Friday, October 22, 2004

Cognitive Dissonance and the electorate

KRT Wire | 10/21/2004 | Poll finds reality gap among Bush supporters
There may be another reason, Kull said. Asked whether U.S. forces should have invaded Iraq if U.S. intelligence had concluded that Iraq was not making WMD or providing support to al-Qaeda, 58 percent of Bush supporters said no.

"To support the president and to accept that he took the United States to war based on mistaken assumptions is difficult to bear, especially in light of the continuing costs in terms of lives and money," Kull said.

"Apparently, to avoid this cognitive dissonance, Bush supporters suppress awareness of unsettling information...

... The survey also found that Bush supporters have "numerous misperceptions" about the president's positions. Majorities incorrectly believe that Bush backs the Kyoto global-warming treaty, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the International Criminal Court, and the treaty banning land mines.

A majority of Bush backers (57 percent) also believe most people in the world favor Bush's re-election, contrary to the findings of several polls.

This is a variant on the 92% number -- the percentage of Americans who feel terrorism is our number one problem who support George Bush.

Bush supporters oddly enough have many of the same preferences as non-supporters. They favor various treaties, want to protect the environment, want to deal with global warming, don't want to go to war without sound reasons, etc. The problem is, they think Bush supports their positions. They even think the rest of the western world suporters George Bush!

In other words, the electorate is a bit balmy. Was it always this way? I can't imagine a point in my lifetime when so many people were so disconnected from fact. These aren't matters of opinion -- Bush vetoed the treaties his supporters think he favored!

The article ends with the sort of peurile pseudo-balanced comment that's common in modern journalism. I won't bother quoting it, but we do need to rewire journalism schools.

There are days when I think Ayn Rand might be have been right after all.

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