Friday, October 29, 2010

A sobering look at the public mind

The success of politicians like Rob Ford is bewildering to a lot of people, who tend to expect that a guy who is so obviously a xenophobic, narrow-minded jerk will be repellent to most people. One response seen in a focus group that Smitherman's team put together is revealing:
During one Marzolini focus group, a middle-aged woman explained that she would overlook personality failings in a mayor – as long as he didn’t waste her taxes.

“It was the most powerful thing I’d ever seen,” recalls campaign manager Bruce Davis. “People knew [Mr. Ford] had these character flaws. They knew all that …”

And, by all appearances, they didn’t care.

From the Globe. For lefties like me, this is disturbing; it paints a picture of narrow-minded suburbanites who don't care how bad a politician is to other people, as long as he or she is good to them. Perhaps this also explains some poll results discussed in another Globe story:
A new EKOS Research survey, released Thursday morning, shows voters “are underwhelmed with Canada’s actions on the world stage.” Asked whether they disapproved or approved of the Harper government’s foreign policies, 37 per cent said they disapproved compared to 21 per cent who approve and 35 per cent who don’t care either way.

“The data seems to suggest that the Tories don't have huge problems on foreign policy,” Mr. Graves told The Globe. “Wins like Haiti and losses like UN net out as mild negative.”
And by "mild negative" what they really mean is "it's not going to make the slightest bit of difference how most people vote". After all, Harper's supporters, like Ford's, care more about how much they pay in taxes than whether the government is bombing children and embarrassing us on the world stage.

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