Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

New Pew poll on Iraq shows a significant swing in the positive

Democrats have trumpeted polls showing Americans have grown dissatisfied with the war, and that they believed Iraq was a mess. Today Brian Faughnan from the Weekly Standard looks at those numbers, and he drives the point home that the Democrats were a bit premature in their declarations:

The Pew Research Center has released the results of its latest poll on Americans' views on Iraq and the state of the nation. The dramatically improved view of the situation in Iraq has attracted a great deal of attention--and rightly so. But Pew soft-pedals the good news in its summary, and you only get a sense of the depth of the change in opinion when you consult the full result.

Perhaps most telling of all is a question Pew doesn't mention in its summary. When given an open-ended question--'What one word best describes your impression of the situation in Iraq these days'--the number one answer is 'improved/improving.' Just two months ago, the top answer was 'mess.' It's clear something big is happening.

Looking further,
Jules Crittenden relies on the summary, and points out that there has been an 18 point swing in favor of the Iraq war since February. But a look at the poll data from November 2006 shows a swing of 32 points. That's because in that poll, just 32 percent said things in Iraq were going well, against 64 percent who said things were not. Today the figure is 48 to 48.

Similarly, support for a timetable for withdrawal has fallen dramatically--from 19 percent support in January to just 11 percent today. Remember that the next time a Democrat claims that the American people support their approach.

Another interesting finding: Americans increasingly believe that we are succeeding in preventing Iraq from being used as a base for terrorist attacks against the United States. In November 2006, respondents said by a margin of 39 to 49 that we were not: today, 51 percent say that we are--against just 36 percent who are skeptical. That's a 25 point swing in favor!

On preventing a civil war and defeating the insurgents, there are similarly huge shifts. Across the board, the data show a significant growth in confidence about how the war is being waged.

That's not all. Remember that The Politico painted a portentous picture of the Democrat's woes back on 6 November. Well, Mr. Faughnan reminds us, and them, of their plight:

The poll also includes interesting data on domestic politics. Most notably, Congress is almost exactly as unpopular today as it was before the 2006 election. In October 2006, 35 percent approved of the job Congress was doing, compared to 53 percent who disapproved. The result today is nearly identical: 35 to 50. This is yet more proof of the continued inability of Congress to deal with issues of importance to Americans.

Republicans have also seen a significant rebound in partisan identification. When voters were asked a year ago--right before the Democratic sweep--to state whether they considered themselves Republican, Democrat, or Independent, they answered Democrat by a margin of 25 to 36. Now, the edge is just 28 to 33. The Democratic edge has been reduced by more than half.

If this poll is accurate--and there's nothing in it that seems out of line with other polling data--there has indeed been a dramatic improvement in the public's views of Iraq and the Democratic leadership in Congress.

So, the next time your favorite Democrat to debate with brings up polls about how people want our troops home, that people believe that we're failing in Iraq, that people are turning away from Republicans and embracing the Democrats and their crazy ideas, remember to cite this poll. It's guaranteed to end that debate right then and there. (At the very least, be amused by the "ums," "uhs," and sputtering nonsense your Democrat friend is going to throw your way.)

Publius II

ADDENDUM: I missed this earlier but Byron York has more bad news for Democrats:

More from South Carolina. The new Palmetto Poll results show that the Democratic race here is even more volatile – way more volatile – than the Republican race. The new survey shows Hillary Clinton in the lead, but with just 19 percent of those surveyed – down from the 26 percent she got in the August Palmetto Poll. Barack Obama is right behind with 17 percent – up from 16 percent in August. And John Edwards is at 12 percent, up from ten percent in August.

But the major news is that 49 percent – yes, 49 percent – of those surveyed say they are undecided. That's up from 35 percent who said they were undecided in August.

Heh. And critics claim we're divided over our candidates. Right. At least we don't have undecideds at forty-nine percent!

Publius II


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