Archive for February 28th, 2006

Stat Nuggets

Granted, I am not a professional statiatrist, but I finally got around to looking at all of the now-notorious “34%” CBS poll (warning: PDF), and a number of interesting things jump out at me, the underlying theme of which is that Bush’s base is the only thing keeping him afloat right now. As bad as Bush’s numbers are (and they are baaaad), they are much, much worse when you look at the breakouts by party affiliation.

This may be terribly boring and eye-glazing stuff, or someone smarter and interestinger than me may have already covered it, but hey, it was new and interesting to me…

Bush approval rating among Republicans: 72%. Dems: 9%. Independents… 29%.

Favorability rating among Republicans: 65%. Dems: 8%. Indies… 23%.

As I said, I’m no expert, but it looks to me like Bush’s approval/favorability rating among non-Republicans has to be somewhere in the teens. Yeah, Republicans like Bush, but everyone else thinks he’s an asshole. (Here’s a side question: What’s Bush’s approval/favorability rating among Democrats in Congress?)

Most important problem facing the U.S. today:

Terrorism? Republicans: 14%. Dems: 5%. Indies: 8%.
Moral Values? Republicans: 7%. Dems: 0%. Indies: 2%.
George Bush? Republicans: 2%. Dems: 8%. Indies: 4%.

(Generally speaking, Iraq and the economy were the two biggest problems, but Republicans were the only ones who ranked terrorism ahead of the economy, 14 to 11.)

I’m just going to simplify from this point on, and focus in on independents as the bellwether of the ordinary American with no particular dog in the partisan fight.

Approval of Bush on the economy: 26% approve/62% disapprove.
Approval of Bush on Iraq: 25/69.
Approval of Bush on terrorism (his, ahem, “strength”): 39/53.
Approval of Bush on energy: 20/66.

Approval of Congress: 22/68. Interestingly, lower than Republicans or Democrats, who are both in the low 30s. It might signal disgust with partisan squabbling instead of productive debate, oversight and lawmaking, but it could also signal disgust with the Republican agenda and the Democrats’ total failure to oppose it.

People in government’s willingness to take responsibility for their actions: 5/90. Again, lower than both Republicans and Democrats.

Bush administration too secretive: 60/33.

Now, this last one is to me the most inexplicable result of all. CBS asked for opinions on warrantless wiretaps in two different ways (half samples): One version included the Bushies’ claim that they were needed to fight terrorism, the other didn’t. Both the Republicans and Democrats, unsurprisingly, supported the wiretaps at a higher percentage with the addition of the terrorism verbiage, but the Independents didn’t. With the terrorism language included, Independents overwhelmingly opposed warrantless wiretapping, 57 to 42. Without it, they narrowly favored it, 48 to 47.

The only two explanations I can think of are that it’s either some kind of sampling aberration, or (pleasepleaseplease) that the Independents are becoming conditioned to associate “War On Terror” with “Republican Bullshit”. Any statisticians in the hizzy? Can someone help me out here?

Now, of course, the other shoe with all of this is, What should the Democrats do to capitalize on it? I have already gone on record saying that they should not tack to the center to attract moderate voters. But hey: I said it. I meant it. I stand behind it. What the poll numbers are telling me is that the moderates/Independents are so thoroughly disgusted with Bush that they might as well be Democrats at this point, so why tack to the center at all? To me it’s an invitation to be a proudly aggressive and adversarial opposition party, and if the Republicans want to squeal about how mean and obstructionist the Democrats are, let ’em. The “mushy middle” will be grateful that someone is finally trying to stop the Republican juggernaut of corruption and incompetence. The Independents are begging for a strong, viable alternative, so please, please for the love of God and all that is holy, GIVE THEM ONE.

1 comment February 28th, 2006 at 06:14pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Democrats,Politics,Polls,Republicans

(Um… What?)^2: Froomkin Edition

Two eye-catching and mind-bending items in today’s White House Briefing:

Caroline Daniel writes in the Financial Times: “President George W. Bush yesterday stepped up his rhetoric about US dependence on oil from the Middle East, warning about the dangers of being dependent on countries where ‘tyrants control the spigots’.”

What about letting them control our ports? Is that okay? Or does this only apply to bad Arab countries, like… Saudi Arabia?

“The [New Delhi Sheraton] has just received a brief from the White House on what President Bush likes on his dining table. ‘President Bush loves Indian food and what’s more he knows it very well. He likes flavoured Indian food but does not like it too spicy, greasy or oily. Chicken and lamb are his favourites and he loves kebabs,’ says Executive Chef Amit Chaudhary. . . .

” ‘We are told he spent some two months in the Capital in his younger days and he still recalls the food he had here with great relish. Our attempt will be to make the food here a good memory for him for years to come.’ ”

Wait — Bush spent two months in New Delhi in his youth? Is that for real? When? What was he doing?

Are they talking about the right capital? Or maybe he meant “the new deli” down the street from the Alabama campaign offices he was sort of working at while he was not participating in the Air National Guard? Anyway, I was pretty sure the sum total of Bush’s pre-White House furrin travel was Mexico and maybe one trip to Europe. Who knew?

February 28th, 2006 at 05:53pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Dubai Ports World,Politics,Wankers


Well, this brings the percentage of the Bill Of Rights that the Republicans are in favor of all the way up to 20%, although if too many Democrats start buying guns, look for some “enemy of the state” exclusions to get carved out…

General [Geoffrey “Gitmoize Me”] Miller has denied recommending the use of guard dogs to intimidate prisoners during interrogations in Iraq. He also recently said he would not testify in the courts-martial of Sergeants Cardona and Smith, invoking his right to avoid self-incrimination. As someone who voluntarily spoke at length about my actions in Iraq to investigators, without a lawyer present, I can’t have a favorable opinion of General Miller. By doing the military equivalent of “taking the Fifth,” he’s decided to protect himself, apparently happy to let two dog handlers take the fall – a stunning betrayal of his subordinates and Army values.

Read the whole piece, which is a chilling insider’s look at the torture and deliberate graying-out of moral and legal values at Abu Ghraib. But I thought this paragraph was particularly striking, since to me it sounds an awful lot like an admission of guilt at a very senior command level (this would be especially interesting if the new release of Abu Ghraib photos were getting any traction, which they sadly are not). But I guess as long as you don’t actually get charged with anything, it doesn’t count. Bygones!

UPDATE: The incomparable and out-of-nowhere Glenn Greenwald explains all about the Republicans’ deep and lasting commitment to personal responsibility.

(greenwald tip thinks to Atrios)

2 comments February 28th, 2006 at 11:27am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Constitution,Politics,Prisoners,Wankers,War


What can I add to this, really?

By way of Lloyd Grove’s Lowdown column in the NY Daily News.

February 28th, 2006 at 07:50am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Cheney,Coolness,Wankers

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