07 December 2012

From Mighty ACORN Grows?

Back in September I wrote about how Public Policy Polling had found most Republicans unwilling to say that President Barack Obama deserved more credit for the elimination of Osama bin Laden than Mitt Romney, who wasn’t involved in that event in the least.

PPP’s surveys have been viewed with some wariness by traditional pollsters because the organization has ties to Democratic candidates and because it operates with touch-tone phone polls instead of live people asking questions. But in the 2012 election its forecasts were among the most accurate, so its methodology appears to have been vindicated.

After the election, the firm asked people a question (full survey PDF) similar to one it had asked in 2009 (PDF):

Do you think that Barack Obama legitimately won the Presidential election this year, or do you think that ACORN stole it for him?
Of self-identified Romney voters, 50% said that ACORN had stolen the election. Among self-identified Republicans, that number was 49%. In considering that theory, it’s important to note that ACORN dissolved in 2010. (Back in 2009, 49% of John McCain voters and 52% of Republicans accused ACORN of stealing the election, which was also a wild false accusation but at least possible.)

The firm also asked:
Do you think Democrats engaged in voter fraud to ensure that Barack Obama won the election, or not?
There was no similar question about Republican voter fraud, despite the court cases. There’s also no evidence of widespread Democratic voter fraud. But to that question, 55% of Romney voters and 50% of Republicans said yes.

Thus, there are many people still suffering from OIP Derangement Syndrome and willing to tell their phones about it. At The American Prospect Jamelle Bouie wrote that he didn’t think most respondents really believed in their answers:
a large number of Republicans don’t like President Obama, and when offered a chance to endorse something that signals that dislike, they did it, even if the “something” is absolutely insane.
But it doesn’t matter whether OIP Derangement Syndrome is sincere or self-induced. What matters is the “absolutely insane” part.

Buried in PPP’s numbers, however, is a sign that many Americans are quietly moving away from the condition. Only 41% of respondents recalled voting for Mitt Romney a few weeks before; he actually got about 47% of the popular vote. Similarly, only 32% of respondents identified themselves as Republicans, a drop of five points from the same firm’s last poll before the election. Thus, although the percentages of unrealistic accusers in those groups remains strangely high, the groups are shrinking.

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