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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Agrabah and Nonattitudes

Ariel Edwards-Levy and Natalie Jackson write at The Huffington Post:
Americans are deeply divided over whether to bomb the kingdom of Agrabah, according to a new poll, with Republicans more likely to be in favor and Democrats tending to be opposed.
But here's the problem: "Agrabah" happens to be the fictional home of Aladdin.
Public Policy Polling, a prominent Democratic-leaning polling firm, included the question in its most recent national poll. (Let's not forget that this is the same firm that listed “Deez Nuts” as a candidate on a North Carolina poll.)
Over half of Democrats and 43 percent of Republicans answered the Agrabah question. Thirty percent of Republican primary voters were in favor of bombing the fictional location, while 13 percent were opposed. Among Democrats, 19 percent were in favor and 36 percent were opposed.
What PPP is demonstrating with this question is that people often respond to polls without knowing much, or anything, about a topic. And pollsters often ask about specific policy questions that Americans haven't given much thought to.