In another poll that Democrats will do their best to ignore, the majority in favor of closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility for terrorist detainees has melted away.
The significance of the poll isn’t that the majority now favors leaving the facility open – although that certainly has some significance. Instead, it is found in who has changed their mind about GITMO. Hint: It isn’t Republicans or Democrats:
Attitudes about the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba have changed dramatically since President Barack Obama took office, according to a new national poll.
Support for closing the facility has dropped 12 points over the past 14 months, a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey indicates.
Shortly before Obama’s inauguration, 51 percent of Americans said they thought the facility in Cuba should be closed. Now that number is down to 39 percent, and six in ten believe the United States should continue to operate Guantanamo.
The poll, released Sunday, suggests independent voters are contributing to the 12 point overall drop.
The big change? Among independents. 75% of independents now want the facility kept open. Previously it was about a 50-50 split. That’s a dramatic shift.
CNN, who commissioned the poll, doesn’t advance a reason for the change, but I’d venture to say that many independents have reconsidered their stance when they realized that the claim that GITMO was a recruiting tool for al Qaeda was so much over-blown campaign rhetoric. That regardless of where the prison is, the fact that we were detaining terrorists is the recruiting tool, not the prison facility itself. And, with the talk of moving these dangerous inmates to facilities inside the US – bringing a possible threat of terrorism to US communities – they realized the security benefit of keeping the facility off shore.
Not that any of those excellent reasons for leaving Guantanamo open will penetrate the close-minded thinking of those in the administration or anything. But it is another example of an issue in which independents are deserting the Democrats.
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As I mentioned on the podcast last night, I’ve quit looking at how Democrats or Republicans react to a particular poll. Their reactions are all too predictable. If the Dems are for something by 86%, the Reps will be against it by 90%. Nothing to learn there. Nope, I pretty much zero in on how the independents feel about a particular issue to try to figure out who has the most support. And as I’ve mentioned, more and more the independents seem to be siding with the GOP. That’s not good news for the Dems, no matter what Chuck Schumer thinks.
That brings us to another key to electoral success. Key demographics. We heard so much made of the “young vote” in 2008. They were a key because they actually turned out for once and voted mostly Democratic. One of the most coveted demographics, however, is that of the elderly – over 65. That’s because they always vote.
So, with that given, let’s take this poll if FL as an example of what’s happening out there. Yes, it’s a temperature check of the citizens of that state at this time. We all recognize it can change. With that disclaimer out of the way, the usefulness of this poll is found in the information about how independents view recent events. It also contains info on the key elderly demographic. For objective observers there are no real surprises.
Florida voters dislike the new healthcare law so much that President Barack Obama and the state’s top Democrat, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, are paying a hefty political price, according to a new survey and analysis by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research.
Only 34 percent of Florida voters support the new law while 54 percent are against it, according to the poll. Opposition is significantly strong among two crucial blocs: those older than 65 and voters with no party affiliation. Seniors disfavor the bill by a 65-25 percent margin, while independents oppose the law 62-34.
The poll, conducted last week, is the first to be taken in Florida since Obama signed the healthcare reform bill into law.
If you’re wondering why the president continues to try to sell this thing and why Nancy Pelosi has told Democrats headed out on Easter recess to do the same, this Florida poll gives you a nice indicator. Independents as a whole oppose the bill almost 2 to 1 and elderly independents show the same level of opposition. It certainly doesn’t appear that the president’s umpteen speeches or the assurances of Congress that this bill is wonderful have met with much success. Apparently only the Dems bought into the Bill Clinton assurance that everyone would love them once they passed that law.
Why they think that’s going to change if they just push a little harder, especially with the corporate write-downs in the news, is beyond me (and why is Henry Waxman keeping those write-downs in the news with hearings?).
A couple of other results from the poll to mull:
It shows that Floridians have a more negative than positive view of Obama by a margin of 15 percentage points. And they oppose his so-called “cap-and-trade” global warming legislation as well as the new healthcare law.
Why are FL voters opposed to cap-and-trade?
Only 35 percent believe global warming is proved, while 57 percent say it isn’t an established fact. By a 34-50 percent spread, voters oppose the cap-and-trade legislation. And five times as many voters believe it will raise the cost of fuel.
And I have to say I believe the majority to be correct on all counts.
This has had an effect on the numbers for Democratic Senator Bill Nelson as well. His approval rating has dropped a significant 18 points. His only saving grace is he has until 2012 before he must again run. The bad news may be he’ll be on the same ballot as Obama. As for his sudden unpopularity, this was the reaction of his spokesperson:
“If there’s a dip in the polls, it’s due to this inaccurate and unfair bashing for sticking up for these seniors,” McLaughlin said.
Of course it is – and they’re too dumb to know it, aren’t they Mr. McLaughlin? It is that persistent little thread that I see throughout the Democratic reaction (the dumb rubes are being hornswoggled by the slick Republican pitchmen) to bad poll numbers that indicates they’re still deceiving themselves. The old “it’s not the message, it’s the delivery” fantasy that Dems continue to believe.
In the meantime, the polls continue to tell the same tale, over and over and over again.
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I’m sure everyone remembers the left’s constant trumpeting of negative presidential popularity polls during the Bush administration. Understandably, now that the shoe is on the other foot, they’re not quite so keen on those polls anymore. However there is an interesting point to be drawn from them. Take this week’s Rasmussen poll on job approval numbers:
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows that 25% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-three percent (43%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -18
Now the overall poll, including the “slightly approve” and “slightly disapprove” categories, show overall approval at 45% and disapproval at 54%. That’s obviously bad news for the President. However the most significant numbers are found in the strongly approve v disapprove categories, because those are people – voters – who’ve pretty much made up their minds about the guy. Essentially those Obama has left “strongly approving” of his job performance is his base. And his base isn’t enough to get him anywhere near an election win. Meanwhile, a motivated 43% (by motivated, I mean they’ll most likely vote because the do “strongly disapprove”) don’t like this guy’s job performance at all.
That’s not necessarily good news for Republicans as with the rise of the Tea Party, they don’t have an automatic in as in past years.
In a three-way generic ballot test, it’s Democrats 34%, Republicans 27%, and the Tea Party at 21%. However, most Tea Party supporters would vote for the Republican if the GOP candidate was the only one with a chance to win.
Message to GOP? You’d better figure out the “Tea Party” issues quickly, co-opt them (i.e. adopt them) and deliver on them or be prepared to see a TP candidate in 2 years again (the reason it is so hard for a 3rd party to establish itself in the US is the 2 major parties have a tendency to co-opt their ideas depending upon which side of the political spectrum the 3rd party falls.). That shouldn’t be a particularly difficult job. However, the TP will provide an option for disaffected voters whether they choose to exercise it or not (it’s easy to claim you’ll vote TP if the GOP candidate isn’t what you want, until you realize the Dem is even worse). Hopefully that threat will be enough to scare Republicans back to their principles and keep them there.
Anyway, back to Obama’s poll numbers – they indicate a real problem for his re-election. I’ve found that in polls like that, the strongly approve or disapprove numbers best reflect the real job approval feeling within the country. A +18 would be formidable. But a -18 says “vulnerable”.
Lots of time between now and Nov. 2012, but Obama isn’t doing himself any favors with the path he’s stubbornly taken. My guess is that disapproval number will actually get worse before the next presidential election. Will it ever reach “Bush country”. I think it is possible. And if it does, you may see a Ted Kennedy like insurgency that finds Obama with a Democratic challenger. That would be fun.
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That’s pretty much the opposite of the promise made by candidate Obama and the administration’s spin since he’s become president, isn’t it?
A majority of Americans say the United States is less respected in the world than it was two years ago and think President Obama and other Democrats fall short of Republicans on the issue of national security, a new poll finds.
The Democracy Corps-Third Way survey released Monday finds that by a 10-point margin — 51 percent to 41 percent — Americans think the standing of the U.S. dropped during the first 13 months of Mr. Obama’s presidency.
“This is surprising, given the global acclaim and Nobel peace prize that flowed to the new president after he took office,” said pollsters for the liberal-leaning organizations.
It’s really only surprising if you haven’t been paying attention. Most people outside the beltway and not blinded by their ideology recognized the award of the Nobel peace prize was a travesty and more of a political statement than something earned by Mr. Obama. And most Americans were put off by Mr. Obama’s “world apology” tour, as it was called by some, where he spent most of his time in other countries apologizing for America’s past. Lastly, it has been fairly obvious to most observers that our foreign policy is in shambles and even our allies find little reason to agree with or go along with whatever foreign policy goals we set – such as increased sanctions for Iran.
So while it is surprising to a “liberal leaning” polling organization, it isn’t at all surprising to other observers. Which brings us to the next “surprise” for the pollster I assume:
On the national security front, a massive gap has emerged, with 50 percent of likely voters saying Republicans would likely do a better job than Democrats, a 14-point swing since May. Thirty-three percent favored Democrats.
“The erosion since May is especially strong among women, and among independents, who now favor Republicans on this question by a 56 to 20 percent margin,” the pollsters said in their findings.
50 to 33 is well outside any sampling error and can’t be written off as such (it was 43 R’s and 41 D’s in May). And the amazing difference among women and independents is a true indicator the national security worm has turned. And that bodes ill politically for the Democrats. If you need even more evidence:
• “Keeping America safe”: Democrats now trail by 13 points (34 percent to 47 percent.) The gap was just 5 points in July 2008.
• “Ensuring a strong military”: Democrats trail by 31 points (27 percent to 58 percent.)
• “Making America safer from nuclear threats”: Democrats trail by 11 points (34 percent to 45 percent,) “despite the president’s strong actions and speeches on steps to reduce nuclear dangers,” the pollsters said.
Democracy Corps is the creation of James Carville and Stanley Greenberg and Third Way describes itself as a “moderate think tank of the progressive movement” (moderate progressive – sounds like an oxymoron to me). Given that information this spin about the brouhaha that has erupted concerning civilian trials for terrorists is terrific:
“Whereas a majority of the public approves of the job President Obama is doing in most aspects of national security, a 51 to 44 percent majority of likely voters disapproves of his efforts on the prosecution and interrogation of terrorism suspects,” the pollsters found.
That and the response to the Christmas day bomber have been two key reasons the polls have shifted. And both have to do with decisions made by Obama’s administration or Obama himself. And, unless I’m mistaken, a 50 to 33 difference does not say “a majority of the public approves of the job President Obama is doing in most aspects of national security”, does it?
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A couple of interesting polls to note today. The first concerns labor union popularity. They aren’t. Popular that is. Or at least not at all as popular as they once were. Pew reports:
Favorable views of labor unions have plummeted since 2007, amid growing public skepticism about unions’ purpose and power. Currently, 41% say they have a favorable opinion of labor unions while about as many (42%) express an unfavorable opinion. In January 2007, a clear majority (58%) had a favorable view of unions while just 31% had an unfavorable impression.
Those are the worst favorables for labor unions since 1985 (and lower than even that year). A majority of Democrats still have a favorable view of unions (56%) while Republicans (29%) and the all important independents (38%) don’t. My guess is the dramatic and highly visible political role played by unions in the 2008 presidential election (especially the SEIU which is also linked with the ever popular ACORN) as well as their role in trying to pack town halls to freeze out protesters this last summer have contributed to the unfavorable view labor unions now enjoy. And, of course, government handing over majority ownership to unions in the GM and Chrysler bailouts also had a hand in driving their favorables down as that was seen as a pretty blatant political payoff. This poll is another indication that Americans are indeed watching what has been going on, are aware of what has happened and don’t like it at all.
Speaking of government, or at least one branch of it, Rasmussen has its poll on Congressional approval out. Unsurprisingly Congress has achieved new record lows.
Voter unhappiness with Congress has reached the highest level ever recorded by Rasmussen Reports as 71% now say the legislature is doing a poor job.
That’s up ten points from the previous high of 61% reached a month ago.
10 points? In a month? That’s not a decline. That’s freefall. And it couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch. But the message is found in some of the responses within the poll. For instance:
Nearly half of Democratic voters (48%) now give Congress a poor rating, up 17 points since January.
That 48% is probably upset that the Democratic Congress hasn’t delivered on it’s promised agenda. While that certainly adds to the overall unfavorable rating, it’s one that could flip in an instant should that agenda be muscled through (something that seems less and less likely now).
Seventy percent (70%) of voters say Congress has not passed any legislation that would significantly improve life for Americans, up 10 points over the past month and the highest level of dissatisfaction measured in regular tracking in over three years.
Again, part of that is probably that 48% Democrats not happy that the agenda is stalled. And that could include a portion of liberal leaning indies as well. But:
Forty percent (40%) of voters nationwide now say it is at least somewhat likely Congress will seriously address the most important issues facing the nation. That’s down from 59% last March. Only 9% say it is Very Likely Congress will address these issues.
Any guess what the “most important issues facing the nation” are?
Well it’s not health care:
As Congress continues to hash out the health care reform plan proposed by the president and Congressional Democrats, just 41% of voters favor the plan while 56% are opposed. Sixty-three percent (63%) of all voters say a better strategy to reform the health care system would be to pass smaller bills that address problems individually.
In fact, as Joe Biden has said, “it’s three letters. J.O.B.S.”. It is the economy and jobs. What is becoming increasingly clear is the administration and Congress have no idea how to get that done – well, except creating government jobs.
But before Congressional Democrats get all giddy thinking they can turn these numbers by pushing their agenda through come hell or high water, they need to again try to understand the present mood of the electorate – the mood they – the presently serving members of Congress on both sides – have helped create:
Other recent polling also reflects voter disappointment in Congress. Earlier this month, 63% of voters said it would be better for the country if most incumbents in Congress were defeated this November. Just 27% of voters say their representative in Congress is the best possible person for the job.
Three out of four voters (75%) report being at least somewhat angry at the policies of the federal government. Part of the frustration is likely due to the belief of 60% of voters that neither Republican political leaders nor Democratic political leaders have a good understanding of what is needed today.
Still, voters believe Democrats are more likely than Republicans to have a plan for the future.
Regardless of which political side voters are on, just 21% believe that the federal government enjoys the consent of the governed.
Read all of that carefully – that’s the rest of the Tea Party iceberg uncovered for you. As I’ve been saying for a year, the economic and financial meltdown and the government’s reaction was more than enough to jar the population from it’s complacency. Politicians still haven’t figured that out even though protesters and polls have been loudly announcing it for months. Congress and government in general is considered to out-of-touch and out of control. The dissatisfaction is focused on the Democrats at the moment because they represent the government establishment now, but it is clearly a dissatisfaction that crosses party lines. And I’m not sure the GOP has figured it out anymore than have the Democrats.
And while the GOP leads in the generic poll, the perception of Congress and the politicians therein is not a pretty one:
Just 9% of voters believe most members of Congress are genuinely interested in helping people, which ties the recent low in December. Eighty-one percent (81%) say most members of Congress are more interested in their own careers, a new multi-year high.
The plurality of voters (42%) continues to believe most members of Congress are corrupt, a result that has remained fairly consistent over the past several months. One in three U.S. voters (32%) does not see most congressmen as corrupt. Another 26% are undecided.
It’s why I continue to think that the first Tuesday night in November will be “must see TV”. Will this dissatisfaction manifest itself in the voting booth? And if it does, what will be the outcome for the next Congress?
More importantly what if it doesn’t? Is there enough anger and discontent out there to drive people to the voting booth? And if it doesn’t, won’t we then get precisely what we deserve? And finally, if we get what we deserve, won’t politicians rightly surmise they can ignore the public for the most part since there’s really no penalty for doing so?
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That isn’t particularly surprising since we recently cited a Gallup poll saying the number was 75%. Suffice it to say the vast majority of the country doesn’t like how the federal government is doing its job.
What’s even more fascinating though is how CNN chooses to report that:
But the ABC News/Washington Post survey, released Thursday morning, suggests a partisan divide, with 8 out of ten conservative Republicans viewing how the federal government works in a negative way, but nearly 6 out of ten liberal Democrats saying they were enthusiastic or satisfied.
The 67 percent dissatisfaction level is the highest in ABC News/Washington post polling since it peaked at 70 percent in March 1996, in the months after the a federal government shutdown led by Republicans.
So which political party gets blamed for this dissatisfaction? A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll indicated that nearly half the public said they were angry at both political parties, with 11 percent angry only at the Republicans and 9 percent angry only at the Democrats.
So assuming, given the first paragraph, that “conservative Republicans” and “liberal Democrats” cancel each other out, what is the source of all this dissatisfaction? Well never mentioned are the independents. Obviously this number is being driven primarily by the dissatisfaction of independents who, as any political neophyte knows, are the key to elections.
And I’m sure there are a number of politicians out there who will misinterpret the part which says only “11 percent angry only at the Republicans and 9 percent angry only at the Democrats.” That’s not good news for either party – they don’t like any of you. See again “Tea Party”. Understand they are only the tip of the iceberg the good ship USS Congress is blithely approaching at full speed.
For the CNN poll, these are the highest dissatisfaction numbers since 1996 when they peaked at 70%.
This is another in a long line of polls which seems to be pointing to a very interesting midterm election season. It’s not going to be exclusively a “throw the Democrats out”. I think we’re going to see more of a “throw the incumbents” out. And I think the driving issue for most of the public – you know the teabagging, unwashed, clueless electorate – is fiscal sanity. They just aren’t seeing it, and they want it and they want it now.
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A bunch of interesting polls have emerged today. One finds Obama at his lowest job performance rating yet. Of course, as you might expect, Republicans mostly disapprove of his job performance. Democrats, on the other hand, generally approve. But what gets his job approval rating to 44% approval, 47% disapproval in this Marist poll are the independents. They’re very dissatisfied with his performance – only 29% approve while almost twice that number, 57% disapprove.
Remember it was the independents who put Obama over the top in 2008. Also remember it was they who put Scott Brown over the top in MA and were key in the elections in VA and NJ.
As for Obama’s personal popularity, that too has suffered.
And while GOPers strive to avoid attacking Obama personally, for fear of offending voters who see him in a favorable light personally, even that aura of invincibility is wearing off. Independent voters view Obama negatively, too, by a 39% favorable to 52% unfavorable margin. All registered voters still see Obama favorably by a 50%-44% margin, but that’s down 5 points in just 2 months.
However, there’s more to this than just Obama’s job approval and personal ratings. Also found in this poll is a strong trend toward anti-incumbency:
Meanwhile, members of Congress should brace for a difficult election year. 42% of registered voters said they would back their current member of Congress, while 44% said they would support someone else — a drop of 9 points in support of the incumbent in just 2 months.
Rassmussen has a poll out that begins to flesh out why that trend is building. Three-quarters of the public, according to his latest polling data, express some level of anger at the policies of the federal government. That’s up 4 points from November. It is also why I call the Tea Parties the “tip of the populist iceberg”. There are a whole lot of unhappy voters out there.
So how does it break down? Well, not as Jacob Weisberg and the “ignorant, childish voters who want to live in Candyland” crew would have you believe.
Part of the frustration is likely due to the belief of 60% of voters that neither Republican political leaders nor Democratic political leaders have a good understanding of what is needed today. That finding is identical to the view last September, just after the tumultuous congressional town hall meetings the month before. But only 52% felt this way in November.
And, as time goes by, this trend continues to grow. Note that the leaders of both parties are identified as being clueless by this 60%.
So this week let’s revisit the comparison between the Political Class and the Mainstream (you proles in flyover land) voters. And as we saw last time we checked it out, the PC bunch is totally clueless:
The divide between the Political Class and Mainstream voters, however, is remarkable. Eighty-eight percent (88%) of Mainstream voters are angry, but 84% of the Political Class are not. Those numbers include 57% of Mainstream voters who are Very Angry and 51% of the Political Class who are not angry at all.
But then 68% of Mainstream voters don’t think the leaders of either major political party have a good understanding of what the country needs today. Sixty-one percent (61%) of the Political Class disagree.
By comparison, the majority of Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliateds don’t believe the current political leaders have a good handle on what is needed today.
Older voters and higher-income voters share that belief most strongly.
Thus the Tea Parties and the very negative reaction by the PC to them. They simply don’t get it. Which is why we’re suffering through this spate of leftist pundit tantrums in which they damn the people, democracy, and the opposition for being unwilling to roll over and submit to their sublime enlightenment, ability to know what is good for us and benevolent despotism. We’re seeing laments about how the good old day before the damned internet, talk radio and 24 hour cable let the enlightened elite do as they wish.
Look around you my friends – to this point that’s worked out just wonderfully hasn’t it?
Rasmussen lists a bunch of reaction which pretty much outline what you’re hearing from the most vocal of the Tea Partiers:
Most voters oppose the now-seemingly-derailed health care plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats for months. They continue to have very mixed feelings about the $787-billion economic stimulus plan approved by Congress last February.
Looking back, most voters still don’t approve of the multi-billion-dollar government bailouts of the financial industry and troubled automakers General Motors and Chrysler.
Forty-nine percent (49%) worry the government will try to do too much to help the economy, while 39% fear it won’t do enough.
As the economy continues to stumble along, 59% of voters believe cutting taxes is better than increasing government spending as a job-creation tool, but 72% expect the nation’s elected politicians to increase spending instead.
Eighty-three percent (83%) of Americans say the size of the federal budget deficit is due more to the unwillingness of politicians to cut government spending than to the reluctance of taxpayers to pay more in taxes.
Voters have consistently said for months that they have more confidence in their own economic judgment than that of either the president or Congress.
Charles Krauthammer calls this “The Great Peasant Revolt of 2010″. And in a very real sense it is. What Republicans haven’t yet grasped is this revolt is pretty non-partisan. The reason Republicans seem less threatened by it is because of their fiscally conservative, limited government philosophy. Democrats, on the other hand, suffer more because of their tendency toward fiscal profligacy and government expansion. The problem for Republicans, however, is the country is no longer in a mood to see them give fiscal conservatism and limited government lip service. If you don’t believe me, take a look at this Iowa poll:
A third of Iowans from across the political spectrum say they support the “tea party” movement, sounding a loud chorus of dissatisfaction with government, according to The Des Moines Register’s new Iowa Poll.
Neither party has a lock on these restless advocates of limited government and fiscal control, according to the poll. However, their conservative leanings appear to give Republicans a greater opportunity than Democrats to make gains at the dawn of a volatile election year.
Is the GOP listening?
It should be clear to both sides that we’re moving into an era of “do what you say or be gone”. The days when incumbents only left office when they assumed room temperature, as did Jack Murtha today, are coming to an end. What the Tea Parties signal is a much more connected, networked and activist population which has been empowered by the communications technology of today – much to the chagrin of the elitists.
The fun is just beginning. Barack Obama and the Democrats may not realize it, but the era of big government is over.
UPDATE: Gallup also has polling numbers out today. They run different approval ratings for Obama on 9 different issues.
At 36%, Americans give President Barack Obama his lowest job approval rating yet on his handling of the economy. By contrast, the president’s 51% approval rating on handling foreign affairs is up slightly from last month.
As I’ve noted any number of times, the foreign policy’s crisis is yet to come. 2009 was a year of checking out the new president and assessing his strengths and weaknesses. 2010 will be the year that actually tests his foreign policy skills and abilities.
On domestic issues, Obama’s approval rating is in the tank at 36%.
Most interesting though was the fact that in the list of 9 issues, both foreign and domestic, independents did not once give Obama a majority approval rating, again making the point that indies are not at all happy with his administration.
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Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos is finishing up a book about Republicans he’s decided to entitle “American Taliban”. Yeah, no poisoning of the well there – it ought to be a real page-turner, no? One problem. He wasn’t sure what he’d written was based on anything factual. That may not come as a big surprise to most who’ve watched and read Kos over the years:
…I’m putting the finishing touches on my new book, American Taliban, which catalogues the ways in which modern-day conservatives share the same agenda as radical Jihadists in the Islamic world. But I found myself making certain claims about Republicans that I didn’t know if they could be backed up. So I thought, “why don’t we ask them directly?” And so, this massive poll, by non-partisan independent pollster Research 2000 of over 2,000 self-identified Republicans, was born.
The results are nothing short of startling.
Those startling results? Well, leave it to Steve Benen, even more clueless than Kos, to give us the “startling results” that “catalogues” (sic) “modern day conservatives” (notice the interchangability of words “conservative” and “republican”) as “shar[ing] the same agenda as radical Jihadists in the Islamic world” (notice too the rather loony premise of all “conservatives” and “republicans” being driven by radical religious beliefs).
The findings? Benen distills those most useful to the “Republicans are nutters” left (poll results here):
A plurality of rank-and-file Republicans wants to see President Obama impeached. More than a third of self-identified Republicans believe he wasn’t born in the United States. A 63% majority is convinced the president is a socialist, about a fourth believe he wants terrorists to be successful, and about a third think Obama is a racist who hates white people.
Now as I recall, the majority of the left not only wanted Bush impeached, they wanted him frog-marched before a court and tried as a “war criminal”. Most Democrats (I’m borrowing the broad brush that these two are using) believed Bush had been AWOL from his military duty and had stolen the 2000 election. A good plurality of Democrats thought (and still think) 9/11 was an inside job. And it goes without saying that a vast majority of them where convinced Bush was a tyrant, a “Nazi” and a significant number of them thought he’d declare a “national emergency” near the end of his 2nd term in order hold onto power.
And a majority of them wanted Bush to fail in Iraq and actively worked against that war – which to most people would handily translate into “they wanted the terrorists to be successful”. Racism, of course, has been a charge the left slings with impunity whenever it has nothing real to complain about. A third of Republicans think Obama’s a racist? Well if we want to play that game, I’m sure it wouldn’t be at all difficult to find a third of Democrats who think George Bush is a homophobe that hates gay people.
Does that make the Democratic party “crazy”?
Nearly a third of Republicans think contraceptive use should be outlawed.
And over two thirds don’t. But at least a third of Democrats think that abortion should be allowed in every possible situation without exception and enshrined in law too boot. So both sides want laws that the government really has no business making – what’s new?
More than three-quarters of Republicans want public schools to teach children that the book of Genesis “explains how God created the world.”
As opposed to a good majority of Democrats who already have their religion of environmentalism being taught in public schools and the have completely bought into the religious zealotry of man-made global warming even while the myth crumbles around them. Gaia is their god, Al Gore is their high priest and man is the sinner.
A third of Southern Republicans want to see their state secede from the union.
This is my favorite “startling” find (the result for “all” was 58% no/23% yes). Perfectly insignificant (a third of “Southern” Republicans), however the implied stereotype was just too useful to ignore (just as were all the others). Let me translate – “Southern” is a code word for “redneck racist religious zealots”. Thus the broad tarring of an entire region is accomplished and they can safely ignore a place they can never have electorally.
Of course, the secession claim is no different than the constant threats we heard from liberals that they’d leave the country if George Bush won the presidency. They didn’t, but I can’t imagine the usefulness of the Kos poll question that would have determined “one third of Hollywood liberals would leave the country if a Republican won the presidency” except to try cast the left in a poor light.
And that’s the point, of course. To demonize. Had Benen (and most of the left) not been so focused on trying to make the Republicans seem “crazy”, he could have said “significant majorities said they didn’t want to secede, thought openly gay men and women should be allowed to serve in the military, teach in schools and be allowed to marry and receive federal benefits. They believe sex education should be taught in schools and that marriages are equal partnerships. They don’t believe the “pill” is “abortion” but do believe that abortion is murder and they support the death penalty. They also overwhelmingly believe that women have the right to work outside the home and, as a group, are overwhelmingly Christian.”
But if Kos and Benen had said that, then they’d be hard pressed to use these results to claim Republicans are the “American Taliban” wouldn’t they? Because everyone knows that the Taliban are a bunch of gay and women’s rights supporting fellows, don’t they?
As I read the poll, it doesn’t at all support the contention clear in the title of Kos’s book. In fact, his title is hyperbole to the highest degree possible. I also find it interesting that he wrote the book based on stereotypes he’d developed and then wondered if what he wrote was true. Now, given this poll, he’s trying to try to make the results fit the premise. His problem, however, is they don’t fit at all, if, in fact, his intent is to prove the premise of the title (i.e. Republicans = Taliban). Square peg, round hole.
Result? Epic fail.
Given that, I’d say the book is a definite miss, nothing more than a poorly researched political pot boiler and most likely won’t be showing up on the reading list of many thinking people. Of course that means it will get glowing reviews from the likes of Benen and other lefty blogs. But then, that’s not unexpected at all, and we certainly don’t need a poll to know that will happen, do we?
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I think perhaps the promise to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba – a supposed symbol of American shame – and the subsequent inability to do so is symbolic of how inept, to this point, this administration has been. President Obama, while a candidate, had a guaranteed applause line each time he promised to close the facility. The left had so thoroughly demonized it that it was prime red-meat for every campaign rally. And, in fact, Obama signed an executive order on his first day in office ordering it closed.
And here we are, a year later, with the facility still open and the administration still dithering about what to do with the inmates. In the meantime, the American public has come to realize that it is the inmates that are the problem, not where the inmates are incarcerated. Closing Gitmo doesn’t solve a thing. In fact, the public realizes, it forces some very unappetizing choices – like housing those we deem to dangerous to our country to release not in some isolated prison on a island far away, but in the heartland of America.
That realization has sparked some pretty heavy push-back from the public as it has come to realize those truths:
Americans remain opposed to closing the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba and moving some of the terrorist suspects being held there to U.S. prisons: 30% favor such actions, while 64% do not. These attitudes could present a significant roadblock for President Obama at a time when he seeks congressional approval to move terrorist suspects from Guantanamo to a converted state prison in northwestern Illinois.
You see, hollering about how we had to close Gitmo during the campaign and then making it a priority on his first day of office then ran up against the “then what” question. And, as is obvious, they – the campaign and Obama- hadn’t considered the “then what” question. They had no plan. It is indicative of how poorly prepared they were to assume office (they apparently thought that the “King” would sign a “proclamation” and the “serfs” would make it so) and how little they understood of how things really work. Closing Guantanamo Bay has gone from being a symbol of “hope and change” to being an albatross around the administration’s neck. No matter what they do now, it is most likely to be unfavorably received by a majority of Americans and provide campaign fodder for a future Republican opponent.
Gitmo, in a nutshell, characterizes this administration in so many ways. Naive, unprepared, leaderless and yet arrogant. That is not a good combination for a successful presidency and unsurprisingly, so far, it hasn’t been one.
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An ABC News/Washington Post poll has some poll numbers which has to have the Obama White House concerned:
Fifty percent of Americans in this ABC News/Washington Post poll approve of the president’s work overall, down 6 points in the last month; nearly as many, 46 percent, now disapprove. On the economy, 52 percent disapprove, a majority for the first time. On the deficit, his worst score, 56 percent disapprove.
Such numbers aren’t unexpected; Ronald Reagan, in similar economic straits, dropped to 52 percent overall approval at this point in his presidency. But it’s not just the economy: Fifty-three percent also disapprove of Obama’s work on health care, and the public by 51-44 percent now opposes the reform package in Congress – both more than half for the first time in ABC/Post polls.
Despite the attempt to temper the plunge in approval by claiming that Ronald Regan had similar numbers in overall approval, this doesn’t feel like the Ronald Regan era. In fact, it feels more like Regan’s predecessor’s era of governance – leaderless. If Obama shows up on TV in a sweater telling us to turn down the thermostat, you’ll know precisely who I’m talking about.
But consider that in just a month in which he made his Afghanistan speech (which supposedly gave him a small bounce) and accepted his Nobel Peace Prize, he managed to lose 6 points in approval. The approval rating speaks to an overall feeling of satisfaction with his performance. And, as has been asked ad nauseum, he can give a pretty speech, but what has he really done?
Now this is a double edged sword. Frankly I don’t want him to do what he’s said he wants to do so technically I should be approving of his job performance. As long as he stays ineffective and impotent, I “approve”. Which means, some of his disapproval comes from those who want to push the aggressive “progressive” agenda they believe he’s behind and are disapproving of the fact that nothing has been done in almost a year of complete power in Congress and the White House.
The point, of course, is to note that his “disapproval” rating is just as soft as his “approval” rating and could change in a heartbeat. But this is an interesting snap shot that I think says more about his leadership, or lack thereof, than anything.
Economically, the numbers may be a little harder than the overall approval rating. You don’t have to be a PhD to know that economically things aren’t good and despite all the happy talk, really aren’t getting much better. So 52% disapproval isn’t unexpected. But, with the dip in his personal approval rating, it indicates that the public is beginning to hold him responsible for the condition of the economy. The drop in approval and the majority disapproval on the economy signal that Democrats and Obama no longer have George Bush as a convenient fall guy.
Another reason for that is found in the “deficit” number, where 56% disapprove. That number is strictly and obviously a product of Democrats in Congress and the Obama administration. 787 billion “stimulus”. 1+ trillion omnibus spending bill. Raising the debt ceiling by 1.8 trillion. All Democrats, all the time.
His lack of leadership has also had an effect legislatively (although obviously the in-fighting among Democrats hasn’t helped their case either) where a majority oppose Obama’s overall health care effort and the specific health care legislation Democrats are trying desperately to push through Congress as we speak.
This could all change within a few weeks or months. But I just don’t see it happening. Some people know how to lead. Others know how to build coalitions. And others know how to charm their way into positions of power. Essentially Barack Obama is a charmer who recognized a once in a life time opportunity where the stars lined up for someone like him to grab for the brass ring of the presidency without having to have any other qualification than meeting the age requirement in the Constitution. He took it and he won. And that says something about both him and the celebrity worshiping public that elected him, which is a subject for another post.
As someone who has been in leadership positions all my life and has professionally assessed leaders for over 20 years, I can say without equivocation, that Barack Obama is not a leader. At best he’s a coalition builder and he’s been rather poor at that as well. However he’s a man who has always reached for the next rung in the ladder and obviously enjoys the trappings and perks of the offices he holds. But again, looking back on his life, what has he really done? What has he really ever accomplished? What has he led?
To some, I’m sure, these numbers come as a surprise. I’m not sure how. They are, to me, a portrait of the person those of us who kept noting his lack of experience and accomplishment painted before the election. I expect the numbers to go down even more. He’s not a leader and I don’t expect one to emerge while he’s in office. I certainly hope the nation wakes up and recognized that “hope and change” were really “hoax and change” and make the man a one-term president. We can’t afford him, in many ways, for 8 years.
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