Wednesday, October 20, 2004

A look at Tennessee.

No surprise:

Bush’s support is strongest among Tennesseans who are white and who describe themselves as Evangelical Christians.

Also, no surprise:

Despite the impression the above findings might give, a close look at five domestic agenda items suggests that Tennesseans as a group hardly qualify as well-informed, ideologically consistent policy wonks. For example, only about half of Tennessee adults can accurately name Kerry as the candidate who supports rescinding the recent federal income tax cuts for people earning over $200,000 a year. About a quarter (23%) incorrectly attributed the proposal to Bush, and 27% admit they don’t know which candidate supports the measure. Similarly, only about half (50%) rightly name Bush as the candidate who favors giving parents tax-funded vouchers to help pay private or religious school tuition. Thirteen percent attribute the plan to Kerry, who actually opposes it. Over a third (37%) admit they don’t know.

Knowledge levels are even lower on the other three issues. Well under half (42%) are aware that Bush wants to let younger workers put some of their Social Security withholdings into their own personal retirement accounts. Nineteen percent incorrectly think Kerry supports the measure, and 40% say they don’t know one way or the other. Just over a quarter (28%) rightly name Bush as the candidate who supports giving needy people tax breaks that would help buy health insurance from private companies. Thirty percent inaccurately name Kerry as the measure’s proponent, and 41% admit not knowing. Finally, just 39% know that Kerry advocates requiring plants and factories to add new pollution control equipment when they make upgrades. Fifteen percent wrongly attribute the policy to Bush, and 45% don’t know.

Asked for their own opinions on these same issues – with no clues given in the question regarding which candidates support which position – many Tennesseans express views contrary to those of the candidate they say they support. Only 54% of self-described Kerry partisans, for example, express support for Kerry’s plan to retain the recent income tax cuts only for individuals earning less than $200,000 a year. And about a third (32%) of Bush partisans say they like the idea, even though Bush opposes it. In a mirror image of that pattern, just about half (50%) of those backing Bush support Bush’s plan for providing tax breaks to help needy people buy health insurance from private companies. And about a third (31%) of Kerry backers support the idea, even though Kerry favors an alternative strategy that would let more people qualify for government-funded insurance programs like Medicaid.

On vouchers, 52% of Bush supporters agree with Bush’s stance, and so did 31% of Kerry supporters. Fifty-eight percent of Bush partisans favored Bush’s Social Security plan, but so did 38% of Kerry backers. And 80 percent of Kerry backers, along with 71 percent of Bush backers, say they favor Kerry’s plans for requiring factories and plans to install new pollution control equipment when upgrading.

Overall, in fact, Tennesseans averaged only two right answers when quizzed about which candidate held which view on the five issues. A fifth (20%) got no right answers, and 19% got one answer right. (Source:

I'm fairly certain these results, sadly, would hold true beyond just the state of Tenn. Pathetic.

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