Your depressing poll result of the day. Needless to say, no one in any position of authority has claimed that Russia changed the vote totals. Obama specifically denied that that happened, in fact, when he was asked about it on “The Daily Show” a few weeks ago: “We were frankly more concerned in the run-up to the election to the possibilities of vote tampering, which we did not see evidence of and we’re confident we can guard against.” But throw a million headlines at low-information voters about Russian hacking related to the election and go figure that some will jump to the wrong conclusion, especially if they dislike Trump and want to believe the worst.
Remember before the election when the left would scold the right for worrying that the vote might be rigged? Here we are, full circle as 2016 wheezes to its conclusion. The numbers when people are asked whether it’s true that “Russia tampered with vote tallies in order to get Donald Trump elected President”:
Nearly 20 percent of Republicans say it’s definitely or probably true as well. (Among Trump voters, who normally overlap very closely with Republicans, just nine percent agree.) Evidently there’s a chunk of GOPers out there who didn’t vote for Trump and who have now convinced themselves that he won only because his pal Vlad tinkered with the vote totals. But still, Republicans are far more skeptical about Russian vote-rigging than Democrats are, and appropriately so. On the other hand, when asked if it’s true that “Russia hacked the email of Democrats in order to increase the chance that Donald Trump would win the Presidential election” — which is the position of both the CIA and the FBI — Republicans are only slightly more credulous than they are about the more sensational claim of Russian vote-tampering. Just 27 percent of GOPers think it’s definitely or probably true that Russia tried to help Trump by hacking the Dems’ emails compared to 75 percent of Democrats who think so. Hence the point of this YouGov poll: Partisans on both sides believe what they want to believe, even when it comes to conspiracy theories.
Sometimes, though, they agree more than you’d think. Here’s what YouGov got when it asked whether it’s true that “Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction before the invasion of Iraq in 2003 that the U.S. never found”:
I would have guessed no more than 15 percent or so of Democrats would agree with that, and maybe not even that. “There were no WMDs” has been the first charge in the left’s indictment of the war for more than 10 years; they’ve invested a lot of rhetorical energy in making that point, especially on their own side. And yet you’ve got more than 40 percent of Democrats here willing to say that it’s at least probably true that Saddam had WMDs that went undiscovered, not to mention 69 percent(!) of Republicans. Presumably people on both sides, remembering their early support for the war, have carried with them the belief that they were right all along to suspect that Hussein had an active program and that somehow the evidence went missing. It’s a way to justify their enthusiasm for a war that’s now total anathema on the left and, with Trump atop the GOP, increasingly seen as a mistake on the right. There were WMDs that we didn’t find, the logic seems to go, therefore we were right to support the invasion. Although that raises a question: Why wouldn’t voters do with their early war support what they usually do with inconvenient information and just conveniently forget it, preferring to believe instead that they were anti-war from the start? Why opt for the theory that an unpopular war actually was justified but that Hussein pulled a fast one by hiding the evidence?
One more for you. The results when YouGov asked about Pizzagate, i.e. whether it’s true that “Leaked email from some of Hillary Clinton’s campaign staffers contained code words for pedophilia, human trafficking and satanic ritual abuse”:
The idea that John Podesta and the Clintons are involved in a satanic child sex-trafficking ring being run out of pizza parlors is a 50/50 proposition among Republicans and a nearly 25 percent proposition on the left, huh? Well, good to know. That’s common ground for the two sides to build on.
For your evening viewing pleasure, to cleanse the palate, here’s the trailer for what looks to be the must-see thriller of 2017. Exit question: When YouGov asked if it’s true that millions of illegal votes were cast last month, 52 percent of Republicans and 62 percent of Trump voters said it definitely or probably is. Er, why would you believe that about an election you won? Is it a way for Republicans to explain Hillary’s popular-vote victory to themselves, with most of the illegal votes being cast in California rather than in the Rust Belt states where Hillary really needed them? If Democrats were capable of turning out illegal voters en masse, you would think they could have cranked out enough of them in Florida and Pennsylvania given the narrow margins of Trump’s victories there to give her the presidency.