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May 15, 2006

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Speaking of posturing:

Conservative Christians Criticize Republicans

By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
Published: May 15, 2006

WASHINGTON, May 13 — Some of President Bush's most influential conservative Christian allies are becoming openly critical of the White House and Republicans in Congress, warning that they will withhold their support in the midterm elections unless Congress does more to oppose same-sex marriage, obscenity and abortion.

Great post DemfromCT. Jane Hamsher has done some fine posts on the WaPo's neocon polling expert, Richard Morin. I have little doubt that he rammed his poll through quickly, to depress the numbers about legitimate fears about civil liberties.

Actually, I just think ABCNews and WaPo wanted their poll out first. It looks like those questions were part of a larger poll that was supposed to be conducted over a couple of nights... they just released the results from the first night.

John Casper

While I have my issues with Morin (who hates bloggers, as seen in comments he made about them after the Nov 2004 election in print) I have a great deal of respect for Claudia Deane, who is the other WaPo in-house pollster.

And let me add : no one likes a loser.

This is another way of stating an interesting liability that Republicans may face a little bit more than Dems:
People who are uncomfortable taking stands or having opinions that are at odds with those of their community (i.e., those who feel that conformity of opinion is a necessary part of group membership) are also more likely to have conservative political beliefs and therefore more likely to be part of the Republican base. To the extent that the Bush core is made up of those whose support stems from conformist tendencies rather than loyalty to a strong man leader, this peeling away should accelerate, rather than slow down.

It's interesting to look at Prof. Pollkatz's comparison of JAR trends among presidents in that regard. Nixon's ratings plummeted sharply after people started flipping and being convicted in the Watergate affair, then levelled off in the mid-20s. That sharp drop, in my opinion, was the peeling off of the conformists as people around them started saying bad things about Nixon. The holdouts at the botttom were the diehard imperial president loyalists who never acknowledged that Nixon did anything wrong.

If you look at Chimpy's trend over the last two months, it seems like there may be an accelerating decline there as well, though it may be too early to tell. In other words, unlike Josh Marshall, I don't think we have yet neared the point where each decline in JAR is harder to achieve due to having reached only the hard core Bushists. The conformists have to finish peeling off first. All the more reason to keep those bumperstickers on your car.

Per ABC News polling director Gary Langer, "These different results tell us a lot about how compelling the competing interests are. The main differences I see between this and Newsweek, vs. ours, are that we first asked about the broader investigation-vs.-privacy issue, and we laid out much more specifically the rationale for the program (to analyze call patterns in an effort to identify terrorism suspects). When these competing, positive interests are at stake, language and information matter - a fact that will surely play itself out as the debate progresses.

From the Note today.

mamayaga I agree. Those are the mod/lib Rs that can still peel off, as I've suggested. Hard core imperialists are out of reach.

Based on my memory of the Nixon years, I agree that Mamayaga is right. And once the conformists change their views, they really don'l come back, because the effort of changing was so unsettling. If anything, they withdraw. None of this bodes well for the GOP in the midterms, which is why I think we see Gingrich talking about the party of "San Francisco and Vermont".

DemfromCT, didn't you think it was odd, though, that ABC felt the need to rush this poll out on one day's numbers? We've had plenty of other hotter-than-hot issues arise in recent months (Dubai, Libby's indictment) with no such hasty readings provided. The fact mentioned above -- that a standard poll was already being taken -- perhaps explains it, but I still think the fact that the initial ABC/Post number confirmed what the still-Bush-leaning press wants to believe about the public's view is the reason it was put out with so few qualifiers, and allowed to become official "reaction" for 24 hours.

Mystery Pollster can drive me crazy sometimes. (I hope this post of his was written prior to the USA Today poll, which so closely echoed Newsweek's numbers that you have to believe 52ish-42ish is the accurate breakdown) His suggestion that the truth must lie somewhere "in between" is the same split-the-difference-between-Dems-and-GOP thinking that has moved the country rightward in he past decade despite the public moving the other direction. The inference I draw from the conflicting numbers is, the ABC poll was flawed in relying on a one-day sample and in asking very helpful-to-Bush questions. Mystery Pollster's equal-weight-to-all-positions stance strikes me as naive, whether deliberate or indavertent.

He's got a newer post up now that USA Gallup is out.

Here is what Gallup's Jeff Jones concludes about the different results produced by the three most recent surveys:

It is not entirely clear why the ABC News/Washington Post one-night poll showed a larger percentage of positive responses, although the question stated that the collected phone data were analyzed "in an effort to identify possible terrorism suspects."

Because these questions are designed to measure public opinion in an area that involves two competing principles, fighting terrorism and protecting citizens' privacy, it may not be surprising that specific phrases or nuances of wording in survey questions could cause different response patterns.

The Gallup report is worth reading in full -- do it today before it falls behind Gallup's subscription wall.

it's hard to imagine that the WaPo/ABC poll would deliberately mislead.. other polling would quickly expose that.

Speaking of polls:

A new survey is showing residents in Florida and Georgia do not approval of President Bush's job performance. The numbers from our exclusive Survey USA poll is listed below.

Florida
36% Approve
61% Disapprove
3% Not Sure

Georgia
41% Approve
58% Disapprove
2% Not Sure

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