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November 08, 2004


Carl Fenley

Just look at the first question on the PIPA questionaire. So many Kerry supporters think the economy is worse off today than it was twelve months ago. They believe this despite:

1) a sharp decrease in the unemployment rate,
2) the addition of more than one million jobs,
3) the addition of more than 150,000 manufacturing jobs,
4) an increase in hourly pay for wage-earners (excludes corporate executives),
5) an increase in consumer confidence,
6) and a sustained 3.5 percent growth in GDP

I have spent some time dissecting PIPA reports before. Below is a sample a previous analysis of PIPA data presented by the Washington Post:

Fact-Free News

Paul Zrimsek

It might have been interesting if the questions about Kyoto and the ICC had included a third option besides US does/does not participate: "US participated before Bush became president but no longer does".

Also in the foreign policy section, I think a question about whether the US had Security Council approval in Kosovo would really rope 'em in.

P.J. Hinton

The Indianapolis Star ran a story today that gives a local angle on this whole "outreach" stuff.

As part of a lefty-flavored Spirit & Place Festival, there was a panel discussion at Butler University. The panel members, all Kerry supporters, were addressing the topic "Building & Belonging: A Public Conversation".

For all of the lofty platitudes about revitalizing public discourse, their blueprint calls for a monologue, where they get to tell the great unwashed just how uninformed they are

The three focused on how to re-energize political debate in a country where many are satisfied with sitting in front of the TV.

and how irrelevant their views are.
Dubus said the election shouldn't have been about the moral issues that, according to exit polls, motivated many voters. Instead, he said, it should have focused on other matters, such as the war in Iraq.

At least one person saw through the hypocrisy.

While many of the several hundred in attendance agreed on the need for public debate, some wished that diversity had been evident at Sunday's event.

"It's hard to have a good discussion when almost everyone here shares the same view," said Peter Russell, who lives in Boone County.


suppose we designed a survey loaded with "democratic myths"

Why would we want to do that??? The whole point of the survey is to prove that Republicans are stupid. Designing a survey loaded with "democratic myths" is obviously not well positioned to prove that point.



TM, can you prioritize your list? Cause I'm really curious to see which of these you rank as important as knowing "Iraq had no WMD" or "Iraq and Al Queda had no signficant relationship". I don't think even most people would know what you were talking about at all, republican or democrat (too much time spent on blogs). The only one interesting is (9).

I'm not going to go through the list other than to say that (1) is deliberately misleading -- I'm really surprised conservatives want to start getting into definitions of the word "is".

And of course, to see where we would stand, let's apply the Clinton Test. How many people know who was responible for the stain on Monica's dress? Obviously this is as importannt as the main rationale for war.

John Thacker

Actually, I believe a majority of people also answered in a survey fairly recently that the economy had lost jobs during 2004. Completely untrue, and I'm pretty certain that Democrats and Kerry-voters were more likely to think so. What is more, Kerry's campaign certainly attempted to give that impression, and made no attempt to dispel it among people who wrongly thought it.

Dave Schuler

There's one (and only one) of your questions that I think might be true:

Pharmaceutical companies spend more on advertising than on research and development.

I haven't studied that one and so I don't know the answer. I do know this: R&D at pharmaceutical companies rises at the rate of inflation; profits at pharmaceutical companies rise at multiple of the inflation rate.


Tom, the idea is silly. Case in point. I recently had a "discussion" with some liberals. I pointed out that Wilson lied, and they simply laughed. So I showed them the proof from the SICR. What do you suppose their response was?

They said the fact that Wilson lied didn't change anything because the documents were still forged. (Of course they argue exactly the opposite in Rathergate!)

You can't talk to people who don't listen.


OK, the pharmaceutical advertising is the one I guessed on; as to prioritizing the list, the case could be made that we are at war in Iraq (that part of the case is pretty solid), and the questions about the rationale have a certain "water under the bridge" aspect.

Electing Kerry was not going to put WMDs in Iraq, or create a link to Al Qaeda - it would, however, have put in power a guy that many of us felt was not committed to victory.

Obviously, Kerry supporters want to see it differently, and good for them.

However, in my view, Bush was wrong about Iraq; Kerry was deliberately lying about things like reimporting drugs from Canada, Bush's Social Security, the draft, and the full release of his military records.

Cecil Turner

"However, in my view, Bush was wrong about Iraq;"

TM, I think you're letting them move the goalposts on you.

The threat, in a post-9/11 world, is state sponsors providing WMDs (specifically, small amounts of bio-agents) to terrorists. That's the point of: "It would take one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known." It isn't a groundless fear. We've already had one attack--the post-9/11 anthrax--and still don't know where it came from. (And yes, it was a fizzle . . . but so was the 1993 WTC bombing.)

What we're worried about is an intelligence service providing about 10 pounds of anthrax spores to a terrorist contact. There is no way of tracking this sort of activity with any degree of confidence. The FBI is convinced Atta never went to Prague because of cell phone records--though he certainly could have lent his phone to a confederate--Czech intelligence maintains he was there. Who's right? Who knows? PIPA certainly doesn't.

Bush (and the intelligence community) got many particulars wrong--but on the basic question they were right. We'd already fought one war with Iraq, and had every right to demand Saddam meet the terms of the cease-fire in every particular. He agreed to stop supporting terrorists and give up his WMD programs . . . and did neither. The only way we could have any confidence the threat was contained would be for Saddam to have complied, fully, with 1441. And the first, glaring conclusion of the Duelfer report was that he had no intention of doing so.


I want to see the question

The United States armed Saddam Hussein in th 1980s.

added to your survey.


I'd also add the "million disenfranchised black voters" to your list of Democratic Big Lies.

Besides, we did find WMD here and there in Iraq, just not big stockpiles, and most folks are aware Saddam had used the stuff in the past. And I think people who don't follow the news obsessively can be forgiven for seeing Zarqawi beheading people on a regular basis, hearing him swear fealty to bin Laden, learning that he was in Iraq before the war and that Saddam openly celebrated the September 11 attacks, seeing that Saddam was sheltering notorious terrorists like Abu Abbas and Abu Nidal and concluding that Saddam was tied to Al Qaeda. Next thing you know, people will believe John Gotti was tied to the Lucchese crime family! When all us smart guys know he was with the Gambinos.

Before Democrats start taking potshots at ignorant voters:

1. Which party depends on voters too dumb or illiterate to even fill out a ballot properly, let alone read a newspaper?

2. For that matter, which party gets the majority of votes from the illiterate? Not Republicans, I'd wager.

3. Which party depends on young voters who traditionally switch to the other party as they get older and more mature and start following the news?

4. Which party sends folks into group homes and nursing homes to collect ballots in bulk from the senile and the mentally retarded?

5. Which party wins the votes of non-English-speaking immigrants?

A fairer survey would look at a broad set of voters who do at least minimal diligence - reading newspapers, watching the networks or cable news, browsing the web or blogsfor news, listening to talk radio, heck, even The Daily Show - at least 3-4 days a week, and see which side that subset voted for. I'd bet that when you cut out people who don't follow the news at all, Republicans do better.


Wow, did I actually type "Bush was wrong about Iraq"? DO OVER! What I meant was, the "disarming Saddam" WMD rationale has obviously not held up well, since we have found a lot less than people expected, and the links to Al Qaeda may be less than some people expected (I never expected much, personally - Saddam had clear links to other terrorist groups, however).

As to the importance of that part of the rationale, let's recall that one of John Kerry's positions was that, even if he knew then what he knew now, he would still support the overthrow of Saddam.

So Bush supporters may simply be in a "don't know, don't care" mode.

And as to whether Saddam had a WMD program, the intro to the Duelfer report is interesting:

Regime Strategic Intent

Key Findings

Saddam Husayn so dominated the Iraqi Regime that its strategic intent was his alone. He wanted to end
sanctions while preserving the capability to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) when
sanctions were lifted.

To pound the table and insist that Saddam did not have a program to develop WMDs, all he had was a long term strategy, strikes me as a level of subtlety that might well elude the average voter.


Well, well, well. Hey, Jor, I'm one of the dumb voters who actually still believes there may have been WMD in Iraq at least prior to the war and that IF they were there they were likely moved to Syria. Of course I could be wrong, but, guess what? so could you.

As far as a "significant relationship" with Al Queda, I think you're the one who is debating the meaning of "is." The fact is that there is ample evidence of at least some level of "relationship" between Sadaam and Al Queda and there is no doubt whatsoever of a relationship with other terrorist organizations that we have now permanently ended. At least Sadaam is no longer paying suicide bombers to blow up our friends in Israel.

Finally, I don't find the "Sadaam didn't attack us" argument very compelling. If we were to have used that logic in WW2, I suppose we could have shortened our involvement in the war substantially by limiting our involvement to the Pacific.

Several excellent posts here, I might add. Jor, and friends, please keep "misunderestimating" us conservatives, and don't forget to label us uninformed, stupid, or whatever else makes you feel good - it will guarantee that you remain a minority party for at least the rest of my lifetime. Oh, and did I forget to mention that I've been called worse by better.

Have a nice conservative day.

Ari Tai

These multiple choice question surveys are not capable of resolving what the responder believes.


(1) Is Mr. Bush on right or wrong track? How do you answer this if you think he should be even tougher on terrorist supporting (or just tolerant, i.e. look the other way) states?

(2) Did Hussain help Al Qaeda? How do you answer this if you believe his intelligence service likely knew something was up (given the Iraqi intelligence service was everywhere in the ME)? Where if they were "for us" (as in "you're either for us or against us") they would have used their (likely nasty) techniques and either stopped it themselves or warned us so we could have stopped it.

What's needed are open ended questions and catagorizing of verbal or written answers. But this just costs too much and isn't guaranteed to produce the "desired" answer.


Fundamental problem here is the lack of a truely diverse political landscape in terms of representation. It becomes impossible to separate those who are merely ignorant from those whose philosophy is based on the principle that a person's actions decide their destiny, based on the candidate they vote for. Thus, the informed are able to be tarred with the same brush by the poltical spin of the 'other side'.
A person who knew the right answers to either poll might not want to vote for the singular candidate presiding over their whole,(but rather oddly defined) philosophy. and yet, they would still want to remain roughly on their 'side', without 'giving' votes to the other side by voting for a minor candidate.
Enter preferential voting. Preferential voting is the power to choose a non-mainstream candidate without sacrificing your vote, by numbering the candidates in order of your preference. If implemented similarly to Australia, it could reduce problems with accidental votes (accidentally numbering candidates in the wrong order is hard to miss, you always come across the other in the process), and ensure an election with fewer cries of 'we was robbed'.

btw I'm Australian. I follow America as best I can, and the one thing that's come across so strongly during this campaign is that 2 men can't represent hundreds of millions of people very well at all. (I don't count the other candidates because voting for them is practically staying home as the system is now)

Cecil Turner

"DO OVER! What I meant was, the "disarming Saddam" WMD rationale has obviously not held up well . . ."

Whew! You had me worried there for a minute. I still think people who cite the absence of stockpiles are missing the point--Iraq never had the ability to launch an ICBM at the US, nor were they likely to develop a credible threat in the next few decades. They were quite capable of providing terrorists with training and agents--and in fact may have done so. The President's "gathering threat" description was perfectly apt, and it's now contained.

"A person who knew the right answers to either poll might not want . . ."

Claire, I think the bigger problem with the PIPA polls is that there were no "right answers" (especially to a question that starts with: "do you believe").

"Preferential voting is the power to choose a non-mainstream candidate without sacrificing your vote . . . 2 men can't represent hundreds of millions of people very well at all."

I can see how that would help acceptability (especially among the losers), and would likely increase turnout substantially as well, but I still don't like the idea. The goal is to choose one president, who will necessarily be a compromise. Narrowing the field down to two credible candidates seems a useful bit of triage--which the current primary system provides for adequately. At that point we all have an adult decision to make. Allowing conditional votes just adds unnecessary complexity and an illusion of greater choice.


TM, your cracking. Four more years of this. You aren't going to make it. I'd hate for cecil & co to arlen-spector your ass. I'll still hold out hope that Aschroft isn't appointed to the supreme court, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

On an unrelated note, One thing that would have been on this list only a few months ago is "Haliburton is profiteering". Except, I guess that turns out to be true. Although I'm sure cecil will find a creative way to ignore the facts and add it to his own personal list.

Cecil Turner

"'Haliburton is profiteering'. Except, I guess that turns out to be true. Although I'm sure cecil will find a creative way to ignore the facts and add it to his own personal list."

Sounds like a challenge. Halliburton has made a profit (they claim it's weak--but that's not terribly convincing), so that's tough. Okay, twisting just slightly, here goes . . . Personal list entry:

Cheney has a financial interest in Halliburton and is profiting from the company's contracts in Iraq.
As rebuttal, from FactCheck.org:
A Kerry ad released Sept 17 once again attacks Cheney's ties to Halliburton, implying that Cheney is profiting from the company's contracts in Iraq. That's false.
Hmmm, seems a little too easy. Here's another that ought to annoy:
It is certainly true that during a two year period Halliburton’s revenue from Defense Department contracts doubled. However, that increase in revenue occurred from 1998 to 2000 - during the Clinton administration. [emphasis in original]


TM, your cracking. Four more years of this...

I think I am free after the mid-terms in 2006 (that's what the contract said, anyway). That would be Nov. 2, for anyone counting the days.

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