Do a Plurality of Mississippi Republicans Want to Ban Interracial Marriage?

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Mark of New Jersey

Mark is a Founding Editor of The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, the predecessor of Ordinary Times.

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  1. Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

    Or ya’ know, a decent chunk of people in Mississippi could still be racist bastards. Considering the polling about the President’s birthplace among white Southerners, that wouldn’t be a huge surprise. It isn’t a smear if it’s the truth.

    PPP also did a poll of Sarah Palin vs. Charlie Sheen. So, this isn’t anything new for them. They do off-kilter things like this occasionally.Report

    • Is it possible that more Mississippi Republicans want a ban on interracial marriage than do not, and would openly admit to that in a survey? I’m more than a little skeptical, but I’m happy to concede for sake of argument that it’s possible. I’d also point out that even 25% of Mississippi Republicans openly answering as such would amount to a “decent chunk of people in Mississippi.”

      But this poll is not structured in such a way as to provide any faith in its accuracy. That PPP is happy to ask off-kilter questions is irrelevant to whether they are asking those off-kilter questions in a manner that will get an accurate response. A respondent can’t be expected to know in advance that: (1) PPP is known to ask off-kilter questions, so you need to listen with particular care to each question; and (2) the off-kilter question will come only after you’ve been riddled with normal questions for several minutes.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Imagine that you get a poll that asks you “Is Barack Obama secretly a superhero who uses chainsaws to fight crime in Oregon? Press 1 for yes. Press 2 for no. Press 3 for not sure.”

    Would you press 1?

    Perhaps more accurately, what would it take for you to *NOT* press 1?

    And then, when you are done… and it asks you “are you Team Red, Team Blue, or Team Gold?”, would you be tempted to choose one of the teams you *AREN’T* on?

    Am I projecting?Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jaybird says:

      Yes, most people, unlike us, aren’t cynical bastards. For example, if I was called up for a poll, I’d put that I highly approve of Obama even if I was pissed at him at the moment, because polling drives the conversation.

      However, you and me are both people heavily into politics. Most people just answer the polling honestly.Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Jaybird says:

      Imagine that you get a poll that asks you “Is Barack Obama secretly a superhero who uses chainsaws to fight crime in Oregon? Press 1 for yes. Press 2 for no. Press 3 for not sure.”

      Would you press 1?

      Perhaps more accurately, what would it take for you to *NOT* press 1?

      There may be some of that at work here – absurd questions do tend to encourage absurd responses. But I don’t think the question here is so uniquely absurd as to encourage a statistically significant number of people to answer it absurdly.

      And then, when you are done… and it asks you “are you Team Red, Team Blue, or Team Gold?”, would you be tempted to choose one of the teams you *AREN’T* on?

      Am I projecting?

      My understanding is that this would be irrelevant in this case since only registered Republicans were contacted at all.Report

    • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to Jaybird says:

      Are the chainsaws on chains?

      Don’t think I could help but press 1 because that is almost as cool as saying the president rides dinosaurs along with four other heroes as they fight crime and tyranny.

      I don’t think I could vote for the anti-loving and claim republicanism though. There isn’t enough soap in the world to get clean after that.Report

    • Imagine that you get a poll that asks you “Is Barack Obama secretly a superhero who uses chainsaws to fight crime in Oregon? Press 1 for yes. Press 2 for no. Press 3 for not sure.”

      Well, one can never be completely sure of anything, so I guess I’ll press 3.Report

  3. Avatar Trumwill says:

    That people misunderstood the question is the most benign explanation I can think of. And if the results were lower, I’d attribute a good deal of it to that. But even if you whittle that number down somewhat, a whole lot of Mississippi Republicans believe not only that interracial marriage is a bad idea or even immoral, but should be banned by the the government.Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Trumwill says:

      I would be unsurprised to learn that, say, 25% of MS Republicans think that way openly, especially since about a third of them are over 65 and thus grew up with it being prohibited. I’d be quite surprised to learn that many Mississippians under 50 had given the question much thought at all.

      None of this is to suggest that racism is a thing of the past in Mississippi or anything of that sort. Just that it’s much more covert in general nowadays, especially when there’s an element of publicizing one’s views involved. Overt racism has become socially unacceptable, so racist views tend to get thrown behind policies where there is at least a plausible deniability that racism is the motivating factor. It’s not even just that it’s socially unacceptable – people really don’t even want to admit to themselves that they hold racist views so they tell themselves and everyone who will listen that they would have opposed all aspects of Jim Crow. There’s no cost to telling oneself this and believing this, since those laws are gone and no longer up for debate.Report

      • Avatar Trumwill in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        They break it down by age. Unsurprisingly, the oldest were the most likely to think it should be illegal. It can also be said that the poll seems to kind of skew in that direction (are 32% of MS Republican voters over 65? Seems unlikely). The next group, oddly enough, is 18-29. But none of the four age groups gave a number less than 38%.Report

  4. Maybe the pollsters should’ve asked “Do you not disbelieve that gay marriage and / or interracial marriage shouldn’t both be illegal, or just one or none of them?Report

  5. It is not a coincidence that this question was asked only in Mississippi, which Gallup polls suggest is the most conservative state in the nation.

    Sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy — very often leftist propaganda has this propensity to link conservatism with racism. While it is certainly an unintelligent approach to the problem, the issue is secondary as it is really more about campaigns and building an arsenal of available rhetorical tools. (“Look — Mississippi is both Republican and racist. You don’t want to be associated with racists, do you?”)
    For those who are not historicists, the problem of ethnicity- and eugenics-based racism is a progressive issue, not a
    conservative” one. Wrong attitudes are pervasive, but institutionalized racism belongs on the left.
    You are correct Mark — this type of language amounts to a trap — a simple guilt-by-association fallacy.Report

    • Avatar rj in reply to Collin Brendemuehl says:

      Guilt by association? They asked the question and the Republicans answered. There’s no stereotyping, no propaganda, none of that. It’s a simple question with one of two answers and the people polled picked who they picked.

      And if the language is a “trap,” how would you have worded it?Report

      • Avatar Collin Brendemuehl in reply to rj says:

        They asked the question and the Republicans answered.

        Well, as you acknowledge, it was partisan. That’s enough evidence to support the contextual claim of it being bait.

        Let’s do something that equally baits the progressives and will produce the same results:

        Do you support additional funding for abortion for poor neighborhoods and abused minorities?

        Do you support maintaining or increasing welfare payments to those who minorities even though they are fully capable of working?

        Bait is simple and the results leave many unanswered questions about the validity of both question and answer.Report

        • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Collin Brendemuehl says:

          Heh. Fully capable of working? Many who are fully capable of working cannot find work. Unemployment is a part of any capitalist economy: it comes in three forms.

          1. The marginally employed, seasonal workers and the like.

          2. The short-term unemployed: laid-off workers who will eventually find work.

          3. The hard-core unemployed: the elderly, the mentally ill, the felon. The current crop of 99ers sank from #2 down here to #3.

          Now which are we talking about here? Dispense with the myths about the unemployed: it doesn’t matter how good an economy gets, there will always be a percentage of unemployed. Nobody stays onReport

        • I like Collin’s questions, because they show his biases more than those of any respondent.Report

        • I think these questions are fairly silly. It’s quite understandable to me that able-bodied people would not be working when nobody’s hiring, living as I do now in a place where nobody’s hiring.

          Maybe a better comparison to questions about interracial marriage would be something to do with Marxism. Republicans, no doubt, would love to make hay with any views of Democrats that are sympathetic to Marx in any way- i.e. “Do you think the writings of Karl Marx still offer useful insights into the nature of capitalism?”- even if they are totally irrelevant to anything going on in the current political debates. That’s my issue with this question- so there are Republicans who oppose interracial marriage? This will start to matter to me when there’s a decent chance of them outlawing interracial marriage in the US. As far as I know, the chances of interracial marriage being outlawed or Marxism being implemented in the US are slim to none at this time. If that changes, call me.Report

          • Avatar Chris in reply to Rufus F. says:

            I think the Marx question would be pretty silly, since the vast majority of American Democrats have never read a word of Marx (though they may have heard something about “the opiate of the masses”), and are probably about as averse to the name as most American Republicans.

            But I do think the racial questions are important because, while interracial marriage may not be up for debate, other issues related to race are, and it’s not so bad to know how people stand on race. And interracial marriage is a pretty good weather vane.Report

  6. Avatar rj says:

    Yes, 46% seems stratospherically high, but Republicans trend old. If you were a 20-year-old spitting on James Meredith in neighboring Alabama 1962, you are 69 now. If you look at the demographic data in the PPP PDF, you’ll see that fully a third of those polled are over 65, the same percentage as those 18-45 (the first two cohorts). The poll skews old and the old skew racist.

    Now, if you want to say that the number would go down a bit if the question came earlier, or came in the middle of a series of other questions on the issue, go ahead, but you can’t explain it all away because you don’t like the polling method. If it was 36% instead of 46%, it would still be shameful.

    As for robo-polling, I think it may be the only accurate way to get at real opinions, since many people are afraid of ‘fessing up to ingrained racism.Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to rj says:

      I agree that these problems would not reduce the polling results to a non-shameful level, and indicated as such in the post. However, the problems probably do at least mean the difference between “plurality of Mississippi Republicans support ban on interracial marriage” and “sizable minority of Mississippi Republicans support ban on interracial marriage.”

      And I also agree that robo-polling is the best way of getting honest answers on race questions. However, you don’t just slip one race question in randomly at the end of a lengthy series of questions on a very narrow topic, particularly when the question has nothing to do with anything currently in the news or under discussion.Report

      • Avatar rj in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        If the randomness of the question throws people off, what makes you think that it would generate more false positives than false negatives?

        For example, if I was robo-polled and asked a series of questions about, say, desert – “do you like ice cream,” “do you like apple pie,” “do you like cheesecake,” I’d be lazily hitting whatever number is “yes” over and over again. Throw in a curveball question where my answer is no, and I am more disposed to hitting yes by accident.

        That isn’t the case here. If the question truly caused confusion, there is no logical reason to think that the number should be higher any more than it should be lower. Except, of course, our visceral repulsion at the results.Report

        • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to rj says:

          This would be true were it not for the fact that for the last decade there has been vociferous debate about whether another type of marriage should be legal or illegal, a type of marriage where conservative opinion is pretty universally behind “illegal.”Report

          • Avatar rj in reply to Mark Thompson says:

            How exactly does “interracial” sound like “gay” or “same-sex”?

            I think you’re bending over backwards here to give Mississippi Republicans the benefit of the doubt. Between the birther polling, several of Barbour’s statements on the civil rights era and all of that Black Panther/ACORN scaremongering, why is this result so surprising?Report

            • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to rj says:

              It doesn’t and I’m not saying it does. I also don’t think I’m giving Mississippi Republicans much benefit of the doubt when I’m outright saying that even with a fair amount of error involved here, the responses are shamefully high.

              But have you ever taken one of these robo-polls? They’re tedious. By the end, you’re barely paying attention and just want it to be over with. You start just listening for certain buzz-words, trying to anticipate the question.

              There is, after all, a reason that ordinarily when you look at a polling transcript which asks questions about several distinct topics, the transcript usually contains some sort of segue into the new topic, something like “I am now going to ask you a series of questions about…..” To just throw a stray, entirely extraneous question at the end like that without any kind of segue is just bizarre.

              Look, just put yourself in the shoes of someone responding to this poll.

              Maybe you get home from work on Friday evening, you’re getting ready for dinner with the family and the phone rings. It’s an automated poll. You decide you’ve got a few minutes before dinner so you stay on the line.

              You are then asked 8 consecutive questions about various politicians in the form of “Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of ____?” You are then given a list of five GOP candidates for governor and asked which one you prefer. Then you get a list of 8 potential GOP candidates for President and asked which you prefer. Then, regardless of whether you were one of the 37% who answered “Haley Barbour,” you are given that same list of candidates, but this time without Haley Barbour and asked which you prefer. Then you get two questions about Roger Wicker, your opinion of him and whether you would support a more conservative challenger.

              You have now been on the phone for several minutes talking to a machine. You are ready for this to be over. And you are now fully in the habit of answering questions as to your opinion of various politicians who will be involved in upcoming elections. These in fact are the only questions you’ve been asked.

              Are you anticipating the next question, or are you just sitting there, patiently listening to the robo-voice on the other end of the line? If you’re like most people, you’re anticipating the next question, which is surely going to be about some other politician, unless you’re lucky and it’s one of the closing questions asking for your demographic information.

              But instead you are asked “Do you think interracial marriage should be legal or illegal?”

              At the very least, this is going to make you do a double-take. None of the words you were looking for appeared in that question. You’re going to ask yourself “wait, what was I just asked?” If there were a human on the other end of the line, you might ask them to repeat the question, but that’s not an option here.

              Quite likely, you nonetheless heard every word loud and clear, and you think “that’s a bizarre question,” but answer it anyhow. But there’s also a good chance that you only half-hear the full question. So you say to yourself either:
              (1) “I thought maybe I heard something about “interracial marriage,” but I’m not sure, and that makes no sense because they’ve been asking me questions about the election and interracial marriage hasn’t been an issue in 50 years. But it would make plenty of sense if they were asking about gay marriage.” Your ears are telling you one thing, but logic is telling you something else entirely. Which do you believe? Or

              (2) You totally ignored a good chunk of the question, but you definitely heard the word “marriage” in there. You’ve now got nothing to go on but logic.

              It’s not an issue of mishearing “interracial” as “gay” or “same-sex.” It’s an issue of barely paying attention and then trying to deduce what was said. People do this sort of thing all the time. Just ask any wife who has talked for a few minutes about a subject her husband was uninterested in.Report

              • Avatar rj in reply to Mark Thompson says:

                It’s a plausable enough story. I could picture it happening in some Biloxi or Jackson living room, but it’s just that – a story. I know you’re not a professional pollster, but can you point to any other analogous situation?Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to rj says:

                I can’t think of any analogous polls, if that’s what you mean.

                But I can think of a few additional situations where the same phenomenon might be at play. As I point out above, there’s the situation of the inattentive husband. But on a more subconscious level, it’s loosely analogous to that old prank where you get the victim of the prank to say that “Red” means “go.”Report

              • Avatar rj in reply to Mark Thompson says:

                I’ve never heard of that prank before.

                Still, you can construct all manner of stories, but they’re not systematic explanations of what’s going on here. I can think up any number of other reasons why people wouldn’t answer accurately, from fat fingers* to the fear that somehow people would find out that they hold unpopular views. Still, that is true of every poll.

                Also, interracial marriage isn’t an issue from 50 years ago in the same way that the Cuban Missile Crisis is. People have families, members of those families date and marry across racial lines, and relatives get up in arms about it. If anything, people are thinking more about interracial marriage than ever.

                If only there were a right wing version of FiveThirtyEight.

                * FYI, Mississippi is the fattest state in the nation. There’s a Simpsons fat-finger-phoning reference in there somewhere. I’ll spare you.Report

        • Avatar Trumwill in reply to rj says:

          It wasn’t a positive or negative, yes/no question. They had to answer “legal” or “illegal.”Report

      • Avatar rj in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        Also, it’s worth noting how instructive the Republican response has been here and elsewhere:

        – “Something something Robert Byrd!”

        – “Libs always accuse conservatives of racism, while YOU are the real racists!”

        – “The pollster is biased!”

        Somehow, being accused of racism has become the greater offense than actually being racist.Report

        • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to rj says:

          Ah, now on that I’m guessing my opinions are in lockstep with yours.Report

          • But if a poll is poorly set up and then used to stand for a proposition, the fact that the poll is poorly set up and unreliable is worth noting.

            Oh – and I’m not a Republican by any stretch of the imagination, nor, for that matter, a conservative.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to rj says:

          “…being accused of racism has become the greater offense than actually being racist.”

          We’ve had thirty years of every media production that addresses the question making sure we KNOW that EVERYONE who has the SLIGHTEST racist thought is a total bastard, irredeemable, worthy of nothing but scorn, and should be cast into the outer darkness to weep and wail and gnash their teeth. We’re taught that, the Nazis having been defeated, the only people who it’s okay to hate–unreservedly, unequivocally, bone-deep Two Minute hate–are the racists.

          Given that–that racism is one of the few modern sins–why wouldn’t people react strongly to an accusation of racism?Report

          • Avatar rj in reply to DensityDuck says:

            Nice 1984 reference. It’s not quite Godwin’s law, but it’s not quite fair either. Big Brother is not watching to make sure you don’t use “you people” in the wrong context.

            For all the whining about “political correctness,” there is no group more sensitive than white people who can’t be bothered to enter the 21st Century.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to rj says:

              Yeah, one wonders why they don’t get with the pogrom.Report

            • Avatar Scott in reply to rj says:

              rj:

              The liberal media is the new Big Brother waiting to pillory any Repub that says such a thing while Dems like Harry Reid get a slap on the wrists.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Scott says:

                You’re joking, of course. When Harry Reid said all those Nice Things about Barry Obama, the liberal press went apeshit.Report

              • Avatar Scott in reply to BlaiseP says:

                BlaiseP:

                Really, in the same way they would have gone apeshit had a Repub said the same things? Harry is still majority leader unlike Trent Lott who resigned and didn’t say things as offensive.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Scott says:

                All those old dudes were once racists, comes with the territory. Harry Reid is a Mormon: not until the IRS threatened their tax-exempt status did LDS’s prophet get a vision ’bout letting those Negroes into the fold.

                Trent Lott was just foolin’ around with Strom Thurmond: both men had a serious moral turnaround on race politics. Lots of people in the South did.

                The legacy of discrimination, having lived through a good bit of it, is probably best approached through black humor. There’s a bit in one of Walker Percy’s novels where a black character observes he’d rather confront an honest racist than someone who never admitted it. The old bastards of the Jim Crow / Dixiecrat era had a lot to live down, none more than old Strom Thurmond, and he did live it down, long enough to apologize for what he’d said and done. Turns out he had a child on a black woman and supported her all his life.

                I’m a Liberal. I wasn’t always a Liberal: I came to this position after I started to question all the received wisdom of my ancestors. I am the last generation of soldiers in the New World in an unbroken line going back to before the Revolutionary War, and I broke free from a long and oppressive legacy of obligation and expectation, having been constrained within it since the day I was born. Time changed me. It changes us all, I suppose, whether we like it or not. To say the Liberal Press goes harder on a hypothetical Republican than a hypothetical Democrat is a specious argument by definition. Having been on both sides of the political fence, I know the charge is not true. The press is utterly dependent on its sources: its received wisdom is repeated as though it were sprung fresh from the brow of Zeus. In that sense, there’s only the bias of the weathervane in the daily press; it mainly serves to reinforce conventional wisdom, a pot-au-feu restocked from time to time with fresh scraps from the newswires.

                The overtly partisan publications are a different thing. From where I sit, I still read the National Review as I have since the paper was founded by Bill Buckley all those years ago. I’d read and was inspired by Russell Kirk, still think he was right in many respects. I read Weekly Standard, again as I have read National Review, every publication since it was founded in the 90s. When I speak of the Conservative press, my argument from authority is not a fallacy, but the collected thoughts of many decades of observation.

                The Conservative press has degenerated from the sprightly invective of Bill Buckley into the leaden, vindictive prose of Bill Kristol. It is not a pretty sight. It’s disgusting. Where once Conservatives had a vision, all they have now is a particularly dour Minor Prophet jeremiad-du-jour. They are against many things but what they stand for is a complete unknown. The Wall Street Journal’s editorial section is another such case in point. The dead hand of Rupert Murdoch has smothered the intellectual wing of Conservatism in the USA.

                In total, not only has the Right Wing Press gone apeshit, it’s all apeshit all the time. The constant haranguing of President Obama, even when he exhibits a surprisingly adept policy of conciliation with the GOP, (enraging his Liberal and Progressive supporters), the collective Right Wing Press cannot even be bothered to check their facts. So yes, in answer to your question, the GOP’s vituperation would be worse than the Democrats. The trends all point that way.Report

              • Avatar Scott in reply to BlaiseP says:

                BlaiseP:

                So you answer boils down to, all racists are bad but Repub racists are worse?Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                You’re cordially invited to quit begging questions, Scott. That’s just about enough out of you. The GOP welcomed the Dixiecrats with open arms when they defected from the Democratic Party over the issue of Civil Rights, and the GOP remains vigorously opposed to voter registration reforms, just like the days of Jim Crow.

                Does that make the GOP worse? You tell me.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Lee Atwater, the cleverest and most ruthless of all the GOP operators summed it up this way, Scott:

                Atwater: As to the whole Southern strategy that Harry S. Dent, Sr. and others put together in 1968, opposition to the Voting Rights Act would have been a central part of keeping the South. Now [the new Southern Strategy of Ronald Reagan] doesn’t have to do that. All you have to do to keep the South is for Reagan to run in place on the issues he’s campaigned on since 1964 and that’s fiscal conservatism, balancing the budget, cut taxes, you know, the whole cluster.

                Questioner: But the fact is, isn’t it, that Reagan does get to the Wallace voter and to the racist side of the Wallace voter by doing away with legal services, by cutting down on food stamps?

                Atwater: You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”Report

              • Avatar Scott in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Blaise:

                So what does the Atwater quote prove, that you can appeal to racists on issues other than race itself? I guess they aren’t one issue voters after all. I’m also going to assume from your comment that you think Repub racism is worse than Dem racism which is quite hypocritical, but not totally unexpected.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Since you won’t answer the question I asked, and only seem to infer and assume and beg questions, it seems fair to conclude you aren’t operating in good faith, Scott.Report

      • Avatar Trumwill in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        But if it were a poll that explored a lot of racial issues, then the complaint would be that the pollsters lead them to that answer (by continually reinforcing their “so-called racist” views on subjects like affirmative actions and the like). I don’t think you would necessarily be saying this, but it would be a criticism and not an entirely invalid one.Report

        • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to Trumwill says:

          Atwater explicitly sez Ronald Reagan did nothing different to court the Wallace voter. [Which he would need since Carter won the South in 1976.]

          By all accounts, Reagan didn’t have a racist bone in his body; personally and philosophically, he was color-blind and that was his vision for our nation.

          The 30-year-old quote in question wasn’t attributed to Atwater until after his death. My vocation is poring over the historical documents of the American Founding. Parsing the shit out of a single quote, and a second-hand or posthumous one at that is bad method. Did he use those exact words? Even if so, is this uncharitable interpretation the only viable interpretation?

          Even if we stipulate that Atwater said it—and he did have the sharpest elbows in the business—all we’ve proven is that Lee Atwater was sharp, and was fully aware of the racial dimension of politics like any good Machiavellian.

          Do politicians refuse votes from racists? Heh.

          Now do we want to get into Democrat race-baiting for votes? Oh, the stories we could tell…Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to tom van dyke says:

            The interview with Atwater was done anonymously in 1981. It didn’t refer to

            Let us stipulate to several things all at once. Nixon courted the racist vote assiduously, as has every modern Republican. Lee Atwater was a racist motherfucker who cottoned up to a whole lot of other racist motherfuckers: cases in point, the Floyd Spence campaign and the George HW Bush “Willie Horton” campaign. The GOP used his merciless attention to detail to slime everyone they ran against for a good long while.

            And Lee Atwater wasn’t just a racist. He was a bully and a teacher of bullies. One of his favorite flavors of slime was to use allegations of supposed mental health issues in his opponents. And Lee Atwater was one of the best friends Bush43 ever had.

            The universe, it seems, is not without a sense of humor and perverse justice. Lee Atwater would die a long and painful death of cancer, long enough to vomit up every vicious thing he’d ever said into the emesis basin beside his hospital bed, a fate he richly deserved. Ronald Reagan, he who famously said he couldn’t remember a goddamn thing about Iran/Contra, would die of Alzheimer’s Disease. Strom Thurmond would live long enough to see Trent Lott thrown under the bus for saying he was proud of Thurmond’s legacy.

            You ask if politicians refuse votes from racists. Democrats do, which is why I am one.Report

            • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to BlaiseP says:

              No, BlaiseP, dude played blues w/BBKing. Lee Atwater was no racist. And BB played w/him despite his politics: dude could play. You can’t play the blues unless you get it. It’s a black thing; you wouldn’t understand.

              Dude also knew his Machiavelli. He was a consummate pro, blues or politics.

              Your delight at the “justice” of Lee Atwater dying a painful death by cancer is pure filth, sir. It’s all grist for your mill.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Lots of people played with BB King. Far as I’m concerned, blues music is for people who haven’t figured out how to play more than five chords. It solidified like so much concrete around 1960 and only white people have taken much of an interest in it thereafter, worshipping at the mummified corpse of Robert Johnson, back in the days where Negroes knew their place.

                Lee Atwater, on his deathbed, asked forgiveness of all the black people he’d slimed over the years. It really does no good to ask forgiveness of anyone, they have to want to forgive you. Black culture did not forgive Lee Atwater: I remember the trouble at Howard University when someone tried to put him on the board. If I recall correctly, both he and Howard’s president at the time had to resign.

                Yeah, wouldn’t it be nice if those uppity Negroes and Welfare Mamas (a term Lee Atwater coined) knew their place? LBJ and Jimmy Carter were products of the rural South, the real South, and neither were bigots. Lee Atwater was a big stinking snail, leaving his slime all over the GOP and you seem quite proud to say you wouldn’t mind garnering the racist vote.Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to BlaiseP says:

                As far as the blues goes, you don’t know shit about shit. Brother.

                Ronald Reagan had no part or truck with racism. That’s what matters about your little slimy story on Atwater.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to tom van dyke says:

                This may be true. I can, however, play slash chords. Ronald Reagan was a big nothing, a big lying lump of papier-mâché, surrounded with some seriously sinister ministers. Bow down before him if you want. He sold arms to our enemies.Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to BlaiseP says:

                You play slash chords on Ronald Reagan, BlaiseP, or whatever your real name is.

                I play under my real name here and everywhere. Play the blues under them, too. You’re very intelligent and erudite sir, but you’re an internet figment to me, a slice-and-dice of factoids and cynicism.

                The president recently said he misses his anonymity, an anonymity you enjoy here. Like him, and all your self-told stories, you are The Man Who Was Not There.

                You can’t play the blues that way, nor be a Ronald Reagan. Not even a Lee Atwater. You gotta dig in your heels and say, this is me.

                I like you, man, really do. I get you. It’s not that I haven’t heard all this before, from the cynical behind-the-scenes, lift-the-veil whorish Washington politics to the dirty work done by our military in Central America, more CIA-on-the-cheap than defending God and Country. Our problem, you & I, isn’t that I don’t understand you but that I do.

                I play the blues these days instead of more complex and complicated stuff, Blaise. I even hear that I’m good at it. Highest praise I ever heard. Good is harder than great.Report

            • Avatar Heidegger in reply to BlaiseP says:

              BP, Atwater would eat you up and spit you out so fast you’re deranged little brain would be begging for mercy. Your pathetic, despicable, heartless words about a great man, Lee Atwater, is deranged, as usual. He is as fine, dignified, funny an individual as I’ve ever met. I met him in Boston, bought him beer—just a great, great guy. Funny, self-deprecating humor to boot, and a very noble, distinguished, gentleman. Where do you get all of your bullshit about your “enemies”? I’m sure, whoever they are, that they get great laughs at your expense–you’re just too funny and silly to ever take seriously.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Heidegger says:

                I’ve dealt with far worse than Lee Atwater. I dealt with my father and grandfather, both preachers and I damned near became one. Noble and distinguished were they both, and I was literally beaten into rhetorical shape by stern masters. I am by far the meanest man I have ever known, decent and loving enough to the people in my shadow, but as you’re becoming aware, I say things to others they’ll never, ever forget.

                So you buy someone a beer and he gives you the schmooze, like he’s done to ten thousand other fanboii. Lee Atwater knew how to push people’s buttons and I know how to push yours.Report

  7. Avatar Jack says:

    Mark,
    You haven’t demonstrated any methodological flaw in the poll, you haven’t even theorized one. You have only hypothesized a way in which the data might be distorted, without any evidence that it happened. The motivations behind the liberal pollster do not necessarily invalidate the results. PPP has a solid track record in the same ballpark as the non-partisan pollsters, and certainly better than Rasumussin’s performance over the last elections. I think your post is an interesting intellectual exercise, but I would love to see some data that supports it.Report

  8. Avatar Chris says:

    Just so it’s clear, “weighted sampling” is distinct from weighting results. Weighted sampling select subgroups (in this case, likely age and race demographics) based on some criteria (in this case, population, whether that population be the population of Mississippi or Mississippi Republican primary voters). It’s used in almost all polls that us samples, which is almost all polls.

    By the way, speculating that people might have misheard the question is one of the more unique responses to a poll result that I’ve seen. It’s little more than speculation. I’d love to see real reasons for doubting these results, because let’s face it, the results are disturbing. However, you haven’t provided any such reasons.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

      I should add that the pdf to which both you and Res State link does not contain the words “weighted sampling.” It mentions “weighting,” but doesn’t give context, and looks like part of a boilerplate disclaimer. A quick review of other PPP releases show that this is true.

      So where did Red State get “weighted sampling?”Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Chris says:

      By the way, speculating that people might have misheard the question is one of the more unique responses to a poll result that I’ve seen.

      Perhaps, but the way in which this question was asked is at least equally unique. I wouldn’t even know how to find a comparable type of poll. But it definitely strikes me that almost every multi-topic poll I’ve ever seen provides some sort of segue to notify the respondent of the topic change.

      I just keep putting myself in the shoes of being asked that question in that context by a robo-caller. Each time I do, I can’t help but think that I’d be utterly unsure as to what I’d just been asked.Report

  9. Avatar tom van dyke says:

    Just another scummy attempt to argue “Your worst are worse than our worst,” from low-to-high, not what is best for the country.

    Since the Dems can’t be defended affirmatively, attacking their opponents is the only available tactic.

    [This blatantly partisan Public Policy Polling crew is brilliant. Top-drawer slime.]Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to tom van dyke says:

      This is a great comment, perfectly devoid of substance.Report

      • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to Chris says:

        That is what Tom specializes in he is my least favorite troll for this site as he is so long winded about being obstinate and wrong.Report

        • Avatar Heidegger in reply to ThatPirateGuy says:

          Gentlemen, are there two Tom Van Dykes running around here? The Tom Van Dyke I know is exceedingly bright, good-natured, humorous, thoughtful, polite–and his scholarship is beyond reproach. Do I smell a little, maybe a tinge of envy here? It looks like Copernicus against the world–and we all know how that ended.Report

          • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Heidegger says:

            Yes, Chris and TPG could learn a lot if they’d just sit at Tom’s knee and just listen!Report

            • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

              Oh, Mr. Bob, would that be a great video for You Tube! If all three parties would agree, I’ll fly them first-class to any place they want to meet. Just imagine, Chris on Tom’s lap for history lessons–God, that’s a funny thought. Chris would probably be begging to get tossed in one of Saddam’s feet-first shredders!Report

  10. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    You might be giving too much benefit of the doubt about mishearing. “Interracial marriage?! I thought I was opposed to interstellar porridge!” Nevertheless, if I read a description of a poll that started with “a weighted sample of 400 people”, I’d stop reading right there. A poll with that small a sample group “proves” that 400 people may or may not have felt one way or another at a particular moment.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Rufus F. says:

      Eh, sample size issues are generally, and this is a general case, only a problem for people who don’t do statistics or social science research. The size of the sample is pretty much irrelevant after a certain point (and that point is well below 400), so long as the sample is representative and certain methodoligical issues are avoided (e.g., when I used to do survey research, I always did a follow-up non-response survey, though they take time so political surveys rarely use them).Report

  11. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    Many cultural conservatives exhibit more-than-theoretical reticence to interracial marriages. The one curious statistic here, never revealed, is the cultural components of the called.

    Mine was an interracial marriage. I encountered a good deal of resistance from people I would have never thought had an opinion on the matter. Before we married, we knew several interracial couples (black/white, black/Korean, white/Korean) who told us there would be resistance from all sides of the fence.

    Mississippi is a curious state, so’s Louisiana. Both feature large black GOP constituencies. C. Daryl “Chris” Neely is a name I don’t expect everyone to know, but he’s a GOP ambassador to black cultural conservatives.

    Advocatus diaboli, is all opposition to interracial marriage racism by definition?Report

    • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to BlaiseP says:

      Bp, good point, which may go back to the commie-Dems and their affair with Mr. Crowe, not to mention the Democrat Klan business (Sen. Byrd, may he rest in peace, was always my favorite Keagle), and of course we have the ‘Draft Riots’. Historically, I wouldn’t know why any person of color would vote Democrat, given their horrific racist record.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to BlaiseP says:

      Mine is interracial too. I’ve never encountered any prejudice about it at all, nor have our kids been subject to any.for being mixed. It’s good to live in the civilized part of the world.

      Advocatus diaboli, is all opposition to interracial marriage racism by definition?

      Yes, because by definition it considers “race” to be a crucial characteristic. It’s like asking whether opposition to a king marrying a commoner makes you a royalist.Report

  12. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    I suppose we’re lucky that one of the possible responses wasn’t “PAT BUCHANAN”.Report

  13. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    As for the poll: I dunno. As others have pointed out, a good number of the respondents were old, and it’s been my experience that racist old farts stay that way no matter what the rest of us do.

    Story time. We were visiting the Smithsonian’s new airplane hangar, and looking at the Enola Gay. My mother said “it’s so sad, we had to kill all those people to end the war.” My grandmother said “well, they were only Japanese, you know.”Report

  14. Avatar Colleen says:

    I can see a credible reason for polling the “should interracial marriage be illegal” question. As you cited, the prohibition on interracial marriages was overturned by Loving v Virginia- a court decision. What would be called in modern American political parlance, activist judges. How many people criticize the Gay Marriage Movement for trying to win victories through the courts, not the ballot box? As a liberal, I think the point of judges and the courts is to level the playing field. The courts are supposed to be the refuge of the minority against the masses. They are supposed to protect my civil rights from being given to me at your leisure. So I think showing how even today, decades after Loving, many Americans would still deny fundamental freedoms to their fellow citizens is very relevant.Report

  15. Avatar Ken B. says:

    In questioning the validity of the poll, consider this: In 2000, Alabama finally amended its Constitution to remove the ban on interracial marriage. It did so by a publicly-voted Constitutional amendment. It was hardly the biggest issue on the ballot (Bush and Gore for President), but it had been reasonably well-publicized. Over 100,000 votes were cast on the Amendment, and it passed. But it only passed by a 60/40 margin. Think about that. In the privacy of the voting booth, 40% of Alabamans voted to keep a blatantly racist law on the books. Whenever I hear someone say that racism here is a thing of the past, I point out that little factoid.Report

  16. Avatar conradg says:

    okay, the premise here is absurd. People are going to be “lulled into complacency” and end up saying that interracial marriage should be illegal? I’m not exactly grasping how that happens. If they’d asked, “should putting Jews in concentration camps be government policy?” will 1 in 5 people be lulled into agreeing? And if so, is that even somehow reassuring?

    The polling question actually seems quite fair, and no one seems to have been tricked into answering as they did. It’s certainly true that all polling questions seem to have some people who will take any side, no matter how abhorent, but when a poll splits down the middle this factor seems to be evened out on both sides. It certainly does suggest that in our most conservative states, there’s a fair number of people who are still living in the antebellum era. Is this really a surprise? Is this really so shocking we must torture some logical explanation other than the most obvious one from it? Yeah, plenty of people in Mississippi are unreconstructed (literally) racists. Accept it and move on.Report