Do Republicans Really Believe ACORN Stole the Election?

If this poll from Public Policy Polling is any indication, a fair number of Republicans have convinced themselves Barack Obama won re-election with fraud and other nefarious efforts:

49% of GOP voters nationally say they think that ACORN stole the election for President Obama. We found that 52% of Republicans thought that ACORN stole the 2008 election for Obama, so this is a modest decline, but perhaps smaller than might have been expected given that ACORN doesn’t exist anymore.

Kevin Drum calls this evidence of the “Fox News effect”—the process by which conservative propaganda outlets convince their viewers of things that just aren’t true—but I think there’s a better, more charitable explanation. In short, a large number of Republicans don’t like President Obama, and when offered a chance to endorse something that signals that dislike, they did it, even if the “something” is absolutely insane.

I doubt that—if you pressed respondents on their answers—49 percent would say that the election was stolen. But if I’m wrong, we have a serious crisis of political legitimacy on our hands.

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