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Interesting post on polling...

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by zeke12, Jun 21, 2006.

  1. zeke12

    zeke12 Guest

    .. From the Talking Points Memo.


    Without getting into Bush sucks/rocks flaming, I think this post from Josh Marshall raises an interesting point about conventional wisdom.

    Marshall picks up on an offhand comment from Tony Snow about how the public would have polled during the Battle of the Bulge to dismiss how poorly the war in Iraq is polling now. Well, someone sent Marshall the polling data to show that the American public didn't waver during that time, or really any other during WWII.

    I don't think either side of the aisle has been above saying "Well, if there were opinion polls back in..." (Though the current bunch certainly loves this trope).
    But it just usually isn't true. People aren't as fickle as we'd like them to be. And despite the bombardment of information the average person gets during his or her day, I think these things have a tipping point -- for those who've read that book. For a while, support for the war in Iraq was moderately high. Now it's in the toilet.

    So my question is, can it ever come back? Are there events on the ground that would inspire, let's say, 60 percent of Americans to support this war again? Or is it a lost cause, from a public opinion perspective?

    Really, really, really let's try and keep this from being a flame war. But I do think it's fascinating that the conventional wisdom about public opinion is so often wrong.
  2. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    So does no one have an opinion on this, or is this the calm before the storm?
  3. pallister

    pallister Guest

    That last sentence has "fun with the quote function" written all over it.
  4. PopeDirkBenedict

    PopeDirkBenedict Active Member

    I kinda of wonder about the same thing, Zeke and I don't know what it would take to get support for the war back to at least over 50% consistently. I don't think one event could do it, although the capture of Osama alive would definitely send the poll numbers up for a few weeks. I think part of it is that the good news can be obscure...when we killed Zarqawi, it dominated the news cycle for a few days. But the hiring of the final two ministers for the Iraqi interior and defense departments was much more important to our long-term success. If those two guys turn out to be extremely competent and respected by a strong majority of Iraqis of all stripes, that will go much farther in creating a democratic Iraq. But I think it would take about a two-month string of good news from Iraq with no major stories marring it (like the two soldiers who were tortured and killed)...and that would be a lucky streak of Powerball proportions.
  5. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Great question, Zeke. I fear the hounds will be let loose pretty soon, but I'll try to weigh in.

    Support can come back for this war -- but I don't think it will. The most likely -- and god forbid it ever happens -- "event" that would bring back support would be another major terror attack on U.S. soil. That's just the honest truth. That's the most likely thing that would bring support for military action in Iraq or elsewhere.

    But that's an "if it pays to be right, I want to be wrong" situation. There's not a hawk in the world that is open to that situation ... I hope there's not.

    There's no POSITIVE event that could happen that will raise support for this war, not right away. It's got to be a consistent string of positive events, over a long period of time. It'll probably take at least a year. There are plenty of other negative events that could happen that could raise short-term support ... Iran invading Iraq, N. Korea firing a weapon at us, N. Korea invading S. Korea, etc.

    The reality is, we're in a quagmire. And support is not going to increase until things get noticeably better in Iraq -- and by noticeably, I mean evident to ALL, on a large-scale basis. Not just a bunch of right-wing talking points about winning battles, or insurgence dying down, or elections happening, or peace taking hold. It's got to be a large-scale swing of the pendulum.
  6. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Well, I went to three war protests before we invaded, so there was no tipping point for me.

    But I think a tipping point for a lot of people was the "Mission Accomplished" banner ... and all the violence that surged after that. It's obvious that Bush was blowing smoke up our asses with that one.

    Another tipping point was the 2,000 mark ... a lot was made out of that, when we reached that number (whenever it was). Then it hit home that a lot of our soldiers were dying, and nobody was really sure why. All the reasons for the war had changed so many times, and there didn't seem to be a clear end in sight, and it was starting to get pretty Orwellian in the idea of an enemy that we can't see, a war that we're always fighting.
  7. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    I think support for the war could swing back, but it would take more positive indicators: a decrease in insurgent violence, a demonstrably stable coalition Sunni-Shiite-Kurd gov't, etc.
    I was in favor of military action in Iraq and I'm against a premature pullout.
    If there was a surge in postive indicators, many of the people who originally supported the action would swing back.

    I don't think terrorist attacks on the U.S. or a serious upping of the ante with Iran or N. Korea would help garner more support for the war. I think in light of those possibilities, a lot of people would say: 'We're facing serious threats. Why are we wasting time, resources and lives trying to stabilize a country that doesn't appreciate our efforts?'
  8. Bubba Fett

    Bubba Fett Active Member

    I don't think support for the war itself will ever come back -- I think we're too far along for that -- but some consistent good news might at least help poll numbers on how the war is being handled.

    But I ain't counting on it.
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