Secular Right | Reality & Reason

Apr/10

10

Obama As Antichrist & Other Modern Myths

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Fond as I am of The Omen, Rosemary’s Baby and other such devil movies, I can’t claim any great expertise on the question of who may—or may not—be a likely antichrist. On the whole, I don’t think that Obama is a terribly plausible suspect.

But if those who believe that the current inhabitant of the Oval Office is the antichrist are lost in one myth, those who believe that large numbers of Americans think just that are spreading another. This barely less idiotic legend cropped up during the 2008 election, and I blogged about it over at the Corner at the time. Sadly, it has now risen its horned head again, only to be nicely debunked by ABC’s Gary Langer here:

Whatever profoundly negative things people might think about Barack Obama, a new poll out today demonstrates splendidly how not to measure them.

It nails the negativity, all right; this project purports to tote up responses to a list of harsh criticisms of the president – e.g., that he’s “anti-American,” “a racist,” “wants… an excuse to take dictatorial powers,” “is doing many of the things that Hitler did” and “may be the Antichrist.”
Hot words, those. The survey, done by Harris Interactive, apparently was designed to test the theories in a book claiming the “lunatic fringe is hijacking America.” The purpose seems to have been to see how many people the pollsters could get to agree to pejorative statements about Obama. Quite a few, it turns out – but with what I see as a highly manipulative approach to questionnaire design.
I’ll lay off the sampling, though this survey was done among people who sign up to click through questionnaires via the Internet in exchange for points redeemable for cash and gifts – not a probability sample. Been there before. This time let’s just look at what it asked.

 

Go and look for yourselves. The results are fascinating.

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6 comments

  • Ross · April 10, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    It seems highly unethical on the part of the pollsters.

    I knew that Research 2000 has been using push polls to generate absurd results (that bear no relation to more objective surveys) on behalf of the Daily Kos website, so I suppose Harris Interactive aren’t alone in this.

    It reflects a corruption of the industry, when they are willing to help generate pleasing results for their clients rather than trying to reflect reality.

  • John · April 10, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    I’m with Ross. Harris is a notorious partisan, and I always take Harris polls with several grains of salt.

  • Le Mur · April 11, 2010 at 7:48 am

    Amy Sullivan in Time: A Google search for “Obama” and “Antichrist” turns up more than 700,000 hits, including at least one blog dedicated solely to the topic. A more obscure search for “Obama” and “Nicolae Carpathia” yields a surprising 200,000 references.

    I get 845 refs to [Obama antichrist] and 407 refs to [Obama "Nicolae Carpathia"]; keep in mind that google apparently grossly inflates the count when it’s first given, so page to the end of the results and see how many you *actually* got: it’s not anywhere near the 1,100,000 and 5,190 hits that google initially reports.

  • Derek Scruggs · April 12, 2010 at 2:23 am

    I get 1,100,000 for “Obama antichrist.” note that Google never displays more than the first 1000 results for any search term. See for example that a search of just “Obama” shows 916,000,000 results, but you can’t go past page 60.

  • Black Death · April 12, 2010 at 5:40 am

    I don’t believe Obama is the Antichrist. If he were, he would cause his opponents to burst into flame. He’s just another partisan hack politician.

  • Theresa · April 13, 2010 at 3:21 am

    “Fond as I am of The Omen, Rosemary’s Baby and other such devil movies, I can’t claim any great expertise on the question of who may—or may not—be a likely antichrist.”

    You know, the antichrist and the devil isn’t the same chappie.

    Not that it really matters. :-p Just sayin’.

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