Right-wing misinformation leads half of Republicans to believe ACORN stole 2012 election

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, December 4, 2012 16:45 EDT
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An ACORN supporter at an "Occupy" protest in Vancouver, B.C. Photo: Flickr user mutrock, creative commons licensed.
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Nearly endless gobs of misinformation spewed from partisan media outlets in recent years had resulted in an astonishing achievement: 49 percent of Republicans now say that the disbanded community organizing group ACORN stole the 2012 presidential election for President Barack Obama, according to a survey by Public Policy Polling (PPP) released Tuesday.

The finding is especially stunning considering that ACORN, which stands for The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, filed for bankruptcy and disbanded in 2010. The group was targeted by conservative media prankster James O’Keefe in a series of intentionally misleading videos that purported to show employees explaining how to force children into prostitution. Then-Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) sponsored a bill in 2009 to pull all government funding of the group, which passed and led to their collapse.

Following Obama’s successful campaign against Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in 2008, PPP found that a whopping 52 percent of Republicans said that the loss was ACORN’s doing — meaning 2012′s figures are only a marginal improvement.

The apoplectic response to Obama’s win over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney doesn’t stop with feeling robbed. PPP also found that 25 percent of Republicans said they no longer want to be American and would rather their state to secede from the U.S. than take orders from President Obama.

The disbelief is so thick one could almost taste it emanating from television sets across the country on Election Day. Despite all available evidence pointing to nearly insurmountable numbers for the president, most Republican pundits and pollsters swore right up until the race was called for Obama that it would be a Republican landslide.

Even the candidate and his wife were blown away by Obama’s decisive victory, according to reports. A Romney adviser told CBS following the election that the Republican candidate was “shellshocked” after the loss. Friends of Ann Romney also told The Washington Post that she was convinced it was her “destiny” to live in the White House, and hasn’t overcome fits of crying since Election Day.

Not even former Bush strategist Karl Rove, who’s long positioned himself as the party’s preeminent electoral guru, could escape the schadenfreude on Election Day, looking about ready to vomit on live TV as he frantically argued with Fox News’s own pollsters on whether Obama had actually won or not.

That level of buying-you-own-nonsense is perhaps best illustrated in the debate over so-called “birther” conspiracy theories about the president’s citizenship, which has never actually been in question. After years of Fox News and its occasional guests promoting the theories as a legitimate topic of discussion, a poll by MIT professor Adam Berinsky found more Republicans in September 2012 who believed that the president is not a citizen than during the months before the 2011 release of his long-form birth certificate. In all, Berinsky found that 73 percent of Republicans said they either don’t believe Obama is an American or they’re just not sure, up from 70 percent in April 2011.

Photo: Flickr user mutrock, creative commons licensed.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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