Polling Project: Fourth Release

This release covers two questions, #12 and #13. I should say that #13 is probably my favorite question in the poll, and something I have been looking for a polling firm to ask since late 2002. Since none of them ever did, I just had to jump at this chance.

First, question #12: Q12. Turning to the war in Iraq, did you support President Bush's decision to invade that country in March of 2003?

Strongly Support 18.7% Support 28.7% Oppose 21.8% Strongly Oppose 25.0% Not Sure / Don't Know / Refused 5.8%

Nothng revolutionary here. These numbers are pretty much in line with other, similar questions on Iraq. If anything, our results show a more hawkish public than most polls. However, what makes our poll interesting is that we asked people why they support or oppose the war. We did so with our open-ended question 13: "Why is that?"

We grouped the results into categories. Here they are: Support
Sufficient information regarding weapons: 6.2
Remove dictator Saddam Hussein / free Ir: 7.4
Support family / people in armed forces: .9
We are in danger / we have to protect ou: 5.1
Support our President, G. W. Bush / elec: 3.5
We were attacked first at the World Trad: 3.6
Better there than in the USA: 3.5
Inevitable / someone had to do something: 3.3
Should have dealt with Saddam Hussein du: .3
We must fight terrorism: 5.8
It is the right thing to do: 3.0
Support - other: 2.2
Support - don't know / refused: 1.1

Oppose
No weapons of mass destruction: 7.0
War for oil and money: 2.5
Too many deaths: 3.0
USA should not have gone in alone / join: 1.7
Bush and family's interest / finishing w 204: 3.6
War is not the answer / should handle th: 8.2
No connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda: 5.3
We have no right to invade a sovereign c: 6.1
Not warranted / generally oppose / unspe: 2.2
Lack of information at the time: 2.7
War not necessary / we have more importa: 2.1
Don't support Bush: .3
Oppose - other: 3.3
Oppose - don't know refused: 1.6
Other: .4
Don't know / refused: 4.1 I don't even know where to begin to start parsing this, except to say that there is clearly no national consensus about either why the war was a good or why it was not a good idea. It should be noted, of course, that the Bush administration line of a "free Iraq" only came to mind for 7.4% of the people in the poll. Their message on Iraq does not seem to be working for many people.

I have to run, but I'll more releases from the poll later this afternoon and evening. Stay tuned.

Tags: Iraq, polls, war (all tags)

Comments

19 Comments

Re: Polling Project: Fourth Release

It is interesting, though, that amongst supporters, the administration's "throw it all at the wall and see what sticks" approach to explaining their decision has worked.  Even though only 7.4% say "free Iraq," every other explanation provided in support echos one or another of the rationalizations provided by Bush & co. across time (we were attacked first, better there than here, fight terrorism, etc.)  Many are current explanations that Bush still uses now and again as part of the mix.

It's almost as though we have a core of Americans who trust the President on this issue period, and will just pick out whichever of the shifting explanations sounds best to them.  I.e., "hear what you want to hear, ignore the rest."

by arenwin 2006-01-30 06:26AM | 0 recs
This Is Key!

This seems blindingly obvious to me:

It is interesting, though, that amongst supporters, the administration's "throw it all at the wall and see what sticks" approach to explaining their decision has worked.

And we ignore this fundamental fact at great peril.  So what if no single rationale commands a great deal of support?  There's no pragmatic political need for it--which is all that matters for them.

Likewise, this:

It's almost as though we have a core of Americans who trust the President on this issue period, and will just pick out whichever of the shifting explanations sounds best to them.  I.e., "hear what you want to hear, ignore the rest."

Again, I see this through the lens of cognitive development levels I've posted about before. (See "Terri Schiavo: We're Too Smart!").  To those who think systematically, the ever-shifting rationales are evidence of a fundamental dishonesty, or at best incoherence.  They can place the rationales into a framework and evaluate them critically. They notice that WMDs were not found, and this matters to them.

But to sequential thinkers, picking the explanation that's most appealing, and either sticking with it, or changing it over time are both satisfactory ways of dealing with something that's inherently too complex for them to understand.  Constancy of rationales is not important to them, not because of a moral failing on their part, but because of a lack of cognitive development.

A couple of relevant points (adapted from the post linked to above):

  • Sequential thinking involves conceptual relations that "are synthetic without being analytic.  They join events together but the union forged is not subject to any conceptual dissection."  [Thus, criticism, however fact-based, objective, etc. is readily perceived as simply an "attack"--a la "Bush hating."]

  • But they can change, based on changing appearances. These relationships "are mutable," they can either be extended, based on "share[d] recognized overlapping events" or changed, when the sequence does not play out as expected.  Because it is a pre-logical mode of thought, "the relations of sequential thought engender expectations, but do not create subjective standards of normal or necessary relations between events."  People who think this way can be quite unbothered by lack of consistency.

I'm not saying that all war supporters are sequential thinkers while all war opponents are systematic thinkers.  But I do think that the two different modes dominate the production and circulation of the ideas that people with those respective positions come to express.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-01-30 07:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Polling Project: Fourth Release

not necessarily more hawkish, as the question was "did you support", not "do you support".  My recollection is that 65%ish of the US was in favor of going into Iraq, when it was done.  Now the numbers have shifted.  If anything, the poll suggests that a number of people are now claiming that they didn't support the war when they did.

by zenbowl 2006-01-30 06:41AM | 0 recs
My reason for opposing

One problem with a poll like this is, I opposed the war for pretty much every reason listed.  But my primary reason wasn't really on there - invading Iraq would take troops, money, and national focus away from fighting our real enemy, who actually did attack us on 9/11, Al Qaeda.  I honestly think, after 9/11, Bush looked at what he was up against and said, "boy, fighting Al Qaeda is hard.  Let's just go ahead with that Iraq war like I wanted, and hope everyone forgets about Osama bin Whatshisname."

by schroeder 2006-01-30 08:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Polling Project: Fourth Release

A pair of stories in the newspaper tell the sad truth about America today (along with a quote from a third story):

Chaplain shares reality of Iraq;

Exxon sets record profit;

The Chaplain asks an interesting question at the end of his story. Wonder what kind of results it would get on a national poll?

by Andrew C White 2006-01-30 09:49AM | 0 recs
Nice commentary by the chaplain

And an excellent question, as you point out.

In addition to getting us out of the war, we might also help the environment, improve public health, etc.

by The lurking ecologist 2006-01-30 11:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Polling Project: Fourth Release

People have a way of misremembering the past when public opinion shifts. That is they claim to have had an opinion in the past which more closely tracks what the current sentiment is.

So a question about how people felt several years ago and why they felt that way must be treated with a bit of caution.

We have seen how adeptly politicians misrepresent their prior statements, its much easier for the rest of us with no public record to use as a check.

by rdf 2006-01-30 10:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Polling Project: Fourth Release

Ya gotta love the "better there than in the USA" people.  Jeez.  Besides the obvious point that Iraq didn't attack us, it's still American lives being lost.  The war may be happening "over there" but it is Americans that are dying.

by BringtheFight 2006-01-30 10:49AM | 0 recs
Fourth Release: Intensity? Second Reasons?

Fascinating and important data.  I suspect, however, that many respndents answered off-the-cuff with whatever first came to mind.  One would get very different answers if the questioner listed options for the respondent to choose among.  And, if respondents could choose several options and rank them and/or categorize how strongly they agreed, one would likely find more commonality than seems evident in these first impression answers.  Still, these are fabulous data and should yield many insights as they are digested.  

I contributed twice and am very satisfied with my "investment".

by Arthurkc 2006-01-30 11:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Polling Project: Fourth Release

Yeah, I think if 4 or 5 reasons for supporting the war were given, it could give us a much better sense of who was supporting the war for "false" or "illegitimate" reasons.

by BringtheFight 2006-01-30 12:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Polling Project: Fourth Release
This seems a bit waste of a poll question. What's the value in this? except to find out what we already know, how stupid  and easily manipulated the American people are. What's more important is to measure current attitudes about disengagement from military adventures in Iraq and elsewhere to see how the public can be engaged in a real debate based on facts, not marketing manipulation, about the foreign policy values of this country and new directions that will provide a sustainable military and foreign policy with the world.
Bill R.
by cmpnwtr 2006-01-30 12:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Polling Project: Fourth Release

Here at the Chicano Veterans Organization, we advocated at the outset or the run-up to Bush's War of Choice, the need for a Declaration of War, and nothing less such as the weasel clause as the premise for the AUMF.

For example, our view was that "unassailable" facts should be the only criterion for the decision-making process for our elected officials.  Anything less, would move public discourse in the future to the wrong direction.  Thusly, being pro-war or anti-war was not relevant to the decision-making if the Constitution were to be the backdrop for any public discourse and argumentation.  Obviously, we were in the minority.  

And yet, among America's racial and ethnic minorities, the overwhelming majority were adamantly opposed to this external war.  So, where the did the white folks go wrong?  Did they suspend their "common sense"?  We think so!  And this public polls shows that "telling the truth and shaming the devil" is not a national attribute of much consequence.

Congrats to mydd.com for all of their hard work.

Jim Gonzales
President
Chicano Veterans Organization
Phoenix, Arizona

by Jaango 2006-01-30 03:36PM | 0 recs
I fully concur . . .
I couldn't have said this better Jim...

: : ". . . our view was that "unassailable" facts should be the only
: : criterion for the decision-making process for our elected officials."

Opposed? You bet with every dollar in the Petro Chemical bank.

Opposed in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and to the day I spin off or I sail off the edge of this adminstration's flat earth.

Why? It's called an illegal invasion and occupation of a soverign nation without provocation.

End of goddamn discussion!

Jonah
US Naval Air - 1966 to 1972
VAL-4 Black Ponies

a**Hole Patrol
.
by Admiral Jonah D Wail 2006-01-30 04:07PM | 0 recs
Why?

I would bet that most people are answering this question based on how they feel now, not on how they felt back then.  This would suggest that folks who now say it their support was based on freeing Iraq and ousting Saddam really, back then, were worried about WMD.

by David in Burbank 2006-01-30 04:41PM | 0 recs
new question today

that i haven't heard asked before, from a new poll by the wall street journal:

"asked who should take the lead in setting national policy, just 25% say mr. bush, while 49% prefer congress to take charge."

as reported by raw story ("Poll: Just 25% want Bush directing national policy"), which also has a link to the actual poll (subscription only).

by truth hurts 2006-01-31 07:32AM | 0 recs
Re: new question today

but when you think about it, with congress today as aquiescent and collaborating as it is today, the choice isn't very meaningful unless the respondents mean a democrat-led congess.

by truth hurts 2006-01-31 07:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Polling Project: Fourth Release

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Re: Polling Project: Fourth Release

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by Alex2005 2006-12-26 05:59PM | 0 recs
Congress

Has anyone asked these questions of congresspeople?

by darrelplant 2007-08-21 02:29PM | 0 recs

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