25 May 2011

Our Ideological Lenses

According to an opinion poll taken last week, 57% of the French public and 70% who identify as supporters of the Socialist party believe that Dominque Strauss-Kahn's arrest in New York was the result of a conspiracy to set him up. 

It is information like this that leads me to look at data on public understanding of science -- with all of its revelations about how little the public knows compared to the relevant experts -- as a glass half full not half empty.  In fact, it is somewhat remarkable that most of the public often (but not always) gets most issues mostly right.

(H/T The Monkey Cage)


  1. As with all such surveys, this one has a fatal flaw. The assumption is that in an anonymous survey, people will feel free to give a true answer. The truth is that in an anonymous survey, people can feel free to give an untruthful answer.

    What is the cost for telling the survey questioner a fib? That's a rhetorical question - there is no cost. Just as with the birther question, respondants can choose to give the answer that makes them feel good, rather than the answer they can justify. I have no doubt that many Frenchmen told the questioner that there was a setup in order to slander Sarkozy. Just as many Republicans question Obama's birth location. Not because they actually believe it, but because there's no cost to giving Obama a kick over the phone to an anonymous questioner.

    These surveys - much beloved by the media, are mostly garbage.

  2. For comparative analysis I went looking for a poll or study wrt the Duke Lacrosse case but could not find one. I know they were convicted by the court of public opinion but it would be interesting to see some demographics. If you recall it was very devastating, 88 professors calling for the end to male white victimization of people of color on campus, couple of coaches resigned, Jessie Jackson offered the victim a scholarship(she’s accused of murder now), Nancy Grace and so much more.

  3. Conspiracy theory 101. We don't know what happened. Chickens don't come cellophane wrapped until they get out of the factory. Reality doesn't have a narrative until it passes through the corporate media.

    Europeans know just how very naughty American intelligence agencies can be. Americans don't have a clue.

    DSK is involved in very controversial global financial dealings involving the dollar, he may also have run against that pernicious little warmonger Sarkozy.

    It was clever, he has an unpleasant sexual history. Still, we don't know and we probably never will.

    Spit out the cellophane and embrace uncertainty.


    A French government minister has said he could not rule out that IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn's arrest for alleged sexual assault was the result of a set-up with political motives.