MyDD Poll: Back in the Saddle Again

In a very relevant development, it turns out that 99.8% of those under surveillence are not actually suspects, entirely destroying the "probable cause" argument behind the program.

Also, Glenn Greenwald is live-blogging the hearings--Chris

After taking care of some major reports and briefings last week, it's nice to be back in the saddle on the MyDD Poll. Nicer still that I don't have a Coupla Tons O' Stress weighing on me at the same time. My compliments to Chris for doing an excellent job giving you all an overview of the basic data. His compendium, with links to his previous posts, can be found here.

My contribution involves deep analysis of the data and the strategic implications of the findings. My first post on this, found here discussed very, very important stark data patterns in some of the early questions. Demographic groups including Republicans, voters in the South, fundamentalist/evangelicals, affluent voters and men show the same response patterns across several questions, `buying into' the overall extremist meme hook, line and sinker. Thus, they say the country is headed in the right direction, Bush job approval is high among them and good jobs with decent wages are locally available.

Key progressive voter groups consistently link together on questions, too, including Democrats, voters in the Northeast and West Coast, those less affluent, women, minority voters and those religiously liberal. Their take on virtually all issues tested is almost polar opposite of the extremists.

These patterns crop up across virtually all questions in the poll, which leads to the conclusion we've got a country divided along fault lines the size of the Grand Canyon on a plethora of issues. This is not a new finding, but it's importance really increases when we recognize we have it quantified in our data. That means we can explore it, test it, learn about it, at a much deeper level than others who simply report it's existence. And that's precisely what we'll do over the course of the next week or two: dive deep in order to learn the outlines of a winning political campaign strategy. Let's hop to it after the jump...

In my second post, I wrote about compiling the Terrorism Threat Index, its demographic outlines and some basic implications of it. For example, ironically, unsurprisingly or whatever adverb you want to use (shamefully comes to mind), it is the right-wingers who are least concerned about terrorism and threats. It is progressives who are most concerned about them.

So today, I'll talk more about the findings relevant to the Index, but in a more strategic sense. (Readers' Note: 1- I'll be uploading the Index crosstabs for you to peruse. They're not included in the crosstabs I've sent so far. And 2-, for the purposes of discussion, I've collapsed the Index, the TTI, from a five-point scale to a three-point scale - Low, Medium, High concern about terrorism threats - in order to include small cell sizes at the wings of the scale in the analysis.)

Here's the data on Iraq:

March, 2003 Iraq invasion:

                               Total support          Total oppose

U.S.                            47%                       47%

TTI Low                     74                          21
TTI Medium               42                          53
TTI High                     23                          75

Continued 100,000+ U.S. troop presence in Iraq for several years:

                                 Total support         Total oppose

U.S.                            54%                       46%

TTI Low                     78                          22                        
TTI Medium               48                          51
TTI  High                   29                          71

So, those least concerned about terrorism threats are most supportive of the original invasion and of staying there "for several years". Those most concerned about threats are least supportive. Those of `medium' concern are split on both issues. So far, we're seeing the same pattern as before emerge on these issues. But, wait a minute...

Murtha's plan for troop redeployment out of Iraq and into neighboring countries:

                                  Total support         Total oppose

U.S.                             63%                       37%

TTI Low                      69                          31
TTI Medium                66                          33
TTI High                     51                          49

Hello! We just birthed ourselves a big, fat, healthy wedge issue. The right-wingers and the middle buy into Murtha's plan big time. IF our side promotes it properly. The progressives/TTI High are split, but that's because they want the U.S. out entirely, I think. In short, they likely can be brought in IF Murtha's plan is defined as a major step forward in Iraq and, in particular, of protecting our troops and getting the U.S. out of the business of terrorist recruitment.

Capisce? Of course you do. It makes total sense. Obviously (at least from what I've seen), those Beltway Bums, a.k.a., political consultants, supposedly on our side don't get it. Ah, and that points to the real problem, as discussed thoroughly and eloquently in Jerome's and Markos' book, Crashing The Gate: the current political structure, which oh so unfortunately includes The Beltway Bums. For the MyDD Poll, `nothing but net' on this one.

Now, let's check out some of the NSA stuff. Here you go:

Awareness of Bush's secret NSA authorization:

                                      Aware          Not Aware

U.S.                                84%              15%

TTI Low                         86                 13
TTI Medium                   80                 18
TTI High                         86                 14

Good, most everybody's heard about it. Increasing awareness or introducing the issue itself is done and therefore is not a key strategic goal. That fundamental work is finis, on the whole. We can move on to application issues.

Should government have the right to bypass courts and spy on Americans during war:

                                       Should            Should Not

U.S.                                 47%                43%

TTI Low                          73                   22
TTI Medium                    40                   46
TTI High                         25                   65

Another stark contrast between High and Low, with Medium split but leaning to the negative. Gosh, as Rummy would say, can we build a majority opinion on this issue by emphasizing it to swing the Mediums and isolate the right-wingers? Gosh, yes! Golly, gee, is it rocket science to figure that out? Heavens, no!

Trust the NSA to gather info and monitor contact only on national security threats:

                                       Trust NSA        Do not trust NSA

U.S.                                    41%               34%

TTI Low                             65                  15
TTI Medium                      34                   34
TTI High                            19                   59

Again a stark contrast and a split in the middle. Quite clearly there is a theme brewing in these data. As in forcefully and strategically communicating on these controversial issues in order to swing the middle and build a national consensus against the extremists. 10-4, affirmative, we've got lock-on.

So now, for the first time I'm aware of, we have evidence, real data, to confirm some basic and strategic parameters. It's not  `progressives and bloggers screaming in the vacuum of cyberspace' anymore. We actually know what we're talking about. And we're actually right, ding danged dammit. While it should make it much more difficult for the current political structure and traditional media to pooh-pooh those "angry and unruly blogger masses", it probably won't. They'll ignore what we now know to be true because that action is actually what's in their individual and collective interests. We, or the people of this country, are not significant in that narcissistic calculation.

You know what's coming, don't you? Yep, investigation, impeachment and removal. Tomorrow I'm out of the office for a big chunk of the day, but I'm going to post my view of the impeachment questions in the morning. Chris (sorry, I can't locate his post on this right now) and Mystery Pollster have their take on the impeachment questions in this survey. I most respectfully disagree with them. (Not uncommon among professionals in the polling world, trust me.) Tomorrow I'll tell you why.

Keep the faith.

Tags: MyDD Poll, netroots strategy, poll detailed analysis, poll findings, Terrorism Threat Index (all tags)



Re: MyDD Poll: Back in the Saddle Again

Very interesting analysis, Joel.  It seems the key, really, is just to isolate the President, as his strong supporters will simply back him no matter what, but everyone else will either oppose him no matter what or are inclined to skepticism.

Let's sell the NSA issue as "Bush's illegal plan to spy on citizens" and call for a special prosecutor.  Only the Bush loyalists - a minority of the country - could oppose that.  

Don't you live it when the right thing to do also works well politically?

by danielj 2006-02-06 02:37PM | 0 recs
Murtha's Plan

Murtha's plan fits neatly within the boundaries of UNSCR 1546 (June '04) [.pdf].  The administration negotiated the terms of that document within the Security Council, one of which is paragraph 12:

12. Decides further that the mandate for the multinational force shall be reviewed at the request of the Government of Iraq or twelve months from the date of this resolution, and that this mandate shall expire upon the completion of the political process set out in paragraph four above, and declares that it will terminate this mandate earlier if requested by the Government of Iraq;

Polls in Iraq indicate the people are ready for us to leave, the Pentagon is constantly bragging about the capabilities of the new Iraqi forces, they are getting help with their debt, and the Iraqis themselves are fighting the terrorists.

I don't see a problem here.  The administration is in a box of their own design, the kind without a door.  What's the problem?

by rba 2006-02-06 04:18PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Poll: Back in the Saddle Again

Correlation is not cause. I'm not surprised at these results. They can be explained very readily by the fact, determined by your poll, that Republicans believe the threat is low while Democrats beleive the threat is high. That is the only data point in all this. The rest consists of the surprising (snark) result that Republicans (low threat) agree with Republican positions while Democrats (high threat) agree with Democratic positions.

I hope I'm not talking down when I remind you that statistical analysis must be done with independent variables. Political party and threat assessment are not independent, as you have found.

by antiHyde 2006-02-07 05:09AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Poll: Back in the Saddle Again

Apparently the distinction between descriptive analysis and causal analyis is elusive for you. You might check Earl Babbie's 'The Practice of Social Research', the starter text for research methods, and in it, on page 382 of my very old 1979 edition, he states: "...the researcher preseents stratified marginals or other sub-group descriptions for purely descriptive purposes." Stratfied marginals are a key variable broken down by another variable. As in Bush approval broken down by gender.

This post is a descriptive analysis of the data. Descriptive. In it, the key variables are the issue questions, Iraq, etc., broken down by another variable: the TTI. One might view the issue question responses as dependent on the  TTI. Or vice versa. I don't make either assumption in the post. I simply describe what is and talk about the strategic implications.

Further, you incorrectly note political party as a variable in this post. It's not even shown in it. At all. And only peripherally discussed as part of a previously-found pattern. Urk.

If you would like to contribute to quality discussion, which, quite frankly, does not appear to be the case based on your comments, you have my permission to leave the snark at home. Thanks in advance and best regards.

by Sun Tzu 2006-02-08 04:56AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Poll: Back in the Saddle Again

Sorry, forgot to mention: Democrat John Murtha's Iraq plan is not a Republican plan or position. It bridges the 'Grand Canyon' of party, eclipsing your comment that these findings are all party-related: Democrats support Dem positions and Republicans support Rep positions. Your comment is obviously incorrect. FYI, this type of finding highlights what's called a wedge issue, as noted in the post. Thanks again.

by Sun Tzu 2006-02-08 05:40AM | 0 recs


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