The AP surveyed replacement theory!

TUESDAY, MAY 17, 2022

Why did Democrats say what they did? We're so old that we can remember when Samuel Alito's draft opinion on abortion rights was still major news all across the land.

That was some time last week. Now we're involved in a great civil war about so-called "replacement theory."

Last evening, cable stars on our own liberal channels conducted themselves in the standard manner. They took turns topping each other in their recitation of talking points concerning the racist conspiracy theory which is so plainly false.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post has spilled with references to a survey about this general topic from December of last year. Yesterday morning, in a news report on page A13, Marianna Sotomayor described one result as shown:

SOTOMAYOR (5/16/22): An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll from December found that 1 in 3 U.S. adults believed there was “an effort to replace U.S. citizens with immigrants for electoral gains.” More Republicans believed in the likelihood than Democrats, 36 percent to 27 percent. 

Sotomayor seemed to be quoting the language from one of the survey's specific questions. Like several colleagues who have cited this survey, Sotomayor offered no link to the AP/NORC report.

That said:

According to Sotomayor's account, 36 percent of Republican respondents had said they believed that there was “an effort to replace U.S. citizens with immigrants for electoral gains.” 

Surprisingly, 27 percent of Democrats had said they believed the same thing! That doesn't seem like a giant difference. Or at least, so Sotomayor said.

Given current tribal messaging, it's surprising to think that 27 percent of Democrats said they agreed with that statement. Meanwhile, was Sotomayor giving an accurate account of what the survey had actually asked, and what the respondents had actually said?

In this morning's Washington Post, Michelle Norris seems to give the same account of the same AP/NORC survey. In her second paragraph, she links to this earlier account of the survey by the Washington Post's Philip Bump.

With that, the problems start. None of these Post reporters offer an actual link to the actual survey in question. Also, none of these reporters seem to describe the results of the survey in the exact same way.

After a considerable search, we managed to find the original AP/NORC report about the survey in question. Incredibly, the report appears without a date of publication, though it offers a link to this poorly-written AP news report about the actual survey.

Alas! Everyone is citing the survey, but it isn't clear that anyone knows what its respondents said. For better or worse, this is fairly typical work from within our badly failed upper-end journalistic culture.

What questions were respondents actually asked? How did they actually answer? Only Bump, in his Post report, seems to think that he can answer those questions, though he too fails to provide a link to the actual data. 

We still haven't managed to find the original data. But if we put our faith in Bump, we can tell you what the respondents were asked and what the respondents said. 

Warning! If Bump's account is accurate, then Sotomayor's account was wrong. According to Bump, respondents were asked if they agreed with this statement:

"There is a group of people in this country who are trying to replace native-born Americans with immigrants who agree with their political views."

According to Bump's graphic, something like 46 percent of Republicans said they agreed with that statement. So did something like 22 percent of Democrats.

That still sounds like a lot of Dems! According to Bump, respondents were also asked if they agree with this statement:

"Native-born Americans are losing economic, political and cultural influence because of the growing population of immigrants."

According to Bump, 36 percent of Republicans agreed with that statement, as did 27 percent of Democrats.

At present, we have no ultimate way to check the accuracy of Bump's account. That said, we'll assume that he has access to the actual data, and that his account is correct.

As President Kennedy used to do, we'll now say this about that:

According to this large survey from last December, 22 percent of Democrats agree with a statement which strongly resembles straight-up "replacement theory." Also, 27 percent of Democrats say that native-born Americans are losing political influence due to our nation's growing number of immigrants.

Compared to what you're currently seeing and hearing on cable TV, that seems like a lot of Democrats who said they agreed with those statements. At this point, we'll author a guess:

No one watching liberal cable saw those numbers reported last night. Instead, we were encouraged to blame the whole thing on The Others. 

In other words, Republicans believe the racist conspiracy theory which is plainly false. Our virtuous tribe does not, or at least so we were told.

Why did so many Democrats answer the way they did? We can't answer that question, but we'll show you some data, in the next few days, which create a wider context for this ongoing discussion.

For ourselves, we'll repeat our position from yesterday. We'd assume that some members of our liberal tribe do view immigration policy as a way to gain future political advantage. 

We'd be amazed if none of our tribe's journalistic or political elites view the matter that way. That doesn't necessarily mean that anyone does, though we may mention Frank Rich tomorrow.

At any rate, roughly a quarter of the AP/NORC's Democratic respondents gave answers to those two questions which tilted in the direction of "replacement theory." 

Last night, cable tribunes screamed long and loud, reciting mandated points. This is the nightmare into which our species descends when we split into warring tribes and it's Storyline all the way down.

Liberal cable was gruesome last night. Fox News almost always is.

Tomorrow: The 22 percent


  1. “an effort to replace U.S. citizens with immigrants for electoral gains.”

    Electoral gains? What nonsense. Cheap labor, obviously.

    Anyhow. After watching, a couple of years ago, Michael Moore's documentary Planet of the Humyns, it became clear to us that braindead environmentalists can be dangerous. Just like any other movement of braindead robots. Some of them would happily destroy humynity to "save the Earth". And here we are: the Buffalo massacre.

    ...and by the way, dear Bob, if anyone is to blame (if indirectly), it has to be your buddy Algore, who (in our humble opinion) is basically lost to the world, morally and intellectually.

  2. "In other words, Republicans believe the racist conspiracy theory which is plainly false."

    By the way, what's 'racist' about it, dear Bob? Also, what's conspiratorial about it, and why is it 'wrong'?

    Capitalists love cheap labor. They go around the globe searching for the cheapest labor possible. And, obviously, they want the cheapest labor in their own countries too. There's nothing racist, conspiratorial, or wrong about it. Simple economics.

    1. Mao, I thought Republicans were big on capitalism, while the humyns/MAGAs' gripe is that the dems are commies. That's true is it not? (not that dems aren't in fact often "capitalists".)

    2. AC/ MA,
      Republican voters care about only two things, and capitalism isn't one of them.

    3. Also, you've forgotten, dear AC/MA: baby-killers.
      Yes, we believe it's 'godless commies and baby-killers'.

  3. “An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll from December found that 1 in 3 U.S. adults believed there was “an effort to replace U.S. citizens with immigrants for electoral gains.” More Republicans believed in the likelihood than Democrats, 36 percent to 27 percent.”

    I don’t want to function as a media critic here, since that’s supposedly Somerby’s job, but the above statistics do not seem to match what the AP poll actually says. It’s hard to find the actual data, but the top-line results do not support the reporter’s characterization

    (The top line results are here:

    Here is what it actually says: “50% of high conspiratorial thinkers fear immigration will trigger economic and political losses 36% of Republicans and 26% of Democrats share this view”

    Notice what this does not say: it does not say that 26% of Democrats believe that there is “an effort to replace U.S. citizens with immigrants for electoral gains.” That is very different from believing that immigration causes economic harm to US citizens. And what does “political losses” mean for a Democrat answering this question? That Democrats might lose elections because of it? We aren’t told.

    Perhaps the actual poll results would make this clearer, but they are not easy to locate.

    At any rate, perhaps Somerby could be bothered to notice the group of people (Republicans and right wing media) who are pushing the “replacement theory” versus those who aren’t.

  4. “We're so old that we can remember when Samuel Alito's draft opinion on abortion rights was still major news all across the land.”

    Gee, do you think maybe some sort of event, possibly of a tragic and appalling nature, might have happened to get people talking about something else for a bit?

    It’s a head-scratcher, to be sure.

  5. Just a few years back Jennifer Rubin wrote a column titled "Yes, we will replace you," I believe in reference to immigration utterly changing the political landscape of Georgia.

    So clearly, yes, people do think in that manner. To call this a "conspiracy theory" is just blatant dishonesty.

    1. The conspiracy theory is that immigrants are deliberately being brought in to replace US citizens to benefit a particular political party (Dems, of course), NOT that immigration might “change the political landscape.”

    2. The white supremacist conspiracy theory is that the white race is being replaced by immigrants and minorities because they breed faster and because white people do not protect the purity of white women, who then intermarry with brown and black people, polluting the white race. They see white heritage and culture being threatened by this influx of immigrants, which they see as a bad thing because Western European culture is supposedly the pinnacle of civilization and other peoples are inferior.

      What makes this important is not that this is a conspiracy theory because the Democrats are encouraging this on purpose. It is the hatred that accompanies the white/black/brown distinction and the assignment of inferiority to those who are in the wrong category. The demographic changes provide the impetus (motivation) to do something to stop the people, but it is the hatred that fuels the violence. The guns provide the means to act on fear of being erased culturally.

      So, it doesn't matter how many people respond yes or no to questions about cultural replacement. What matters is how many upset people who feel alienated and estranged, like failures and unwelcome in their own country, and how many of those sad sacks have access to guns and the desire to use them. That is not measure by AP polls but by the organizations that track hate groups in our country, as well as Homeland Security (which was ordered off that beat during Trump's administration).

      Somerby is pretending that there is nothing wrong with spreading hate, since Democrats respond a certain way on a survey, and thus it isn't the ideas that are bad, but mental illness. Unfortunately, hate is not a mental illness and these people are not crazy. If they were, Tucker would have a padded room.

      I suspect that Somerby is going to write some more essays trying to normalize thinking in terms of the impact of demographic change on peoples survey responses, so that he can claim that Tucker is just saying the same things as any sociologist. We all know that isn't so, because Tucker has the hate to go along with the stats.