Faith-based politics

There is an interesting piece of opinion research available today from the Programme on International Policy Attitudes. The document itself is not long, and worth reading, but the take-away is that the Bush and Kerry supporters questioned don’t merely disagree on matters of policy or principle, they disagree on some fundamental matters of fact. Facts subject to partisan difference include whether Iraq was involved in 9/11 (Bush supporters: yes, Kerry supporters: no), and whether the world supports the Iraq war (Bush supporters: yes, Kerry supporters: no).

It’s just a pity that Jacques Derrida isn’t around to appreciate this.

There are a few theories floating around as to the reasons for this strange disjuncture. These range from “the Bush supporters have been deceived by the Government”, to “George Bush’s supporters are a horde of ignoramuses“. The last is a pleasing historical echo of John Stuart Mill’s description of the Tories as “the stupid party”.

My guess is that those polled are engaging in a bit of reverse-justification: they know the political mast they’ve nailed their colours to, and they have to mangle the facts to get to the answer they had already thought of. Rather like the reverse of this opinion poll (RealAudio file) from