It won’t surprise readers of my newsletter, but there have been several studies recently proving that conservatives have a firmer grasp of facts about current events than liberals do, despite the left’s mockery of “Faux News” and claims that conservative beliefs are “misinformation.” Then again, when you claim to be the “Party of Science” and have to add “except biology,” you’re already on shaky ground.
To dig into the latest evidence:
A new poll by the Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports found that 53-54% of CNN and MSNBC viewers believe that climate change could doom mankind to extinction within 100 years.
Only 25% of Fox News viewers believe that. In fact, no credible scientific group has ever predicted mass extinction of humans due to climate change. The UN’s IPCC panel predicts that a hypothetical temperature increase of between 2.5 and 4 degrees C. by 2100 could reduce GDP by 2-5%, but since the global economy is expected to be 300-500% larger by then, humans will probably survive it.
CNN and MSNBC viewers are also more likely to overestimate the amount of warming that’s occurred since the late 1800s, but to be fair, they are exposed to an awful lot of hot gas.
Likewise, a new Franklin Templeton/Gallup survey found that Democrats are far more likely to overestimate the health risks of COVID-19. Forty-one percent of Democrats and only 28% of Republicans believe that more than half of coronavirus patients require hospitalization. Only 10% of Democrats chose the correct answer: 1-5% of patients.
The National Bureau of Economic Research blamed this on the relentlessly negative tone of US media reporting on the virus. Even with positive news all around, 91% of coronavirus coverage is negative. This also results in viewers overestimating the risk of the virus to children and believing we need to continue to keep businesses and schools shut down.
Finally, a national survey by Skeptic Magazine found that liberals are prone to wildly overestimating police shootings of black suspects.
The average liberal thought a majority of suspects killed by police in 2019 were black (only about a quarter were.) When asked to pick the number of unarmed black men killed by police in a typical year, the most common answers among self-identified liberal and very liberal voters were “about 100” and “about 1,000.” Nearly 15% of very liberal voters thought it was “about 10,000”! More than 45% of conservative and very conservative respondents picked the correct number: “about 10.”
I suspect this clinging to adamant belief in incorrect data is because, to the left, the “narrative,” or what they choose to believe, is paramount and must always be preserved, even if it obviously contradicts experience, statistics, history and evidence. As a conservative, I don’t see the point in believing in things that are verifiably false because that’s how you lose wars, money and your Constitutional rights.
It’s why conservatives can look at the unbroken record of misery wrought by socialism and wonder how anyone can possibly believe that it would ever work, while liberals can turn a blind eye and insist that it just hasn’t been tried by the right people yet. They probably also believe that the Hindenburg wouldn’t have blown up if only they’d been the zeppelin pilots.