27 November 2015

Turkey in the Straw Poll

This week Public Policy Polling released the results of a Thanksgiving survey (PDF download) which provided new evidence of OIP Derangement Syndrome among self-identified conservatives and Republicans.

The questions were all Thanksgiving-themed, such as respondents’ favorite pies, whether stuffing should be called dressing, and which Presidential candidates people might and might not like as Thanksgiving guests.

And then there was this question:
Do you approve or disapprove of President Obama’s executive action last year to pardon 2 turkeys rather than the customary one turkey at Thanksgiving?
Choices were approval, disapproval, and “not sure,” which we should assume includes “don’t give a darn.”

The results were quite widely split by party affiliation and political leaning. As PPP reported, “Only 11% of Republicans support the President’s executive order last year to 38% who are opposed—that's a pretty clear sign that if you put Obama’s name on something GOP voters are going to oppose it pretty much no matter what. Overall there’s 35/22 support for the pardon of Macaroni and Cheese thanks to 59/11 support from Democrats and 28/21 from independents.”

But what’s really telling (though not told by PPP) is that Presidents started “formally” pardoning turkeys each year back in 1989, and there have always been two turkeys involved. The breeders provide a matched pair in case one doesn’t look like it can handle the ceremony. Here, for example, is the report on President George W. Bush pardoning two turkeys in 2007.
In other words, 38% of Republicans opposed the current President pardoning two turkeys even though they’d seen his predecessor do that same thing eight times, simply because PPP’s question presented them with a chance to express disapproval of “executive action,” doing something other than “customary,” and “President Obama.”

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