'Ideologically Deluded'? Voters Across Political Spectrum Are Driven by 'Confirmation Bias'

(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

I could begin with 300 words on disclaimers, caveats, and arguments both in support and rejection of surveys as a whole; I will not. Rather, I will report on a new survey and the results it found, with “color commentary” thrown in along the way. Agree or disagree in the comment section, or argue among yourselves, but please don’t break the furniture.

During the late 1800s, as reported by Just the News, renowned scientist Louis Pasteur, while attempting to overturn the medical community’s long-held and deadly belief that germs are not communicable, wrote:

“The greatest aberration of the mind is to believe a thing to be, because we desire it.”

The results of a scientific survey, commissioned by Just the Facts — not exactly a left-wing rag —and conducted just after the 2020 presidential election show, that voters from across the political spectrum, failed — spectacularly so — to heed Pasteur’s warning.

First, a bit of background, via Just the Facts.

The survey, commissioned by Just Facts, reveals that the vast bulk of voters have embraced false and harmful dogmas that accord with their political views.

This is a typical consequence of confirmation bias, the human tendency to reflexively accept anything that accords with one’s preexisting beliefs and ignore or twist everything that defies them.

While most polls measure public opinion, this annual scientific survey measures voters’ perceptions of issues that can have major impacts on their lives.

This year’s survey used an entirely new set of questions that addressed the topics of Covid-19, income, poverty, racial disparities, global warming, drug overdoses, life expectancy, pollution, and the national debt.

Here are a couple of examples:

76% of Trump voters think that the average income of middle-income households fell during the Obama administration. In reality, their inflation-adjusted average income rose by $5,300 during this period.

88% of Biden voters think that police are more likely to use lethal force when arresting black people than white people. In reality, police are 42% less likely to use lethal force when arresting blacks than whites.

The Just the Facts survey also found that a considerable percentage of Trump voters have adopted several left-wing lies spread by the liberal media.

For instance, 38% of Trump voters (and 86% of Biden voters) believe that the number of strong-to-violent tornadoes in the U.S. has generally increased since the 1950s. In reality, they have slightly decreased.

The survey, comprised of 21 questions posed to U.S. residents who regularly vote, was conducted by Triton Polling & Research, an academic research firm that applied scientific survey methods to optimize accuracy. Here’s more background, via Just the Facts:

For each question, voters were offered a selection of two or more answers, one of which was true. Voters also had the opportunity to say they were unsure.

On average, voters gave the correct answer 38% of the time, gave an incorrect answer 51% of the time, and said they were unsure 10% of the time.

A majority of voters gave the correct answer to only 4 of the 21 questions.

And Results by Ideology of Falsehood?

Among questions in which the wrong answers accorded with partisan agendas, an average of 57% of answers were liberally misinformed, while 28% were conservatively misinformed. In other words, liberal voters were twice as likely to believe certain progressive myths than conservative ones.

For all 10 of the questions in which the electorate was most deluded, the wrong answers they gave concurred with progressive narratives propagated by the media. Moreover, the false answers they gave were often far removed from reality, not just slightly mistaken.

For example, 66% of liberal voters thought that doubling the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour would raise the average income of families in poverty by 25% or more. The real figure is about 1%.

Here are four questions that drew the most ideologically deluded responses.

Do you think middle-income people in the U.S. have a higher or lower average standard of living than middle-income people in other wealthy nations like Britain, Canada, and Sweden? 

Correct AnswerHigher. Correct answer given by 45% of all voters, 27% of Biden voters, and 67% of Trump voters.

According to the latest complete data (2010), middle-income people in the U.S. have a higher standard of living than every other nation in the world. This is measured by their consumption of goods and services, the “preferred welfare indicator” of the World Bank.

Importantly, this measure accounts for all private, government, and nonprofit goods and services. Also, it is adjusted for purchasing power to measure tangible realities like square feet of living area, healthcare services, smartphones, etc. Thus, an apple in one nation is counted the same as an apple in another.

Contrary to a popular New York Times video that called the USA the world’s “poorest” developed nation, even the poorest 20% of U.S. residents consume more goods and services than the national averages for all people in most affluent nations.

And the $15 minimum wage debate?

If the federal government doubled the minimum wage, how much do you think this would increase the average income of families below the poverty line? About 1%, about 25%, or about 50%? 

Correct Answer: About 1% Correct answer given by 21% of all voters, 8% of Biden voters, and 37% of Trump voters.

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that doubling the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15.00 an hour would raise the average income of families below the poverty line by $589 per year. This is roughly 1% of their total income.

Some of the primary reasons why the increase is so low are as follows:

The vast bulk of people in poverty work very little or not at all. In 2018, only 27% of adults in poverty were in the labor force for at least half of the year. This includes part-time workers and those who were simply looking for work.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that doubling the minimum wage would destroy about 1.4 million jobs, and many of these would be lost by poor people. This is because “when the cost of employing low-wage workers goes up,” some employers will replace them with machinery, technology, and higher-wage workers.

The total income of households in poverty is several times greater than commonly reported. The poverty/income statistics widely used by governments and media outlets exclude many goods and services that poor people receive from governments and charities, like free health insurance, Food Stamps, housing, utilities, preschool, college, and cell phones.

And so-called “equal pay”?

On average, do you think that men and women in the U.S. earn equal pay for equal work?

Correct Answer: Yes. Correct answer given by 27% of all voters, 5% of Biden voters, and 53% of Trump voters.

On average, full-time, year-round female workers earn about 23% less cash wages than males, but when the following six factors relating to equal work and pay are taken into account, the gap evaporates:

Full-time male workers average 8% more workdays per year and 8% more workhours per workday than full-time female workers.

Men are more likely to pursue technically demanding and higher-paying careers, such as computer science, finance, and engineering.

Women are more apt to take jobs that offer higher fringe benefits in exchange for less cash wages.

Women are more likely to temporarily leave their careers to raise a family, resulting in less work experience and continuity.

Women are more apt to choose jobs with shorter commutes over those with higher pay.

More than 28% of U.S. workers are in physically challenging occupations (like construction), and most men have considerably more muscular strength than most women.

The liberal lapdog media intentionally ignores these facts and misportrays the above-mentioned “gender earnings gap as “unequal pay” for “equal work” — hence “gender bias” and “gender inequality.” And guess what? That is exactly why they do so — the exact same twisted “logic” behind the whole “systemic racism,” “white supremacy” bullshi— nonsense.

Don’t forget; if the Democrat Party were not the Party of Division it would cease to exist as a major political party — and the Democrats know it. 

So what about “racial injustice” and “racist white cops”?

In your view, are police more likely to use lethal force when arresting black people than white people?

Correct Answer: Less. Correct answer given by 39% of all voters, 7% of Biden voters, and 77% of Trump voters.

Consistent with a 2018 study published in an academic journal, a 2016 study of arrest data by the left-leaning Center for Policing Equity found that police are 42% less likely to use lethal force when arresting black people than when arresting whites.

However, the authors of the study buried this data on the 20th page of their report and did not mention it in their summary or conclusion. The Washington Post then cited the study as proof of police brutality towards blacks.

Contrary to media storylines that exploit anecdotes, half-truths, and outright falsehoods, black and white people are typically arrested, prosecuted, and sentenced at rates that accord with the frequency and severity of their criminality.

A notable exception to this is murder because blacks are much more likely to get away with this crime than whites. This harms black communities because the killers remain free to commit more carnage.

What portion of all murder victims in the U.S. do you think are comprised of the 13% of the population that is black? About 10%, about 25%, or about 50%?

Correct Answer: About 50%. Correct answer given by 34% of all voters, 28% of Biden voters, and 42% of Trump voters.

Roughly 53% of all murder victims in the U.S. are black, even though black people comprise about 13% of the U.S. population.

Contrary to the media’s focus on interracial violence, roughly 11% of all murders in the U.S. are interracial. The other 89% involve people of the same races slaying one another.

Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Maxine Waters, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, the entire Democrat Party, and CNN and MSNBC were unavailable for comment on that last fact.

You can check out the remainder of the 21 survey questions and responses, here.

Lest anyone is of the belief that the survey results are solely an indictment of the left, let’s be honest, shall we?

Donald Trump, during the 2016 campaign, provided a perfect example to the contrary. One week he would skewer a poll — many of which were conducted by reputable polling organizations — the results of which, of course, he didn’t like.

Two weeks later he’d turn around and laud the same polling company for its latest poll, the result of which he did like. A fact. I wrote about it with examples on several occasions. That is confirmation bias in action whether some of us choose to admit it or not.

On the other hand, we had Hillary Clinton in 2016 — who continues to blame everyone and everything but herself for her loss, including the Electoral College, parroting her “I won by 3 million votes” mantra ad nauseam, and citing the popular vote as “fact” that the Electoral College is archaic and therefore must be abolished.

But what if the results had been reversed?

What if Trump had won by 3 million votes with Hillary winning the Electoral College? Would Hillary and the Democrats have still thrown histrionic fits about the EC? Of course, not. Moreover? Conservatives would not have demanded we “cancel” the Electoral College.

Donald and Hillary in 2016 are merely two examples of a phenomenon of which the vast majority of politicians and their respective followers — along with the rest of us — are guilty as charged. Without a passing thought to the contrary.