pitch-perfect leadership that President Bush showed in its immediate wake. This appears to have created a powerful bond between Bush and his supporters–and an idealized image of the President that makes it difficult for his supporters to imagine that he could have made incorrect judgments before the war, that world public opinion could be critical of his policies or that the President could hold foreign policy positions that are at odds with his supporters.”

To me, this says it all. Until the other half of the country wakes up and regains contact with reality, there isn’t a damn thing we can do to change things. All the “facts”, all the “information”, all the daily stunners we come up with, the evidence of corruption, of lies and mis-information being spread… none of it matters, because it simply won’t be processed. 🙁

Thomas Leavitt