Saturday, July 02, 2005

Just how much support does the President have?

The Washington Post published today an interesting column by E. J. Dionne, Jr. Following this week's speech by the President, pundits are wondering just who is listening to the President. Er, well, I didn't tune in to the speech. Seems many people didn't join in to listen to the President. What's pundit Dionne have to say?
The most striking poll findings after the president's speech to the nation on Tuesday concerned who watched Bush in the first place. According to a Gallup Poll for CNN and USA Today, 50 percent of those who chose to listen to Bush were Republican, 27 percent were independents and only 23 percent were Democrats.

Frank Newport, Gallup's editor in chief, said the usual party split in the country as a whole was about one-third for each party and a third independent -- a finding confirmed by five Gallup Polls conducted in June....

But the most troubling finding for Bush may be an indirect indicator from the Gallup survey. Before the speech, Gallup's interviewers identified 933 people who said they intended to watch the president. The night Bush spoke, the pollsters reached 648 of these people -- but only about half of them, 323, actually tuned in. Newport's conclusion: "It just suggests to us that it ended up being a less compelling occasion for Americans than other occasions."...

Bush's supporters could argue that the lack of interest suggests that the Iraq war has yet to arouse passionate opposition. But the obverse is also true: There is very little enthusiasm for this war. Support or acquiescence might not survive much more than another year, less if there is a significant run of bad news....

Except for Bush's loyalists, Americans are increasingly inclined to view his Iraq policy as quite apart from the terrorist attacks. By using the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in a highly partisan way during his first term -- recall the role of Sept. 11 during last year's Republican National Convention -- Bush has squandered his ability to invoke the moment in a nonpartisan and patriotic way....

When a wartime leader speaks and much of the country doesn't choose to listen, it's more than a political problem.
Paul Krugman at the New York Times was more harsh.
A majority of Americans now realize that President Bush deliberately misled the nation to promote a war in Iraq. But Mr. Bush's speech on Tuesday contained a chilling message: America has been taken hostage by his martial dreams. According to Mr. Bush, the nation now has no choice except to keep fighting the war he wanted to fight....

Meanwhile, time is running out for America's volunteer military, which is cracking under the strain of a war it was never designed to fight.
Ouch. Okay, maybe we're not listening to the President. Here's a better question: who is he listening to?

No comments:

Post a Comment