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Tilting at Windmills

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May 16, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

LATEST POLL GOODIES....Man, this has got to hurt if you're a Republican: the public prefers the Democrats on every single issue in today's Washington Post poll. Even on terrorism, the GOP's longtime go-to issue, the public prefers the Democrats by 46%-41%. Other tidbits:

  • Democrats lead Republicans in the generic congressional poll by 12%. That's good, but it's worth keeping in mind that Dems led by about that much midway through 2004 too. Don't break out the champagne yet.

  • As usual, most Americans think Congress sucks but also think their own representatives are doing fine. Likewise, they think the country is headed in the wrong direction, but their own community is in great shape. (Much the same dynamic can be found in polls about education: American schools suck, but everyone thinks their own local school is just dandy.)

  • Sadly, American don't care much about privacy. Large majorities think the NSA's domestic monitoring program is just fine and don't mind if the NSA has access to their phone records. In a way, I'm not surprised, though. I've always been pretty appalled at how much personal information people are happy to give away for even the slightest bribe (a free download from iTunes!).

    On the bright side, a sizable majority also believes it was right for the press to disclose the program.

  • 31% of the respondents say that higher gasoline prices have caused them "serious hardship." Really? Even though I've written about this before, this still seems like a pretty high number.

  • There are plenty of other routine results as well: Bush's approval rating is in the toilet, the Iraq war is unpopular, we should bring the troops home, etc. etc.

Full results are here.

Kevin Drum 8:25 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (49)

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Comments

Dear Kevin: Detailed polls like this are useful because they show that the American people are of full of it as their leaders. I love the "I'm OK, you suck!" dichotomy that's been around forever. The gas price line is pretty funny, too.
There's never going to be change for the better in this country until somebody calls out the citizenry on their shortcomings. Don't hold your breath.

Posted by: JMG on May 16, 2006 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

Not to bad.

I wont start worrying quite yet.

Posted by: Fitz on May 16, 2006 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

As soon as there is another terrorist attack -- or better, thwarted attack by King George! -- the polls will bounce right back. And Chris Mathews will pass out with joy!

Posted by: Freedom Phukher on May 16, 2006 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

Gee, this coming election is sure going to be asking a lot of Diebold, isn't it?

Posted by: Alan on May 16, 2006 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

Alan -- sshhhhhhh! Let the LIEberals not see it coming!

Posted by: Freedom Phukher on May 16, 2006 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

What this poll strongly suggests is that there is a huge possibility of a massive democratic wave in November, but no guarantee. As Zogby might say "the last election was Kerry's to lose, and he lost it."

The one tough thing for a national poll of course is that it lumps in GOP and Democratic districts. What we don't know is what percentage of the GOP districts want to throw their representative out, vs. the % in democratic districts who want to throw their guy out. And that's huge.

We also don't know how much a difference the enthusiasm really makes. etc.

Posted by: Samuel Knight on May 16, 2006 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

People are sheep, by and large, and have no problem with the wide contradictions inherent to their irrationality.

Posted by: BB on May 16, 2006 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

Bush's approval rating is in the toilet

LIAR. Bush's approval ratings are in the 60's.

Link

""The American people like this president," Rove said. "His personal approval ratings are in the 60s""

Posted by: Al on May 16, 2006 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

Samuel,

Don't get your hopes up. Check our Rasmussen.com for the best polls on GWB and all Senate and Governor races. The only GOP Senator in serious trouble is Santorum. Burns is behind but not by much. The GOP has pulled ahead solidly in Ohio and Talent has a small lead in Missouri. Cantwells lead in Washington is shrinking and Menendez trails in NJ. The GOP figures to lose at most one seat but could easily gain a seat. If Santorum loses Casey won't be substantially different. He's pro-life and he strongly supported Alito.

In the house a redistricting in Geogia figures into a 2 seat gain for the GOP and the timing of the Delay and Cunningham departures saves both seats for the GOP. It will be extremely difficult for the Democrats to pick up 15 seats. One GOP seat listed as in play by the DNC is Curt Weldon in PA. That's nonsense. He's in his 10th term, very popular and well funded.

Posted by: rdw on May 16, 2006 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

As I remember, back in the days when crime (not terror) was the Republicans' go-to issue, much the same "I'm OK, you're awful" results obtained. That is, ask people about others' neighborhoods and crime was terrible. Ask about the crime in their own, and it wasn't so bad. There oughta be a name for this.

Posted by: David in NY on May 16, 2006 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

Glad I clicked Al's link to find this:

"Karl Rove's assertion [that folks like Bush] is simply untrue," Carville said in a statement.

"The president's public perception problem is not only about his dismal job performance, but also his striking lack of personal favorability," Greenberg added.

Updated polling data released by The Gallup Organization on Monday showed Bush with a 33 percent job approval rating and the Republican-controlled Congress with a job approval rating of 21 percent.

Posted by: David in NY on May 16, 2006 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

I would really like to know the NRA's stance on phone tapping everybody since they are so touchy over anybody knowing how many guns they have and what kinds they are through registration, they would be huge hippocrites to support this measure. I mean couldn't the government figure it out through their conversations then? Or is there a memo I don't know about saying don't talk about your guns on the phone?

Posted by: Jeremy on May 16, 2006 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

There oughta be a name for this.

The Other.

See also the origins of words such as 'host,' 'guest' & 'ghost.'

In classical times a hostile army besieging a walled city was referred to as a 'host' by the inhabitants of the city. They're the 'other' who is 'out there.'

Posted by: obscure on May 16, 2006 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see here, people don't like congressman but feel their own rep is alright, Don't care for the direction of the country but feel that their community is on track, and generally support the NSA program. In addition, gas prices are having an effect on their finances. Seems to me that the Democrats are the ones that should worry. Most people have a Republican congressman they like, will vote to keep things status quo in their communities and are probably not happy with the taxation on gas and restrictions on drilling imposed by the left. That champaign may stay on ice for quite awhile.

Leave it to Kevin though to completely mis-read it.

Posted by: Jay on May 16, 2006 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

Glad I clicked Al's link...

Swell of Al to link to the Montpelier Times-Argus, an excellent & liberal-leaning paper!

Posted by: obscure on May 16, 2006 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

Why are the American people so out of touch with the American people?

Posted by: craigie on May 16, 2006 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

What is not reported is the break down of the numbers by party. 62% of republicans support GW, 29% of independents and only 8% or democrats (no surprise). However that 62% is the base, that's represents a huge number of conservatives and is what got him elected so don't let the left continue to spin those poll numbers.

Posted by: Jay on May 16, 2006 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

There oughta be a name for this.

Newspeak.

Posted by: MNPundit on May 16, 2006 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

Large majorities think the NSA's domestic monitoring program is just fine and don't mind if the NSA has access to their phone records.

Looks like the same problem in this poll as the original WaPo poll from a few days ago -- the question is asked regarding wiretapping/monitoring to "investigate terrorism." As we know that not hundreds of millions of Americans are terrorists, we know that this is not about "investigat[ing] terrorism," and so the poll is in fact about something different from what's actually going on.

Posted by: Aaron S. Veenstra on May 16, 2006 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

62% of republicans support GW, 29% of independents and only 8% or democrats (no surprise). However that 62% is the base, that's represents a huge number of conservatives and is what got him elected so don't let the left continue to spin those poll numbers.

.62 * .33 = .20

Whoopdeedingdong.

Posted by: BB on May 16, 2006 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

Corruption and lies have a tendency to revert course.

Posted by: Mach Tuck on May 16, 2006 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know if it is correct that people prefer the Democrats. For many people the only option is a protest vote against the present crop of Republicans and gagging on what that will produce, but, hey, how often do great men like Pat Buchanan run.

My representative, the honorable Luis Gutierrez, is the worst politician in Washington, given his total support for immigration and the Hispanic race and his total lack of support for the United States.

Posted by: Myron on May 16, 2006 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

62% of republicans support GW, 29% of independents and only 8% or democrats (no surprise). However that 62% is the base, that's represents a huge number of conservatives and is what got him elected so don't let the left continue to spin those poll numbers.

.62 * .33 = .20

Whoopdeedingdong.
Posted by: BB on May 16, 2006 at 10:10 PM

What kind of fecked up math is this?

62% is the base? where did that NAME come from?
.62 times .33? WTF?
You reversed the math.
Try again. it would be 30% of a Society thats 85% "CHRISTIAN". even so that means 70% of the 85% dont buy into your "math" maybe you should go back to ignoring polls.

Posted by: BB's a fool on May 16, 2006 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know if it is correct that people prefer the Democrats. For many people the only option is a protest vote against the present crop of Republicans and gagging on what that will produce, but, hey, how often do great men like Pat Buchanan run.

Honest men do not run for congress or senate.
They are far too honest to.
Remember that.

Posted by: BB's a fool on May 16, 2006 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

What kind of fecked up math is this?

You're right. I should have multiplied it by 28%, not 33%.

http://www.umich.edu/~nes/nesguide/toptable/tab2a_1.htm

.62 * .28 = .17

Thanks for prodding me to get more accurate numbers.

Posted by: Mach Tuck Licks Himself on May 16, 2006 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

69% say the country is on the wrong track. Ouch!

Posted by: twc on May 16, 2006 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

Perecntage of the electorate
=================
Democrats = 33%
Independents = 39%
Republicans = 28%

Support of GW
=========
Democrats = 8%
Independents = 29%
Republicans = 62%

GW's total support %
=============
(.33*.08) + (.39*.29) + (.28*.62) = 31%

Posted by: BB on May 16, 2006 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

"...we should bring the troops home, etc. etc."

Of course Democrats will see this as support of the Murtha idea that the war in Iraq has been lost so the only thing left to do is withdraw as quickly as possible. I sure hope the Democrats campaign that way!

Yep, the core Democratic policies...

Defeat in Iraq (immediate withdrawl)

Open borders (amnesty and unlimited immigration)

And electoral fraud (motor voter, vote by mail, "walking around money")

Posted by: Brad on May 16, 2006 at 11:10 PM | PERMALINK

Dubya's increasing impotence enrages and frightens me. In fact, I just wet myself.

Posted by: Brad on May 16, 2006 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

Well, is this news?

Democrat positions always poll well. After all, they have two on every issue. Bush only has one (right or wrong).

Its when you have candidates, that the two on every issue creates the 'untrustworthy' image that leads to guys who poll well on issues, never being elected.

:)

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Posted by: McA on May 17, 2006 at 12:25 AM | PERMALINK

Hey moonbat, did you know that in the dictionary that imposture is right next to impotent? How fitting.

Impotent as you are, you still serve as a fine example of why the Democrats are doomed in 2006. While you losers are still fixated on Bush, those of us who haven't lost grip on reality know that Bush can't run again for president, Bush already won, that ship has sailed, game over, etc. The real contest is now for Congress and then for the presidency in 2008.

I'm not worried.

For as bad as things ever get for Republicans in the political arena, they always have their ace in the hole to fall back on -- the Democratic Party!

Posted by: Brad on May 17, 2006 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

If Santorum loses Casey won't be substantially different. He's pro-life and he strongly supported Alito.

Bull. Casey is far more of an economic progressive than Santorum will ever be, and I'm certain that with Casey as senator, workers and pensioners will get a far better break.

Posted by: Vincent on May 17, 2006 at 1:35 AM | PERMALINK

I wet myself again. Damnit.

Posted by: Brad on May 17, 2006 at 1:52 AM | PERMALINK

Shorter Brad (McA, Al, etc.): We don't care WE RULE.
Kinda like the former CCCP, no?

Posted by: slackdaemon on May 17, 2006 at 7:43 AM | PERMALINK

Gasoline was around 35 cents/gallon in 1965, if memory serves. With inflation that would make it around $2.80/gallon today. I paid $2.84 for gas yesterday. Gasoline prices have simply tracked inflation. Except for the 90s when there was a glut.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on May 17, 2006 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

However that 62% is the base, that's represents a huge number of conservatives and is what got him elected so don't let the left continue to spin those poll numbers.

Remember that the next time you hear people say that Bush is really a liberal and that conservatives don't support him: Conservatives are lying.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on May 17, 2006 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

Jeffrey, how have car ownership rates and the length (in distance) of the average driven commute changed since 1965?

Forsyth County, Georgia and Collin County, Texas weren't quite as big back then.

Posted by: Brittain33 on May 17, 2006 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

Dems can hold on to this preference - until they begin advancing the homosexual agenda.

Then republicans run home to papa.... and dems never learn...

the solid center is terrified of a brokeback future.

KEEP YOUR GAYS IN THE CLOSET FOR SIX MONTHS - or you blow the whole advantage over the gopers.

A Hillary candidacy will achieve the same results.

The center right LOATHS the clintons. They thought a bush presidency would save us from the corruption and body count of the clintistas.

If the dems push a clinton presidency you know the FIX IS IN -- her face will bring out the most vociferous bush hater on the right -- to vote GOP.

AGAIN -- dems don't get it.

THE 2 H's -- Hillary and homosexuality will bring out the vote on the right. Dems will lose if they flaunt these two flag ships of the left.
]
H PLUS H = H [hatred]

Posted by: tj on May 17, 2006 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

"Look, we're in a sour time. I readily admit it..." ~Rove


But, but, but, I thought everything was peachy, Al? Jay?

Posted by: Ace Franze on May 17, 2006 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

The Republicans will steal the 2006 elections, just like they stole the 2000, 2002 and 2004 elections. There will never again be a Democratic majority in either house of Congress nor will there ever again be a Democratic president.

The so-called "Republican Party" is no longer a genuine political party. It is a crime organization. It has pretty much perfected a system of stealing elections through disenfranchisement, fraud, intimidation, purging eligible Democratic voters from the rolls by falsely identifying them as "felons", manipulation of voting machines, corrupt Republicans in charge of running elections in key states (e.g. Blackwell and Harris), etc. Meanwhile the huge Republican-supporting corporations that own and run the mass media from which virtually all Americans get virtually all their so-called "news" will continue to cover up the Republicans' blatant theft of one election after another.

Polls don't matter. Votes don't matter. The
Republican crime organization has a firm grip on power and will never allow that power to be taken from it by elections.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on May 17, 2006 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

The ' Brinworld' aspect of all this intrigues me.
What if we did a ' Totalitarian information agency'?
What if we put all our data up on remailers and it was all encrypted?
Then what if a quorum, say 12 netizens in good reputation capital standing could 'unlock' all the information on anyone who was acting anti-social.
( like Shrub)
Information is power and that power can be used for good not bad ( Maxwell Smart Control agent 86)
Just my 2 e-cents.

Posted by: professor rat on May 17, 2006 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

Dem Francine Busby and Rep Brian Bilbray are contesting for the seat vacated by Randy "duke" cunningham. If Busby gets her usual 45%, you'll know the polls are worthless. If she wins, you'll know the polls show something.

Posted by: republicrat on May 17, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

And we thought only Democrats could field incompetence like this in recent memory.. Bush is like Carter and Gray Davis rolled into one.

Posted by: Andy on May 17, 2006 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Of course the poll numbers will get even better if Rove is indicted, as claimed by Truthout. They stand by their story even right now, yet we are waiting with baited breath. But, why would Fitz do that in such a secretive way? Wouldn't he announce it publicly like the Libby indictment? This gets curiouser and curioser. Was someone/s punked? If the story is false (within a reasonable time frame), there *must* be some fishy thing going on of great importance that we must get to the bottom of. Also, TO and Leopold have a lot of explaining and maybe apologizing to do.

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