The Democrats may figure it out. 12.18.2005

The problem with Bush's poll numbers is, like all poll numbers, they attempt to reduce all of human experience to a single "yes" or "no" question. That Bush has a 42% approval rating doesn't mean that 58% of people would vote against Bush for a liberal candidate. In fact, many people in the Republican side of the equation are pissed not because Bush isn't liberal enough, but because he's not conservative enough. And to suggest those people who wish Bush were more conservative would then vote for a liberal Democrat--that just boggles the mind.

Apparently at least a few Democrats aren't complete morons, at least in public: Don't Be Fooled by Bush Polls, Democratic Council Warns:
Rising public frustration with the Iraq war and low approval ratings for President Bush look to many Democrats like an opportunity for big gains with voters in the 2006 and 2008 elections.

But two of the party's top strategists say this opportunity may be something else: a trap.

Al From, president of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, and pollster Mark Penn wrote a strategy memo to DLC supporters last week warning party leaders not to use Bush's problems as an invitation to call for an immediate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, or generally to steer a more liberal course that could alienate the middle-of-the-road voters the party needs.

"It is important for Democrats to understand that despite Bush's decline, America remains a moderate to conservative country -- particularly on economic and security measures," the two wrote. While a poll taken by Penn for the DLC showed voters opposing the Iraq war 54 to 44 percent, they warned that "Democratic leaders could be playing with political dynamite if they call for an immediate pullout of American troops."

The memo is the latest illustration of deep divisions among Democrats over the right stance on Iraq -- on policy and political grounds. ...

But even here, they've made a basic mistake. They see Bush's lowering numbers and they assume it's because of Iraq--and they assume people who are upset would rather take the liberal idea of pulling out. The reality is that just because people are upset about Iraq doesn't mean they want a pull-out; perhaps they're upset because they would rather us use nuclear warheads or invade neighboring Syria and Iran as well.

By reducing all of experience to a simple "yes" or "no" question, it's easy to project onto the "no" votes whatever disagreements you may have. But just because you vote "no" and another votes "no" doesn't mean you have anything in common--except for voting "no" in a survey.

posted by William Woody at 1:27 PM

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A moderate conservative living in the left coast, surrounded by the sureal, wonders if there is a sane life living amongst those who have lost touch with reality.

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