Anti-war.com – 2004-10-22 23:44:15
(October 22, 2004) — We’ve all met individuals or even groups of people like this, but to see proof of the sheer size, the vastness of the….herd….is truly astonishing.
Even after the final report of Charles Duelfer to Congress saying that Iraq did not have a significant WMD program, 72% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq had actual WMD (47%) or a major program for developing them (25%).
Fifty-six percent assume that most experts believe Iraq had actual WMD and 57% also assume, incorrectly, that Duelfer concluded Iraq had at least a major WMD program. Kerry supporters hold opposite beliefs on all these points.
Similarly, 75% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda, and 63% believe that clear evidence of this support has been found.
Sixty percent of Bush supporters assume that this is also the conclusion of most experts, and 55% assume, incorrectly, that this was the conclusion of the 9/11 Commission. Here again, large majorities of Kerry supporters have exactly opposite perceptions.
These are some of the findings of a new study of the differing perceptions of Bush and Kerry supporters, conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes and Knowledge Networks, based on polls conducted in September and October.
Steven Kull, director of PIPA, comments, “One of the reasons that Bush supporters have these beliefs is that they perceive the Bush administration confirming them. Interestingly, this is one point on which Bush and Kerry supporters agree.”
Eighty-two percent of Bush supporters perceive the Bush administration as saying that Iraq had WMD (63%) or that Iraq had a major WMD program (19%). Likewise, 75% say that the Bush administration is saying Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda.
Equally large majorities of Kerry supporters hear the Bush administration expressing these views–73% say the Bush administration is saying Iraq had WMD (11% a major program) and 74% that Iraq was substantially supporting al Qaeda.
Steven Kull adds, “Another reason that Bush supporters may hold to these beliefs is that they have not accepted the idea that it does not matter whether Iraq had WMD or supported al Qaeda. Here too they are in agreement with Kerry supporters.”
Asked whether the US should have gone to war with Iraq if US intelligence had concluded that Iraq was not making WMD or providing support to al Qaeda, 58% of Bush supporters said the US should not have, and 61% assume that in this case the President would not have. Kull continues, “To support the president and to accept that he took the US to war based on mistaken assumptions likely creates substantial cognitive dissonance, and leads Bush supporters to suppress awareness of unsettling information about prewar Iraq.”
And here’s a quote from Steve Soto at the Left Coaster:
Gross cognitive dissonance. A mass Stepford complex among Bush’s masses. Legions of people who get their news from a discredited source, who are unable to confront the fact that they are being used and manipulated (see Thomas Frank’s “What’s Wrong With Kansas”).
These same people ascribe mainstream positions and beliefs to their leader contrary to the facts almost as if they are in denial that they fully support a man who is an extremist.
As time goes on, their faith in and support of that leader grow so hardened, again stoked by a reinforcing and assistive media, that many of the masses begin imitating the characteristics of their leader, in that they believe they are infallible, more righteous than their peers, and are unwilling to admit error or facts contrary to their beliefs.
In other words, a cult.