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September 13, 2006


David Gregory is a bigger idiot than matthews on hardball. he has no clue as to how to interpret this. John Harwood is being very sensible. He points out 42% is "lame".

The WH press corps is every bit as bad as everyone says. Bush and R says these bad numbers are good, so they're winning. It's amazing.

Gregory has really proved himself to be an even bigger ass tonight than usual. I have never heard such stupidity. The WH thinks it is controlling the dialoge and therefore, Gregory says they are. they are because he says they are.

Earth to David Gregory: You know what? Read you own website. The polls suggest far greater sophistication than the so-called political experts in media show. They know enough to not blame Rumsfeld when they should be blaming Bush.

The violence in Iraq, however, continues to be a problem for the Bush administration and the Republican-led Congress. In the poll, 57 percent of registered voters say they feel less confident that the war there will come to a successful conclusion. That's essentially unchanged from July, when 58 percent said this.

Moreover, 61 percent believe Bush's recent comparison of the Iraq war to the fight against the Nazis and fascism during World War II was inappropriate and was made only to justify his policies in Iraq.

And the media take? "Ooooh, they said Nazi!"

Johathan Alter was much better on Olberman. He said that basically since Katrina no one believes Bush no matter what he says, and everyone knows that Iraq is a disaster. Only 20% approve of Congress, which is lower than in 1994.

I remember back when a 43% approval rating was explained away by pro-Bush partisans as the liberal-bias behind the wording of the CBS poll (or whomever did it). There's no way it could possibly be that low, they said.

Now he's at 42% and pro-Bush partisans, including large segments of the media, are trigger-happy to point out how this reflects a "boost" in his popularity. How times have changed.

George S. on ABCNews tonight was talking about voter intensity and saying how Bush was doing better in the polls, because terrorism was ranked higher on a list of voters' concerns.

Any pro-Bush movement is within MOE, and could very well move back to where it was before Bush's latest speechifying.

Mr. Hart's a stickler for these things.

The networks are ordered to only interpret their own polls. ABC does the Bush-friendly ABC/WaPo poll, CNn does CNN, etc. That's okay - within poll trends are valuble. But the idea that a 2 point change is anything but MOE is beyond these people.

A 10 point bump is meaningful. A 5 point bump is notable. A 2 point change is bupkis. if that's all they get for all the effort and a one-time 9/11 anniversary (now past), they lose.

Seems to me that the WH press corps was primed to look for and find a national security bump, so they're going to find one whether it's there or not.

Well, I listened to the Matthews/Gregory exchange, and was withholding judgment until I saw for sure the dates on the survey. Now that I see them, I ask: isn't doing a poll ON September 11th virtual pollster malpractice? At best, it's determinedly skewed, like a poll taken during a political convention (which one pollster described as the equivalent of taking your blood pressure after you've run up a hill -- the reading is technically "true", but doesn't reveal anything about germane about your real condition). How can the talking heads (Stephanopoulos was right with it, too) credit this to falling gas prices, when something more obvious is right up front?

And of course, you, Dem (harmonizing with Peter Hart), get the main point: if the full regalia of September 11th can only get Bush to 42%, he's a hobbling duck.

We see this hanky panky with statistics all the time. A commentator will discuss the meaning of a a change in numbers and then add parenthetically that the results were within the margin of error. When differences are not statistically significant, the only logical conclusion is that there is no difference in the population that has been sampled. So 2 points up could just as well be 2 points down in the next sample of the statistical population being sampled. No difference is no difference, but wishful thinking seems to often prevail.

2 insignificant points here, 3 insignificant points there, 1 there, 2 more there, ...

==================>>>>>> Trend?

Jodi, Gallup down 3, WSJ/NBC up 2. Nada. All within the margin of error.

What you need to do is go here at Political Arithmetik. There is a 2 point improvement in the average of all polls immediately after a week of heavy presidential speeches and the 9/11 anniversary. You can argue till you're blue (or red) in the face, but this is a bumplet of the smallest degree.

See also Gallup today:

The favorable environment for the Democratic Party heading into this fall's midterm elections is underscored by the results from several questions included in Gallup's annual Governance poll. Americans continue to hold a net positive view of the Democratic Party while their view of the Republican Party is on balance negative. The Republicans' former perceptual advantage on the terrorism issues has dwindled compared to last year at this time, while Democrats have gained in the perception that they are better than the Republicans at keeping the country prosperous. Democrats have also made significant gains in national party identification since the beginning of 2005.

BTW, my issue with gregory and matthews is the use of the term "significant". it's like the bump with the capture of Saddam.

1. A two point bump is nearly nothing, given the resources and media pumped into this. See peter hart. This isn't the 10 or 17 point change you see after a political convention (also short lived).

2. Even that is not sustainable because the reality of the Iraq war and people's lives trump a temporary media blitz.

Further points: the ABC poll shows a significant change in which party is preferred on terrorism:

An ABC News poll released yesterday found that Bush's relentless focus on terrorism in the run-up to the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks benefited the White House and the GOP. Republicans held an edge of seven percentage points when respondents were asked which party they trust to handle terrorism, a 14-point change from last month.

That is significant. it doesn't however, translate into presidental approval ratings. there's no 14 point swing there.

Fred Yang, a Democratic pollster involved in competitive races this fall, said he was not surprised by Republicans' improving numbers on the fight against terrorism but added: "If this blip holds, it should be something that concerns us."

That is a much better analysis. It's a blip and not a trend unless it's sustained. That's a very questionable proposition in the absence of a 9/11 anniversary that focuses media and the country.

BTW, the article link talks about turnout, a very interesting topic in itself. The Dem primary turnout in August was quite impressive, and that's without the R turnout machine.

On Hardball the other night Pat Bucchanan called Matthews a conservative. He said "...not traditional conservatives like you and me, Chris"
Needless to say, Matthews was embrassed and tried to make a joke of it. His so called unbiased journalist tag was exposed as a definite bias. We suspected this but, to have actual proof is delicious.
If the so called bounce was a success, Bush should have seen a bump of at least 5 - 8 points at least. A 2 point bump is a strong indication that they played thier hand once too often. Only the base is buying.

Well, the speeches (and lower gas prices) firmed up the GOP base a little bit. Whether these marginally higher approval ratings will hold is the bigger question. Bush can't deliver a speech a day from here until November 7, and there's no September 11 on the horizon (thank God). I suppose we'll get a tape of bin Laden in the days leading up to the election, several #2 al Qaeda men will be found in Iraq in the next couple of months, perhaps a bomb scare in a European capital to keep the fear ratcheted up.

What is missing from this equation is a concerted, hardhitting, consistent, effective Democratic message. I was hoping that post-Labor Day, we'd see the big rollout of a strong message. So far, crickets. What for Pete's sake are the Democrats waiting for? I really, really, really don't get it.

Re: David Gregory - I have never heard such stupidity

Man, don't ever watch Dick Morris or Sean Hannity on Fox News. These guys think a 42% approval rating for Bush makes the Republicans a shoo-in in November. Republicans across the nation should be on their knees thanking God for gerrymandering. It could well be what saves them.

Man, don't ever watch Dick Morris or Sean Hannity on Fox News.

good advice.

By the way according to Polling Report the latest NBC/WSJ poll has RVs instead of all adults. And Fox has LVs. That could account for a point or two right there.


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