Polling Project, Sixth Release
by Chris Bowers, Wed Feb 01, 2006 at 12:14:42 PM EST
OK, we are unfortunately getting near the end of these releases. This set focuses on questions 16-20: warrant-less domestic spying and investigations / impeachment. Unfortunately, a few other polling organizations have been beating us to the punch on these sorts of questions.
Q16. On another subject, three years ago President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency, or NSA, to gather personal information and monitor American citizens' contact with people in other countries without oversight of the U.S. courts or judges. Before I mentioned it just now, had you heard a lot, a little or basically nothing at all about President Bush's secret NSA authorization to monitor and gather intelligence on American citizens?
All Under 25K 25K-49K 50K-74K Over 75K
A lot 49.6 31.9 47.5 54.6 63.3
A little 33.3 41.3 36.0 32.5 27.6
Nothing 15.8 23.9 15.7 12.9 9.0
Other* 0.9 2.8 0.8 -- --
I am showing the income crosstabs for this question to show just how large the gap is between higher and lower income brackets. It is particularly damaging for Democrats that lower income Americans do not have as much access to news sources, because lower income Americans tend to be, or at least vote for, Democrats. I can only imagine how much the next several questions would be different if the lower income groups on this question registered the same amount of knowledge on this issue.Q17. Do you, personally, believe during a time of war that the government should have the right to bypass the courts, gather personal information and monitor contact by any American citizen, including yourself, with people in other countries? In responding, please use a scale of where 1 means the government definitely should have that right and 5 means it definitely should not have that right.
All Dems Reps Ind
1 35.4 19.1 59.1 29.9
2 11.7 6.6 14.4 14.0
3 10.3 10.9 9.3 10.5
4 9.5 12.8 5.2 10.3
5 33.1 50.7 12.0 35.3
Clearly, there isn't a lot of middle ground on this issue, as nearly 70% of all people surveyed went as far as they could on one side or the other. However, that isn't to say that the middle isn't important, because neither side actually has a majority on this one. People who answered 2, 3 and 4 hold the balance. Undecideds and persuadables remain.
Another interesting point about this question is that a not insignificant amount of Republicans are completely opposed to this spying program. Throw in the fact that Democrats are closer to independents than Republicans are, and you might have a real campaign issue on your hands here.Q18. How much do you trust the National Security Agency to gather personal information and monitor contact only on Americans who are a potential threat to national security? In responding, please use a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 means you trust the NSA completely and 5 means you don't trust the NSA at all.
All Dem Rep Ind
1 23.3 15.2 35.8 19.9
2 17.6 11.8 26.0 15.6
3 25.1 21.5 22.2 20.6
4 10.2 13.1 8.0 9.5
5 23.7 38.4 8.0 24.3
Again, Democrats are much closer to independents. Also, why do Republicans, who supposedly don't like government to do anything, trust it so damn much?Q19. There are significant legal questions about President Bush's secret authorization regarding the National Security Agency. There are other significant legal questions about whether he told the American people the truth concerning weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. In your view, should the U.S. Congress investigate whether President Bush broke the law in these cases or should it not investigate them?
All Dem Rep Ind
Should Investigate 49.4 73.6 21.6 51.3
Should Not Investigate 43.2 20.5 72.5 38.8
Not Sure / DK / Ref 5.9 5.9 9.8 7.4<>
Democrats and Republicans are mirrors of each other on this question. The margin is swung in favor of investigation by independents. I'm starting to wonder if there is any issue Republicans are closer to independents than are Democrats.Q20. If it were determined that President Bush broke the law, do you support the U.S. Congress holding him accountable through impeachment and removal from office?
All Dem Rep Ind
Strongly Support 25.1 45.0 7.8 22.1
Support 24.7 26.1 18.3 28.7
Oppose 21.5 13.0 32.0 20.2
Strongly Oppose 17.2 7.5 32.7 13.0
Not sure / DK / ref 11.5 8.4 9.2 16.0
I'm not foregrounding this question because I'm pretty sure we botched it. I wish I had taken Mystery Pollster's excellent criticisms of this sort of question into account before sending it into the field. First, there would never be a national consensus as to whether or not Bush broke the law. We already know how much partisan self-identification colors many other views of the world, and surely the Republican Noise Machine would convince the Republican base that Bush didn't do anything wrong. Second, the question is asking a hypothetical--it doesn't tell us whether or not people think he should be impeached now before such investigations take place. In retrospect, we probably should have just gone with a much more straight up question: "Would you support impeaching George W. Bush and removing him from office?" That is a question that would have measured the actual support for impeaching Bush right now.
Damn it. I'm really sorry I blew that one. I guess it is still interesting that very few Republicans would support removing Bush from office even it was determined he broke the law. I wonder how many of those people supported removing Clinton from office.
I'll release the final two questions of the poll for you tomorrow, as well as some other poll related goodies. Stay tuned.