AP-Ipsos Asks Bush's Question On Iraq

Here is how Bush frames the debate on withdrawal (emphasis mine):President Bush told thousands of National Guard members and their families on Wednesday that an immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq would only embolden terrorists and make America and its allies more vulnerable to attack. Of course, not a single prominent lawmaker is advocating immediate withdrawal. However, as long as Bush is able to frame the debate as "stay as long as it takes" versus "total and immediate withdrawal," he is able to portray his opinion as both reasonable and popular. Frustratingly, polling firms around the nation are assisting Bush in helping to frame the debate this way. For example, take the latest from AP-Ipsos (emphasis mine): Aug 22-24, 1,0001 Adults, MoE 3

Should the United States keep troops in Iraq until the situation has stabilized, or should the United States bring its troops home from Iraq immediately? (Results from June 2005 in parentheses)

--Keep troops in Iraq until the situation has stabilized, 60 percent (59)
--Bring its troops home from Iraq immediately, 37 percent (37)
--Not Sure, 3 (4)

Are they receiving these questions directly from the White House? Now that the country has turned against the war, framing those who support withdrawal as extremists is one of the only options left for Bush. Sadly, poll after poll after poll works to help Bush accomplish just that. By only ever portraying the only withdrawal position as "bring all the troops home now," polling firms have ignored the popular, progressive middle ground that is emerging in this country.

Harris, one of the few organizations that does not carry Bush's water on the withdrawal debate, shows how ridiculous the immediate withdrawal question, asked by many other polling firms, has become:

The Harris Poll. Aug. 9-16, 2005. N=1,217 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.

"Do you favor keeping a large number of U.S. troops in Iraq until there is a stable government there OR bringing most of our troops home in the next year?"

	   Wait     Bring Home
8/16/05     36	       61
6/12/05     33	       63
4/10/05     40	       60
2/13/05     39	       59
11/14/04    50	       47
Amazing, isn't it? Once the those people who favor a gradual withdrawal over the next year or two are no longer grouped with the "stay as long as it takes" position, "stay as long as it takes" loses its majority status. A real shocker, that.

The absurdity of the "immediate" withdrawal question, as currently asked by AP-Ipsos and others, is that it groups positions such as the one held by Russ Feingold, who favors gradual withdrawal over the next sixteen months, in with the Bush position, "stay as long as it takes." However, the Harris question more accurately groups the total and gradual withdrawal positions together, as it also groups the "stay a really long time" and "stay as long it it takes" positions together. By lumping the Feingold position and the Bush position together, polling firms like AP-Ipsos are, not surprisingly, able to find a majority opposed to immediate and total withdrawal. However, by offering an actual date, Harris more accurately groups the total withdrawal and gradual withdrawal positions together. Thus, they are able to reveal the enormous, pro-withdrawal majority in this country that other polling firms have concealed.

Note to all other polling firms: stop equating gradual withdrawal with "stay as long as it takes." Not only is that absurd, that simply helps Bush paint a popular middle ground, gradual withdrawal over the next year or two, as non-existent, and all of those in favor of withdrawal as extremists. The current question you are asking hides the popularity of the progressive middle ground from the public. You have a responsibility to not distort public opinion like this.

Tags: World (all tags)

Comments

8 Comments

Troop safety
How does the military protect itself and its mission if the we start to draw down while there is the present level of chaos?

If anyone is going to propose a gradual withdrawal I think they should couple it with some tactical planning discussion. That is, if they want their plan to be taken seriously.

by rdf 2005-08-26 09:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Troop safety
Yeah, but I don't see other people, like Bush, being required to propose detailed plans in order for polling firms to ask their questions.
by Chris Bowers 2005-08-26 09:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Troop safety
 I like to just cut to the chase (is that quintessentially American these days?).I would simply ask these BLUNT questions (over and over again) "President Bush , what is "success" in Iraq?"
by birdleg 2005-08-26 09:46AM | 0 recs
one approach
Here is Wes Clark's take on the issue from today's Washington Post:
Op Ed

All I'm saying is that the politicians who are pushing a phase out should present an integrated position. Even if the admin has no plan that doesn't mean that the opposition can't do better.

If something resonates then in a few months the pollsters can ask: do you favor X's plan or Y's plan.

by rdf 2005-08-26 09:37AM | 0 recs
Re: one approach
While Clarke closes his op-ed with this....

"The growing chorus of voices demanding a pull-out should seriously alarm the Bush Administration. For President Bush and his team are repeating the failure of Vietnam - failing to craft a realistic and effective policy, and in its place, simply demanding that the American people show resolve. Resolve alone isn't enough to mend a flawed approach. If the Administration won't adopt a winning strategy, then the American people will be justified in demanding that the Administration bring our troops home."

....he doesn't call for a withdrawl timetable. I can't take seriously any "Democrat" who sticks with the tired and failed approach of calling on Bush to do a better job of turning the sow's ear into a silk purse -- or is he trying to put lipstick on a pig?

by Guy 2005-08-26 10:06AM | 0 recs
Another Problem
Another Problem with the formulation of the polling question? is that it leaves to the imagination how long it will take (if ever)until there is a stable government and of course whether we will be happy with the type of stable goverment we get in the end.

I think the result of the polling question would be very different also if it asked would you support staying in another 3 months if that would guarantee leaving a stable democratic government behind or would you support staying in another 3 years and 2,000 more americans dead in order to achieve a stable (though radical and anti american islamic) government or even worse would you support sacrificing another 1,000 american soldiers every year for the next 20 years even if we would never manage to create a stable democratic government in Iraq.

All good questions I would think that might change the polling results.

by AlanR 2005-08-26 09:50AM | 0 recs
Bush can frame the debate however he chooses...
....so as long as DLC NeoDems stand firmly behind him.

Speaking of NeoDems, it seems that Harold Ford is at it again....

http://getridofthedlc.blogspot.com/2005/08/harold-fords-love-for-president.html

HAROLD FORD'S LOVE FOR THE PRESIDENT

Really, dear cousins, you have got to stop sending me this; http://thepeskyfly.blogspot.com/...drivel from your local newspaper http://www.memphisflyer.com, the Memphis Flyer, about the man who represents your district. It's bad enough that I live in California and have a man who's nickname is "The BoobenGrabber" as governor who got the job because there was enough GOP money to can Gray Davis, but to deal with this jackass? As if his voting record on the Bankruptcy Bill, Medicare, School Vouchers, and anything else detrimental to your district, isn't enough. Rosalind Kurita may be the lesser of two evils here...and forget about ethnicity, because the representative you have is an African-American IN NAME ONLY! (That and his facial features, although yellow, but with a distinctly African slant...but I digress)
Now, you're sending me things from the Memphis Flyer that clearly indicates you need a new Congress Critter in 2006, and no way in hell do you allow the current Congress Critter to get to Bill Frist's Senate seat in 2006.
"I love my President. I love him personally..."
Do I hurl my vanilla soy chai latte now or later, cause the text of his speech at the University of Memphis Law School this past Saturday, should be enough where Mel Watt revokes his Congressional Black Caucus Membership Card without needing a majority of votes. It should be enough that Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi bans him from any leadership posts in the House, should a miracle occur and the Democrats take back the party.
Because if the Democratic Party is relying on the likes of one Harold Eugene Ford, Jr., to regain party majority in Congress, we may as well surrender to one party domination for the next millenium.
Another reason why the DLC has GOT TO GO.....

by Guy 2005-08-26 09:58AM | 0 recs
The Majority except...
Biden and Clinton want to send in MORE troops.
by steve expat 2005-08-27 04:55PM | 0 recs

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