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Thursday, July 07, 2005

I'm sorry, is the air conditioning set too low for you?

Mike Taylor provides this analysis of polls and what they may mean regarding the publics perception of Democrat action anticipated on SCOTUS nominations and the war On Terror.

I'm sorry, is the air conditioning set too low for you?

Some of us in the prediction business like to think it’s a science. We gather data from what has happened and try to extrapolate what might happen in the future. Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we’re off by a mile. But the unpredictability of future events does not deter us from earning our daily bread by advising our clients that “based on what we’ve seen in the past, this is what we’re likely to see in the future…” My vocation does not include predicting future political events… but I like to think of it as my avocation.

So here’s my prediction: The Democrats are going to completely mis-handle the London bombings and the Judiciary committee hearings and will find themselves deeper in minority status after next year’s mid-term elections.

Now, let’s look at past events to see how we might construct a possible future. First, the judicial vacancy. On June 24th through 26th of this year, the Gallup Organization conducted a poll. It was conducted BEFORE Sandra Day O’Connor announced her eventual retirement from the SCOTUS (love these acronyms!) so the noise level and top-of-mind awareness was low among the general population. The key question asked:

"How likely do you think it is that the Democrats in the Senate would attempt to block Bush's nominee for inappropriate political reasons: very likely, somewhat likely, not too likely, or not at all likely?"

"How likely do you think it is that the Democrats in the Senate would attempt to block Bush's nominee for inappropriate political reasons: very likely, somewhat likely, not too likely, or not at all likely?"

VeryLikely 58%
SomewhatLikely 28%
Not TooLikely 6%
Not AtAll Likely6%
Unsure 2%


In the survey biz, we like to look at what we call “Top Two Box Scores”… in this case, the top two boxes indicate those people who believe that it’s “very likely or somewhat likely” that the Democrats will behave inappropriately. That aggregate score is 86%. Eighty-six percent! Rounding up, that’s 9 in 10 Americans. Unless the sampling was way off, as in Gallup went to a Republican Party fundraiser to gather responses for this poll, the data indicates that even die-hard Democrats expect their party leaders to embarrass themselves this summer.

That, my friends, is not an endorsement of the Democrat party. That one in ten American is probably Michael Moore.

Further, do you think that a party expected to behave inappropriately by so great a number of Americans is going to be trusted to gain further political advantage in this country? Do you think such a party will be trusted with higher authority? The only thing that I can say is that I sincerely hope not. Ronald Reagan had great success trusting that the majority of Americans know what’s right and what’s wrong and I have that same faith.

So when Americans go to the ballot box next election, with visions of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Ted Kennedy, Chucky (Schmucky) Schumer and Joe Biden dancing in their heads… will they feel good about pulling a lever marked with a big “D” next to the name?

Schumer, without even knowing the name of the SCOTUS nominee is girding himself for “war” and he’s also pledged to ask the nominee questions that SHOULDN’T be asked and HAVEN’T been asked in the past. In effect, Schumer plans to ask the nominee to pre-judge cases that will come before him or her. Never mind that every past Democrat and Republican has refrained from such a destructive line of questioning, this is going to be “war”.

It must be disheartening to be a liberal and/or a Democrat in this country. To wake up every morning and feel that the people surrounding you in this country are too stupid to know what’s good for them… but that’s another blog topic entirely.

Now let’s turn to the War on Terror and another Gallup poll that, on its face, doesn’t look as good for conservatives and Republicans:

"As you may know, since 2001, the United States has held people from other countries who are suspected of being terrorists at a detention facility in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Based on what you have heard or read, do you think the U.S. should continue to operate this facility or do you think the U.S. should close this facility and transfer the prisoners to other facilities?" Options rotated

ContinueTo Operate 58%
CloseFacility 36%
Unsure 6%

"In general, do you approve or disapprove of the way the U.S. is treating the prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba?"

Approve 52%
Dis-approve 37%
Unsure 11%


As you can see, these are not five point scales… the choices are binomial (which a fancy way of saying you are either for it or against it). So Top Two Box summaries aren’t possible and that means less “discrimination” in the data. It’s harder to judge the drift of public opinion with these black or white questions. But these questions indicate that most Americans want Guantanamo to continue its operation and a slightly slimmer majority approve of detainee treatment there.

But here’s a poll that can use a little “context” to better understand the numbers. First, what the public knows of Gitmo is mainly driven by the media. The Armed Forces aren’t putting out press releases about what good is coming out of that facility and you can be damn sure that the MSM isn’t flacking the lifesaving intelligence being gathered there. What little the US public knows about Guantanamo is mostly negative but, despite that, most Americans believe it should continue to operate.

Further context behind this poll is that, until this morning, we’ve been in a lull between terrorist attacks on Western countries. Americans might have been feeling a little complacent and “is it really necessary to detain these people indefinitely?” Perhaps there has been a growing feeling among Americans that the War on Terror is winding down and is mostly being conducted in Iraq.

Today’s London attacks should be a wake-up call that the War on Terror is still being waged outside of the Middle East. It ought to remind Americans that we need to WORK at preventing another attack, that we can’t just trust to luck. This morning, Americans might have a better sense of what terrorists are capable of. I’ll bet anyone getting on the Metro North or the MTA subway this morning is a little more aware of what Muslim extremists are capable of doing.

Here’s my last prediction. That won’t deter the Democrats from digging a deeper hole. Just as Dick Durbin couldn’t bring himself to say he was wrong to compare Americans to Nazis, Pol Pot and Soviet gulag jailers the Democrats are not going to admit that the London attacks are just a part of Al Qaeda’s plans… plans which include American cities. They’re going to continue to insist that President Bush is doing it wrong and that we can’t trust the Republicans to wage the War on Terror. Be assured that the Democrats will not propose their own strategy to prevent an attack for the simple reason they don’t have one. Nor are they likely to come up with a strategy that can be examined and criticized by voters.

Targets in the US are being examined by terrorists who want to kill as many innocents as they can. Especially American innocents. The only way to prevent another London incident is to gather information from those rounded up on battlefields and those with plastique strapped to their belts.

So, the setting on an air conditioner in Cuba doesn’t seem so much of problem this morning, does it?

Michael Taylor

Response from Andrew “Skip” March

Those are very revealing statistics...thank you Mike. I agree that the Democrats are digging a very big hole on many levels and as pertains to terrorism will have an extremely difficult time reconciling existing positions with the events today in London. However, Robert Bork, in his interview last night on Hannity and Colmes pointed out quite accurately that Republicans must have the resolve to stick to their guns and to stay on point. His particular example of staying on point is to say that judicial activism of liberal leaning judges is to make the Constitution something that it is not.

The resolve has not been what it needs to be (my comment). Allowing Democrats to frame the recent judicial nominee debate with Republicans resorting to the "nuclear option" and Republicans accepting that and in fact using that exact terminology when referring to their own possible actions. It was in fact the Democrats who resorted to the nuclear option in the first place by breaking precedent and filibustering.


At 11:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brilliant analysis.


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