Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wednesday Math, Vol. 82: More birther numbers

A week ago Saturday, I wrote a blog post about the birther movement, doing some 'splainin' of numbers I found suspect from the website WorldNetDaily. The questions were leading and I wasn't sure there were reliable. The Daily Kos also put together a poll about the birther question more recently that consisted of two questions that I don't consider leading, and produced interesting results.

Do you believe that America and Africa were once part of the same continent?

42% yes, 26% no, 32% not sure

What's the kindest way to put this? Americans are stupid. The best theory of geology is that continental clumps are always in motion, dancing away from one another and then back. The last time the majority of exposed land was in one big clump called Pangaea, and it stayed mostly together from just before the time of the dinosaurs through to the beginning of the era of the dinosaurs, in the geological period known as the Triassic. Back then, Africa was was closer to North America than South America was. But about a quarter of Americans don't think this is true and another third aren't sure.

It's okay to be ignorant of facts. People forget stuff or never learned it in a geology class. Openly denying the best known scientific theory on the subject, theory that is only "controversial" if you think the world is about 6,000 years old... that's not so okay.

Some of the demographic splits are very large.

REP_______ 24% 47% 29%
DEM_______ 51% 16% 33%
IND_______ 44% 23% 33%
OTH/REF___ 42% 25% 33%
NON VOTERS 46% 22% 32%

WHITE____ 35% 30% 35%
BLACK____ 63% 13% 24%
LATINO___ 55% 19% 26%
OTHER/REF 56% 19% 25%

SOUTH____ 32% 37% 31%
NORTHEAST 50% 18% 32%
MIDWEST__ 46% 22% 32%
WEST_____ 43% 24% 33%

While there are minor differences between most of the groups, on this question we have some big splits.

Republicans are stupider than other political affiliations.

White people are stupider than other races.

Southerners are stupider than people from other regions of the country.

Keep these splits in mind.

Do you believe that Barack Obama was born in the United States of America or not?

77% yes, 11% no, 12% not sure

Okay, Americans are a lot less stupid about this than they are about facts from geology class. To be fair, it's been a long time since most of us were in a geology class and people forget stuff, myself included. This, on the other hand, has been in the news for a while, so we get a lot less of both "no" and "not sure" than we did with the Pangaea question. But once again, let's look at the demographics splits.

REP_______ 42% 28% 30%
DEM_______ 93% _4% _3%
IND_______ 83% _8% _9%
OTH/REF___ 80% _9% 11%
NON VOTERS 84% _7% _9%

WHITE____ 71% 14% 15%
BLACK____ 97% _1% _2%
LATINO___ 87% _6% _7%
OTHER/REF 88% _6% _6%

SOUTH____ 47% 23% 30%
NORTHEAST 93% _4% _3%
MIDWEST__ 90% _6% _4%
WEST_____ 87% _7% _6%

Do we see a pattern? I think we do.

Again, my innate need for fairness (thanks, mom!) makes me want to clarify something. My father is both white and a Republican, two of the suspect demographic groups. But he isn't Southern, and this may have something to do with the fact that he doesn't dispute scientific fact very often and he doesn't believe this birther crap.

Yay, Flags of many lands™!

Yay, Martinique!

You might wonder how a country in the New World could have a flag with such an elegant and simple design, why such a flag pattern hadn't been snatched up by another country centuries before. The answer, of course, is that Martinique is still a French colony, or overseas department as the French prefer to call them, so they fly the Tricolor.

Anyway, one of My People found his way to the blog from Martinique! Bonjour, mon frère!

1 comment:

Margaret Benbow said...

Thank you for your post, Matty Boy. The Birther movement is a true freak show. Yesterday I saw a replay on TV of that moment in a town meeting when the maniacal lady was screaming away that Obama was an illegal alien,and she wanted her country back, and the troglodytes in the audience were roaring and stamping approval. Reminded me of the Yeats line--"The best are silent, and the worst ae full of passionate intensity." Thank you for not being silent.