In a study released last Thursday researchers with the University of Maryland’s Program on International Policy Attitudes found that supporters of President Bush “suppress awareness of unsettling information” so they can continue to feel justified in their support for President Bush.
The study found that Bush supporters “continue to believe that Iraq either had weapons of mass destruction (47 percent) or a major program to develop them (25 percent)” despite the release of official findings to the contrary. In addition a whopping 75 percent still believe that “Saddam Hussein provided substantial support to al-Qaeda or was involved in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks” with 56 percent of them claiming that “the Sept. 11 Commission found such ties.”
Steven Kull, program director, said that Bush supporters’ “resistance to information” on several fronts reflected a powerful bond with the president formed after the Sept. 11 attacks, and the perception – shared by Kerry supporters – that Bush still asserts that Iraq had WMD.
In recent months, Bush has said he was “disappointed” that such weapons were not found, that the search continued and that it was important to “disarm” Hussein.
There may be another reason, Kull said. Asked whether U.S. forces should have invaded Iraq if U.S. intelligence had concluded that Iraq was not making WMD or providing support to al-Qaeda, 58 percent of Bush supporters said no.
“To support the president and to accept that he took the United States to war based on mistaken assumptions is difficult to bear, especially in light of the continuing costs in terms of lives and money,” Kull said.
“Apparently, to avoid this cognitive dissonance, Bush supporters suppress awareness of unsettling information.”
In other words, almost half of Bush supporters would rather lie to themselves than admit that President Bush is anything less than the messiah returned to save us all. They’re so enraptured with him that they can ignore anything that would suggest he’s anything less than the greatest President of all time and will swallow whatever bullshit he tosses their way as the gospel truth. Wait, it gets better:
The survey also found that Bush supporters have “numerous misperceptions” about the president’s positions. Majorities incorrectly believe that Bush backs the Kyoto global-warming treaty, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the International Criminal Court, and the treaty banning land mines.
A majority of Bush backers (57 percent) also believe most people in the world favor Bush’s re-election, contrary to the findings of several polls.
Kerry supporters have a more accurate perception of their candidate’s positions, and the gulf between Kerry and Bush supporters is large, the survey found.
Or, in other words, people who support Kerry aren’t immune to reality the way most Bush supporters are. This really shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it’s always disheartening to have my cynicisms about my fellow Americans confirmed.
Link found via Boing Boing.