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A tale of two polls
Posted by: mcq on Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Of course you could spend your life reading and being guided by polls if you're a politician (and many are), but if you choose to do so, you'd better choose wisely.

In the USA Today/Gallup Poll the following question was asked:
Would you favor or oppose Congress passing a non-binding resolution to express its disapproval of President Bush’s plan to send more U.S. troops to Iraq?
The result showed 51% in favor, 46% opposed and 4% with no opinion.

In the CBS Poll, respondents were asked this question:
Do you think Congress should or should not pass a symbolic or non binding resolution against sending additional troops to Iraq?
44% were in favor of passing them, 45% were not in favor, and 11% had no opinion.

Now the reasons for not supporting such a resolution are many, and not all because one might think that its the wrong thing to do in time of war. You may eschew it because you want one with teeth, the force of law. You may think its a waste of time when there are more pressing needs which should be attended too.

But regardless, it's hard to argue that an overwhelming number of Americans support this toothless resolution nonsense on which the Democrats have embarked. It's almost as if they are buying time until they can muster the courage to actually confront what they must do if they really plan on using their power to stop the war in Iraq.

You know ... funding. And if they look into the polls for guidance there, it is decidedly mixed. USA Today asked:
Would you favor or oppose Congress taking each of the following actions in regards to the war in Iraq? ... B. Denying the funding needed to send any additional U.S. troops to Iraq?
Only 40% favored such a move with an overwhelming 58% not favoring it (and 2% having no opinion).

CBS asked the question differently:
Which of these comes closest to your opinion? 1. Congress should block all funding for the war in Iraq, OR 2. Congress should block funding for additional troops being sent to Iraq, but allow funding for troops currently there, OR 3. Congress should allow all funding for the war in Iraq?
1 got 8%, 2 garnered 45% and 3 had 42%.

Now you can read that a number of ways. 53% want partial or all funding cut off. That's diametrically opposed to the USA Today poll saing 58% not favoring funds being cut off for additional troops.

Oh what's a rudderless politician to do?

Regardless, the two polls show a pretty even division about the resolutions and some conflicting data about funding. This is the corner into which the Dems have painted themselves.

Probably the most interesting question asked came in the CBS poll:
Think about the things the new Congress has done during the past month since it took office. Is there any one thing that Congress has done in the past month that stands out in your mind? IF YES, ASK: What is that?
While the Iraq war got 8% and minimum wage 7% and the non-binding resolutions 3%, 70% of the respondents said they "can't name anything".

Interesting.
 
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70% of the respondents said they "can’t name anything".
And when you throw in the 8% who cited "the Iraq war" as something the new congress has done in the last month, you’re right on top of 4 out of 5 respondents being completely, certifiably clueless about political goings-on. Which is about what my day-to-day interactions with others would suggest. Which doesn’t even especially bother me, seeming about what you’d expect for a society where no one is in immediate danger of starving or being blown to bits by bad guys. But it’s a very good reason to ignore polls about political stuff.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
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