Is the Washington Post spinning poll numbers? I expect this from the NYTimes, but I've developed higher standards for the Post. The headline for the poll released last night is "Doubts Temper War Support" and the article paints a gloomy picture of backing for the war.
Surveys conducted since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks have consistently shown that a majority of Americans favor military strikes against Iraq. But this general agreement that force should be used is neither absolute, unconditional nor uniformly shared by key voting groups, an analysis of recent Washington Post-ABC News surveys suggests.
This ambivalence, most recently reflected in a Post-ABC News poll completed Sunday, raises questions about the depth and durability of public support for using force to topple Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The poll found that 59 percent of respondents favor using military force against Iraq, even without the support of the U.N. Security Council. But four in 10 supporters also said they had reservations about the looming conflict with Iraq. When these doubters are combined with opponents of military action, the result suggests that more than six in 10 Americans harbor at least some doubts about using force while only a third are unequivocally behind going to war.
Sounds pretty grim for the White House, huh? Well not if you compare this survey to the one taken on February 23
5. (IF FAVOR, Q4) What if the United Nations opposes such action - in that case would you favor or oppose having U.S. forces take military action against Iraq?
Favor Oppose No opinion
2/23/03 50 46 4
2/9/03 50 47 3
2/5/03 All 49 46 5
Watched Powell 55 41 4
Didn't watch 41 53 6
2/1/03 51 46 3
1/28/03 46 50 4
1/27/03 44 52 3
12/15/02* 37 58 5
*Wording: Would you favor or oppose having U.S. forces take military action against Iraq, even if the United Nations opposes such action?
Question 4 asked if the respondent favors the removal of Saddam Hussein. Now let's go to today's poll
The Bush administration says it will move soon to disarm Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from power, by war if necessary, working with countries that are willing to assist, even without the support of the United Nations. Overall, do you support or oppose this policy?
No opinion 4
The support without the UN number jumped from 50% to 59% (yes, the question is slightly different, but not significantly so in my opinion). In fact, it's never been higher.
This is cause for the gloomy article? The writer seems to have hooked on the next question which asks if the respondet has any reservations about the war -- 40% say they do. I would read that data exactly the opposite way. I am very surprised that only 40% have reservations about the war. I have many reservations and I'm 100% behind the effort. You're supposed to have reservations about an undertaking of such significance even if you believe that it is completely necessary.
Oh yeah, not even a mention of the increase in the President's approval rating (up 2 statistically insignificant points to 62% form last survey).
It is sad to see such a blatantly spun article from the Washington Post. Recently, the New York Times has earned a well-deserved reputation for such tactics, but I had more respect for the Post. I guess extreme situations require extreme measures, and the truth is always the first victim of the self-righteous.
My regular readers know that I have constantly struggled with my ability to write for the blog and my family and work commitments. Writing has never been easy for me and it takes a great deal of time. And I am losing the battle. Recently, my work responsibilities have increased and my boy has been a little sick (nothing serious, thank God). At the same time I'm trying to find a house and spend every available weekend moment searching the suburbs.
My excess energy level has hit zero. I have tried writing, but I have had no time. Kamil Zogby, who runs the excellent Zogby Blog, even generously invited me to join his site. But, I haven't been able to do that either.
I thought that I was alone, but as Glenn Reynolds points out, I'm not the only one. He is right -- this is no time to rest on our laurels, but I really need to buy that house before I consider blogging again. So I've decided to take the summer off, recharge and, hopefully, write to you next from my American Dream house.