“Ignorant” is the new voter demographic

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Dick Polman takes issue, rightly, with the vast swath of America who make it their goal in life not to know anything.

I’m not talking about folks who are working hard, possibly two or three jobs, to support a family and have little time to indulge in learning for the sake of learning.

No.  It’s the people who get a piece of information and make no effort whatsoever to do even cursory research into the accuracy of that information.  In this case a little knowledge – or negative knowledge, something I’ll use to describe “knowing” something that just isn’t true – is a very dangerous thing.

Polman uses as his example some of the quotes from a focus group of 12 Virginia folks who are not close followers of politics and did not vote in Virginia’s primaries.

For instance, here’s Dorita, opining about Obama: “I’m a little concerned. I don’t know enough about his Muslim background and their beliefs and how he views everything. I’m a little concerned. I need to check his background.”

You do that, Dorita.

Here’s Josh on Obama: “He’s representing a minority in more than one case. He is African American and he is Muslim. And in light of that…it does feel like we’re being judged or pounded down on because we want to carry a gun or we want to wear the American flag pin.”

Here’s Melinda, clearly the GOP’s dream voter: “I just really feel like he’s…not a people pleaser as in the Americans, but the other people who don’t necessarily need to be pleased, the other, the enemies if you will, I don’t know. I’m just not real positive on that.”

Nothing is worse than people who don’t know what they don’t know.  Would it have been that difficult for these folks, who admitted that they didn’t spend much time trying to learn about the election, to simply answer “I don’t know” to questions about the candidates?

The danger is that these folks, who could, as independent voters, determine the election, will spread that negative knowledge to other folks.  In a race that could be close, having up to 10 percent of the electorate base their decisions on information that is simply wrong – just because they couldn’t be bothered to open a newspaper – is flat out tragic.

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One Response to ““Ignorant” is the new voter demographic”

  1. Finding the source of “negative knowledge” « Y-Decide 2008 Says:

    […] Y-Decide 2008 WHYY and Temple University bring the young perspective on politics « “Ignorant” is the new voter demographic […]

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