Aladdin retrieves a magic lamp from the Cave of Wonders. (Photo: Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection)
Magic carpet-bombing: a whole new world of foreign policy.
Nearly one-third of Republican primary voters surveyed would support bombing the fictional kingdom of Agrabah featured in Disney’s “Aladdin,” according to a poll released Friday.
Public Policy Polling (PPP), a private polling firm based in North Carolina, posed 41 questions on a variety of topics — including candidates, civil liberties and antiterrorism strategies — to 532 Republican primary voters.
The 38th question concerned the home kingdom of Aladdin and Jasmine from the 1992 animated film: “Would you support or oppose bombing Agrabah?”
“We were interested to see how many people would support bombing an area that just sounded Middle Eastern,” Jim Williams, a polling analyst for PPP, said in an interview with Yahoo News. “I thought that would be interesting.”
While 30 percent of responders said they would support a bombing campaign, only 13 percent said they opposed it, and 57 percent said they were not sure.
There was immediate backlash on social media from users accusing PPP of bias. But the organization posed the Agrabah question to Democratic primary voters as well. They opposed the bombing 36 percent to 19 percent.
“We asked the question of all voters. We’re not just trying to expose Republicans. You can see the results for Republicans and Dems together,” Williams said.
PPP was founded in 2001 to measure and track public opinion for politicians, unions and businesses using automated telephone surveys. It has variously been described as Democratic-leaning and as one of the “most accurate” polling organizations.
The company has asked questions about fictional issues or situations in the past.
In 2012, for example, there was controversy in Washington over the Simpson-Bowles debt-reduction plan. Many reporters were covering the polarizing proposal and pollsters were asking citizens if they supported it.
“We started thinking, you know what? I bet people don’t know what Simpson-Bowles is. Regular people don’t walk around thinking about bill names and things like that,” Williams explained.
In their next survey, PPP included a question about the Simpson-Bowles debt-reduction plan back to back with a question about an imaginary Panetta-Burns debt-reduction plan.
“Sure enough, 29 percent of people said that they had an opinion on the fictional Panetta-Burns debt-reduction plan,” he said. “We’re trying to get at or expose how voters are really thinking instead of just asking straight support-oppose questions.”