Bad Poll, Worse Results

American Patriot with MusketIn the wake of the Tuscon,AZ massacre CBS conducted a poll of Americans’ attitudes to many things vaguely related to the incident including anti-government violence. Most such polls are poorly crafted and conducted bu CBS’ was, in some of its questions, far more execrable than most – though the responses were even worse.

We’ve reached a sad nadir as a culture.

Amid other things the CBS poll in question found the following:

Whether politics played a factor in these shootings or not, few Americans think it is ever justified for citizens to take violent action against the government.  Three in four think it is never justified, similar to the percentage that said so last April.

Is Violent Action Against the Government Ever Justified?

Now 20-Apr-2010
Justified 16% 16%
Not Justified 76% 79%

The anti-American, Leftist propaganda outlet, Daily Kos was not – for rationales that largely escape me – satisfied with this already pathetic result. Supposedly the filth, kos emailed CBS to get the party affiliation breakdown of the results.

What? 16 percent of Americans think anti-government violence is justified? I emailed CBS and asked for the partisan breakdowns of that question. Here they are:

Do you think it is ever justified for citizens to take violent action against the government, or is it never justified?
Republican 28% yes 64% no
Democrat 11% yes 81% no
Independent 11% yes 81% no

Note, this poll was conducted after the Giffords shooting. Yet while a tiny (though still too large) fringe of Democrats and Independents approve of anti-government violence (likely the Alex Jones crowd), over a quarter of Republicans do so.

28 percent.

I wonder where that 28 percent gets their news. (Not really, it’s pretty obvious.)

NOTE: Markos Moulitsas aka kos is not the sort of creature whose accuracy or veracity can ever be trusted, but there seems little enough reason for it to lie to overtly about this data. I believe it’s safe enough to use these figures for now.

A Bad Question

The most egregious error or wrongdoing that CBS committed in their poll was asking an overly simplistic question with only two diametrically opposed answers, yes or no, allowed. Such XOR or binary toggle questions are almost always meant to illicit polarizing results or inflame an issue as opposed to gathering useful data.

This is made worse by asking such a question during a time of national shock and/or outrage since the results will likely be skewed and answers that are perceived as being unpopular will only lead to largely unwarranted vilification by various ideologues and agendists.

Is Violent Action Against the Government Ever Justified?

That’s just too wildly simplistic of a question to be asked in a yes or no format. Doing so ignores any form of context or circumstance and, hence, serves no valid purpose.

There’s also the issue of the missing 8% of the responses from the poll and the missing 5% of responses from the April 20, 2010 poll.

A Worse Result

Even given how piss-poor the question that CBS asked was, the results were appalling. That only 16% of respondents said that violent against the government is ever justified does not bode well for the future of our country or the liberty of our children.

In the best of a bad set of cases this is an example of sloppy thinking and answering a question that was not actually asked. If this is true, the respondents just weren’t hearing or reading the word “ever” and were thinking in terms of right then and in the current circumstances.

I have a hard time, however, in believing that a strong, much less overwhelming majority of those respondents fell into that particular cognitive trap. That strongly implies that the American people doomed to be subjected to tyranny by a government drunk on power – not today and likely not too soon, but in the not-terribly-distant future.


Like it or not, America was founded by violent actions against the government; we’d still be a British Crown Colony otherwise. The turbulent and often deplorable history of Man also indicates that it’s more than likely that America will someday have to be reborn through violent actions against the government.

To say or, worse, believe that violent actions against the government are never justified is tantamount to accepting the shackles of servitude. Worse even, when later generations seek to cast off those shackles, and sooner or later they will, a far greater level of violence will be required.

Does that mean that it isn’t or shouldn’t be a horrific thought? No. I, for one, would consider it quite horrific and hope that our politicians find the thought even more so and refrain from doing that which would cause such reprisals. Yet, horrid or not, anyone who loves America and the liberties we enjoy within it must accept that violence will one day be necessary for their continuance.

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