Amanda Marcotte’s ‘Aladdin’ Poll Question Embarrasses Democrats More than Republicans


Amanda Marcotte, a feminist writer for Salon, suggested a trick poll question about a non-existent cartoon city, just to embarrass Republicans.

A Democratic-leaning polling company embraced the idea, but the subsequent poll results should embarrass Democrats because far more Democrats than Republicans seemed to think the mythical cartoon city actually existed.

Fifty-five percent of Democrats believed the city exists, while only 43 percent of Republicans thought it was real. 

Unsurprisingly, few in the media wanted to notice the Democrats’ weaker grasp of Middle East Geography. 

The idea for the prank started with a suggestion from Salon’s Amanda Marcotte who, needless to say, was only interested in embarrassing one party:

A Marcotte fan sent the idea to PPPPolls, and the company quickly adopted it, using Agrabah, the name of the fictional city in Disney’s Aladdin, to ask GOP voters if they would support bombing it or not. PPP trumpeted the result of the poll on Twitter Friday morning:

Having gotten Twitter fixated on the GOP response, PPP finally got around to mentioning that they had asked the same question of Democratic voters:

At first glance, it may look as if the Democratic response is better, since fewer Dems wanted to bomb Agrabah. But answering “No” to the question also seems premised on the idea Agrabah is a real city. Is that really better or is it the same kind of knee-jerk response to a question that, in truth, makes no sense?

The only really good response here is “Not Sure,” since it suggests the respondent knew, or at least had a sense, something was wrong with the question. Overall, 57% of GOP primary voters said they were not sure in response to the question, while only 45% of Democratic primary voters were not sure.

Were Democrats eager to spare Genie and Jasmine from a US bombing campaign? That’s as fair a take on these poll results as the one BuzzFeed and pretty much everyone else in the media ran with. But of course, embarrassing Democrats was never the intent of this question.