Obama conspiracy theories have flourished in the Deep South, where wealth and educational levels are both low. This makes sense: Where voters are least informed, they are most susceptible to misinformation peddled by talk-radio hosts and the like. For this reason, voters in reliably Republican states, which tend to be poorer, with lower test scores, are more vulnerable to misinformation. To use one measure, the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress test of eighth-grade reading, all but one of the top 10 states were in Obama’s column in 2012. Of the 19 doing worse than average, 14 were red states.
“Obama derangement syndrome is running pretty high right now among a certain segment of the Republican base,” Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling, told me. “There’s a certain segment of people who say, ‘If you’re going to give me the opportunity to stick it to Obama, I’m going to take it.’ ” In other words, a large number of that 29 percent who said Obama was responsible for the Katrina response knew that he wasn’t but saw it as a chance to register their displeasure with the president. Obama has driven a large number of Republican voters — Jensen puts it at 15 to 20 percent of the overall electorate — right off their rockers.
The ten myths about the President:
- Obama was responsible for the Hurricane Katrina disaster.
- Obama hates white people.
- Obama is a socialist.
- Obamacare will raise insurance costs for consumers.
- Death panels are a part of Obamacare.
- Obama is a bigger spender than Bush.
- Obama is welfare obsessed.
- Obama is Muslim.
- Obama was not born in the United States.
- Obama is coming for your guns.