Friday, October 22, 2004


The Boston Globe reports on a study by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland which reveals what has been painfully obvious:

Supporters of President Bush are less knowledgeable about the president's foreign policy positions and are more likely to be mistaken about factual issues in world affairs than voters who back John F. Kerry, a survey released yesterday indicated.

A large majority of self-identified Bush voters polled believe Saddam Hussein provided "substantial support" to Al Qaeda, and 47 percent believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction before the US invasion. Among the president's supporters, 57 percent queried think international public opinion favors Bush's reelection, and 51 percent believe that most Islamic countries support "US-led efforts to fight terrorism."


The polls results, said Steven Kull, the head of the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, which conducted the survey, showed that Americans are so polarized two weeks before the election that many lack even a common understanding of the facts.

"It is rather unique the extent to which we have different perceptions of reality," Kull said.


Kull said it is common for voters to tailor their views on particular issues to those of the candidate they favor overall, but the extent to which Bush supporters are filtering out news from Iraq that might reflect poorly on the president is unprecedented.


And many of the Bush voters surveyed knew that the Duelfer report said Hussein had no WMDs, but continue to believe that he did regardless.

Kull suggested the dissonance among Bush voters reflects the country's difficulty coming to grips with the discrediting of the rationale for the Iraq war.

"This period will really stand out as when the US went to war on assumptions that turned out to be incorrect," he said. "The body politic is still struggling to come to terms with that."

Geez, I don't know which is more disturbing:

1) the people who are ignorant of the administration's policies and support Bush, or

2) the people know Bush's policy positions and support him anyway?

UPDATE: Kull also discussed the study with NPR.

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