Are Voters Stupid?

Taegan Goddard mentions a Boston Globe story which cites a small University of Maryland poll which purports to show that President Bush's voters 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" JF Kerry.

Is the memorization of details a way in which to combat true stupidity? Perceived stupidity? Does stupidity and memorization, is counted by the poll writers at Maryland or the reporters at the Globe, meet with objective reality?

What should a voter know of their candidates postions before casting a vote? Is voter intelligence based on a memorization of a particular candidates version of realities, the media's version, or with the objective facts as gleaned by perception and mental integration?

As for identifying a candidates positions on the issues, in JF Kerry's case that is problematic. His positions do shift, and his campaign has said that he will change his economic positions if he finds that he has to do so to balance the budget. With JF, all bets are truly off.

The premise seems to be that an informed electorate would support the positions of JF, but even Kerry's positions at a given time can be a matter of personal interpretation. That being said, I cannot argue that there is not a sizable portion of voters who are not well-rehearsed in issues, positions, and facts. I can honestly, in my opinion, point to a block of 43% in 1992. But there is a certain misdirected snobbery in asking the question and positing a generalization as an answer.

Phrase the answer in the from of a question, then get back to me. It's a game.



I'm sure they disregarded those ideas which are, as George Orwell said, so stupid that only an intellectual can believe them. Like subjecting foreign policy to a "gloabl test," fixing the economy by raising taxes on everyone who creates jobs, a-Sadr as a "legitimate voice," terrorism contained as a mere "nuisance," imitating the British and Canadian national health care plans, you name it.

By Blogger Jon, at October 22, 2004 at 6:09 PM  

So they'll basically jettison the entire platform once faced with reality. You know, that's somewhat common these days.

By Blogger Mark Kilmer, at October 22, 2004 at 11:23 PM  

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