Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Tuesday, June 10, 2003  

Two Polls

(Again, I'm swamped, so I offer these sans analysis. Imagine in your mind something remarkably insightful and then credit me with that.)

According to a recent poll by Program on International Policy Attitudes (University of Maryland), some Americans are confused about the presence of WMD in Iraq. Or rather, a lot:

A striking finding in the new PIPA/Knowledge Networks poll is that many Americans are unaware that weapons of mass destruction have not been found in Iraq. While 59% of those polled correctly said the US has not found Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, 41% said they believed that the US has found such weapons (34%) or were unsure (7%). . . .

Among those who approved of the decision to go to war and were not just supporting the president (53% of the sample), a majority of 52% said the US has found weapons of mass destruction (48%) or did not know (4%).

Among Republicans who said they follow international affairs very closely -- and thus may also be more exposed to headlines reporting promising leads -- an even larger percentage -- 55% --said weapons have been found, with just 45% saying they have not.

Another widespread misperception is that Iraq actually used chemical or biological weapons in the war. Twenty-two percent held this misperception, with 9% being unsure, while 69% correctly said that Iraq had not used such weapons. However, unlike the question of whether weapons have been found, there is no greater tendency to hold this belief among those who support the war, or are Republicans who follow international affairs closely, than there is in the general population.

In a second poll by NPR, findings are dispiriting. Bush's approval rating was identical to last October--66% approval, 31% disapproval. Asked what are the issues are most important in voting for a president, the economy and jobs was first at 46%, with terrorism and national security at only 26%. Others: Social Security 22%, Education 21%, Affordable health care 21%, Moral values (?) 17%. And Bush's raison d'etre, taxes, came in at just 10%.

On the issue of terror vs. the economy, the economy is the major concern right now. When asked which people were generally concerned with (a dichotomous variable), 59% chose the economy, almost twice the 32% who identified terror.

Now, here's the biggest finding in the whole survey. People were asked whether "the world is more safe for America and its people or more dangerous," 54% said more dangerous. Only 17% said more safe (24% said the same). There was no follow-up question about whether the people blamed this on anything in particular, or what that might be, but it's still something the Dems need to consider as they move forward.

posted by Jeff | 2:48 PM |
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