Date: Mon Jul 04 1994 00:00:04
From: Sheppard Gordon
Subj: Believers prefer Perot
PEROT GETS UFO VOTE
THE SACRAMENTO BEE
This may explain a lot about American politics in the '90s, or
maybe not. But after a long, hard winter of political discontent and
a cool, contentious spring, it's time to have a little summer fun.
In that spirit, consider these results of a recent Washington
Post-ABC News poll that suggest political writers and pollsters may
be missing the Next Big Thing if they ignore the emerging Politics of
the Paranormal. You scoff? The proof isn't in the stars, my
friends, it's in the numbers. Consider these results:
People who say they've seen flying saucers remain among Ross
Perot's biggest fans, with about six out of 10 saucer-spotters saying
they have a favorable view of Perot.
* President Clinton is more popular with those who believe it's
possible to communicate with the dead than he is with the average
American. Other special Friends of Bill included those who believe
they have lived in a previous life.
* Republican Sen. Robert Dole of Kansas, on the other hand, needs
Dionne Warwick to talk him up on her Psychic Friends hot line. He's
far less popular with people who have communicated with the dead or
believe they've lived before than he is with the country as a whole,
though saucer-watchers were no more or less likely than other
Americans to like Dole.
Those otherworldy findings are based on a Washington Post-ABC News
poll of 1,523 randomly selected Americans conducted in mid-May. And
while the poll wasn't supposed to be about the politics of the
paranormal, that's the way it turned out.
The survey was, in the main, a typical Post-ABC effort. Heavy on
politics, including a question measuring whether people had a
favorable or unfavorable impression of Perot, Clinton and Dole, and
health care and international affairs. But at the suggestion of ABC,
the poll ended with some previously asked Post-ABC questions on
spiritualism, the supernatural and UFOs that ABC director of polling
Jeff Alderman thought might be useful for an ABC show on religion,
spiritualism and other otherworldly phenomenons. THE STANDARD
political questions produced expected results. Slightly fewer than
six out of 10 persons interviewed had a favorable impression of
Clinton, while about four in 10 were similarly favorably disposed
toward Perot and Dole.
The atypical questions also produced typical results. Overall,
the survey found that 10 percent of those interviewed said they've
seen an unidentified flying object. One out of five -- 21 percent --
believed that it was possible to communicate with the dead, while 12
percent said they felt they "have lived in a previous life and have
been reincarnated." All responses suggested no change in recent
years in the overall proportion of Americans who had seen UFOs,
communicated with the dead or believed they had been reincarnated.
Then the Post's chief political correspondent, Dan Balz, found a
truly fascinating fact: Thirty-nine percent of everyone interviewed
said they had a favorable impression of Perot. But among those who
said they had seen a "spacecraft from another planet," 59 percent
expressed warm feelings for Perot, a full 20-point difference. That
sparked an analytical gold rush (of sorts) to see what other
differences there were between those who believed in the paranormal
or had otherworldy experiences and those who didn't and haven't. In
most cases, there were few differences. For example, those who
believed that heaven and hell were real places or who said they had
near-death experiences were no more or less likely to have warm
feelings for Clinton, Perot or Dole than other Americans.
But on other questions, clear differences emerged. Clinton was
viewed favorably by 57 percent of those interviewed. But among those
who believed "it is possible to communicate with the dead," 65
percent had a favorable view of him. And 64 percent of those who
believe they've lived in a previous life said they liked Clinton.
Dole was viewed favorably by 46 percent of all of those surveyed.
But he fared relatively poorly with dead communicators (36 percent)
and people who have lived before (38 percent).
THE SURVEY found that 60 percent of all people who believed they had
been reincarnated described themselves as Democrats, compared to 49
percent of the country as a whole. Just 28 percent said they were
Republicans, who were 39 percent of the whole sample.
Likewise, 55 percent of all those interviewed who said it was
possible to communicate with the dead were Democrats, while 32
percent said they were Republicans. (While the results are more
muddied, the survey suggests that differences in education, age and
income explain at least part of why Democrats appear more
paranormally inclined than Republicans.)
It's best left to political strategists to figure out how to
appeal to those voters, but the numbers suggest there are votes to be
had for candidates who can tap into the politics of the paranormal.
Or maybe not.