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.
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