Pundits, Democrats Can't Read Iraq Polls

I spent much of the last year harping on the subject of public opinion and Iraq (see here, here, here, here and here), Now, finally, someone outside of the blogosphere seems to get it. From Editor and Publisher:The new efforts by Republicans in Congress, and in the media, to use Iraq to their advantage by branding Democrats as favoring a "cut-and-run'" policy, has received wide coverage in the past week. Often pundits, and even reporters, have suggested that this is working, because Americans are not in favor of a "hasty" withdrawal. Democrats are in shambles, they report, as they fear that proposals for setting a timetable for withdrawal put forward by Sen. John Kerry and Rep. John Murtha will prove disastrous for the party in the November elections, due to the alleged unpopularity of this stance.

This conclusion, however, flies in the face of surveys by all major polling firms, as E&P has chronicled over the past two years. Some people say Democrats only do what polls tell them to do. I disagree, and I think our sluggish stance on Iraq shows this. The fact is that whenever polling firms stray away from the Bush administration sanctioned question on Iraq, polls show overwhelming majorities of Americans favor starting troop withdrawal. The article above goes on to cite just a few of the most recent examples of this.

Perhaps Democrats in DC have simply become so mired down in the conservative dominated culture of power that has developed there that they are unable to realize what a tremendous winning issue Iraq withdrawal is for them in virtually every state and district in the country. Let's hope they can return to the reality-based community before its too late, but with only twelve Democrats (plus Jeffords) voting for the Feingold--Kerry amendment, I'm not holding my breath.

Tags: Democrats, Iraq, Media, public opinion (all tags)

Comments

11 Comments

Re: Pundits, Democrats Can't Read Iraq Polls
There's something happening here
What it is ain't exactly clear
There's a man with a gun over there
Telling me I've got to beware...
by blues 2006-06-22 03:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Pundits, Democrats Can't Read Iraq Polls

Read an analysis that explains how Iraq may be the focal point of a Republican October surprise...here:

www.thoughttheater.com

by Daniel DiRito 2006-06-22 04:29PM | 0 recs
Versailles Dems Are All Brainwashed

Seriously.  How else can you explain ignoring two years of polling data?  Or even longer, if you look into other areas?  The conservative dominance in Verailles is based entirely on controlling the agenda.  And controlling the agenda is based on a bluff--that if Dems try to change the agenda to something that (a) people care about and (b) people overwhelmingly support Democrats on, then (c) something unimaineably terriblew will happen.

But what?

Can't imagine!

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-06-22 05:42PM | 0 recs
So they're not even poll-driven

Its a firm position against taking any stand---even if it would be supported by the polls!

I recall that there were 2 slogans focus-grouped for the Democrats---the "America can do better" one and "A stronger America begins at home."  The second one---which actually makes a statement (prioritization of domestic improvements over foreign adventurism)---was significantly more popular.   But no, can't have that, let's go with the boring one.  

by bosdcla14 2006-06-22 06:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Pundits, Democrats Can't Read Iraq Polls

The main thing the Dems can agree on is that the course needs changing because it's not working. "Stay the course" really won't cut it with anyone but Bushbots.

Any Dem running for office can say "Bush wants to continue this war at least until he leaves office. This will not make us safer, and will deplete our resources. If (re)elected, I will seek a solution that begins to bring our troops home next year." It doesn't have to be spelled out in detail, doesn't have to have an end point, and doesn't have to involve getting all the troops out next year (though if it were me, that's what I'd advocate). It just has to acknowledge that the war is wrong and the policy has to be changed. I really think that is enough. If pressed, the candidate can say "I'll know better once I get to DC and see the briefings. For now, I am promising I will work to change the policy with a goal of beginning redeployment of our troops and focusing on actual threats to this country."

That would do it, and it isn't really that hard.  It worked for Nixon (the "secret plan to end the Vietnam War) and it worked for Ike (the famous "I will go to  . . . Korea?" speech).

Cruise through the websites of Dem challengers.  Many, maybe most, of them, seem to be saying something like this.

by Mimikatz 2006-06-22 06:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Pundits, Democrats Can't Read Iraq Polls

I'm going to side with the Versailles Dems on this.  I think there are millions of Americans who support the Iraq invasion and occupation, because either:

1) they realize we really, really need the oil

2) they want to kill Arabs

However, they know enough to be somewhat ashamed of these attitudes and tell pollsters that they want the U.S. out.

I also think that Bush won in 2004 because a slight majority really supported his actions in Iraq, including torture, even though the polls say otherwise.

Its basically the same as in any case where polls try to measure racist attitudes, such as potential support for or opposition to an African-American candidate.

by Michels 2006-06-22 07:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Pundits, Democrats Can't Read Iraq Polls

I'm no polling expert - but I'd agree that there's a strong enough possibility that Iraq withdrawal polls are affected by a spiral of silence for that hypothesis to be tested.

I'm not speculating about the extent (if any) that a spiral of silence might be skewing the polls.

But I think it's worth a look. If only because this is the most urgent issue facing the American people, and the more we know about how they really think about it, the better.

by skeptic06 2006-06-22 08:24PM | 0 recs
Pundits, Dems & Bloggers Can't Read Iraq Polls

Republicans are must better at discerning public opinion than Dems and Iraq is a prime example. The public knows that we went in there on false pretenses and have entered into a costly mess to say the least.

However, the Republicans know that a majority of likely voters do not feel we can leave Iraq in a civil war or anarchy.  They do not want to feel our soldiers died in vain. They do not want Israel and the Gulf States' oil production in danger. They may disagree with going to war and about the high cost, but they will not automatically hand it over to another party with no plan.

The Dems must define the situation and present a plan for success (which is not just leaving).  It is at least even money that a tiny majority will still vote Republican if the Dems do have a real plan. Saying we should get out sooner than latter is not a plan.  

The defining of the situation is that the US acted nobly in removing a tyrannical dictator that had invaded 2 countries.  The US won the war in a few weeks.  It has then help keep the country from falling apart through the valor of the soldiers, despite incompetent leadership.

The plan could be that we will continue to train the troops and structure the security forces to weed out militias.  Then the U S must turn over parts of the transition phase to the international community, particularly with Arab and Moslem peacekeepers.  A competent leadership, not Bush, could persuade the international community to now join and help solve a problem in a volatile part of the world.  The transition will be faster because the international community will have more moral authority and Arab / Moslem peacekeepers will better relate the Iraqis.  With help from others, then U.S. would be free to use different strategies to combat insurgents and foreign fighters, and then soon redeploy its troops outside the country to be used on emergencies and special missions.  As a result, the U.S. could then systematically reduce troops as the Iraqi institutions improve and others replace them.

Is the definitely the right plan?  Maybe so, but probably another one could resonate more with the public.  But you get the idea.  The Dems need a plan for stabilizing the area or it will be defined as cutting and running and letting our soldiers die in vain, plus being big wimps like always.  You can't win if you are perceived as weak, not having principles, and not in touch with the common person. This is a debate that has to be won on an emotional level and selectively reading polls that say the public favors withdrawing completely misses the nuances underlying that feeling.

by edonyoung 2006-06-22 08:09PM | 0 recs
A slight correction

With the government spending more than it has at any other point in history - and with people like Dick Cheney, the VP's office making a new, duplicate branch of intelligence gathering - right there in the white house - to spoon feed him intel / creating new bureaucracies and spending that dwarfs not only every administration before, but many of them combined - its not a conservative atmosphere in DC.

Frankly, we need a good term to describe what is really going on. They wear conservatism like a beard but they haven't been successful on policy or conservative principles. Evangelicals who are paranoid about the end of the world are all over the place up there.

And lest we forget..? Conservatives were the first conservationists - teddy roosevelt, all of that bullies!  

I for one would welcome a conservative environment if it existed - conservatives don't like to pick 200 billion dollar a year invasion gambits. Newt Gingrich himself said that the current administration woefully underestimates the depth of unhappiness in the conservative movement - directed against this administration.

It takes the figure of one person, for me: Karl Rove. He alone is responsible for politics over policy, empty promises over real reform and change - and he alone , as self appointed keeper of the principles of conservatism - is to blame for unprecedented loss of conservative ground in this past six years.

Frankly, we need a new name for it. Don't know what it is. Colin Powell said "The effing crazies are in charge."

by turnerBroadcaste 2006-06-23 05:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Pundits, Democrats Can't Read Iraq Polls

I just posted a Kos diary explaining hw the CDemocrats won the argument, and really created headaches for the GOP just by BRINGING those Iraq war resolutions -- regardless of how they were worded or what the vote counts were.

It all hinges, of course, on whether the Democrats are smart enough to take advatnage of the strategic opening the idiot GOP just gave them.

by Hesiod Theogeny 2006-06-23 05:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Pundits, Democrats Can't Read Iraq Polls

n1 n2 n3 n4 n5 n6 n7 n8 n9 n10 n11 n12 n13 n14 n15 n16 n17

by tino 2006-10-24 05:49AM | 0 recs

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