Bush Comeback

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Since the high point of December (with the capture of Saddam Hussein), Bush's popularity had been going down, especially with the focus on the Democratic primaries and little campaigning of his own. At the election projection site, Bush has been behind in the electoral totals based on state polls for at least the last month. He's back in the lead again, despite every single news network talking about how everything of late has been bad for him. Any thoughts on why?

7 Comments

Don't the history stats show that an incumbent up for re-election in a time of prosperity while engaged in military action overseas would be awfully hard to beat?

jenzy (praying you don't actually turn me into a blogger.....hee hee)

Actually, there are plenty of things true of Bush that match up with things that are true of incumbents who won, but there are just as many that are true of incumbents who lost. There have been comparisons with Hoover, Johnson, Ford, Carter, his father, and others.

The reason for this, Jeremy, is simple. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, and Rove are all Jedi. They wave their hands and say things like "these are not the questions you'd like to ask" and so on.
However, maybe Bush's numbers would go down if folk looked at http://www.house.gov/reform/min/features/iraq_on_the_record/
where representative Henry Waxman identitifies "237 specific misleading statements about the threat posed by Iraq made by President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary Rumsfeld, Secretary Powell and NSA Rice in 125 separate public appearances."

The PDF file wouldn't open, but the two things they list on the main site aren't any more convincing than what I've already seen. I don't see how saying something you believe is true (as Rumsfeld did) that later turns out to be questionable can count as being misleading. Saying something false (Wolfowitz) is also not necessarily deliberately misleading if you don't remember who said what when. Even it there are lots of forgetful or ignorant people repeating their forgetfulness and ignorance, that doesn't make any of them deliberately deceitful, so more cases of this sort of thing doesn't add anything. Their job isn't to keep track of who said what to the public but to protect this country.

The imminent threat thing is really stretching it. Rumsfeld said there's no more immediate threat from any terrorist nation than from Iraq. That doesn't mean it's an imminent threat, just that they're more immediate than anyone else.

Now back to the original question. If Bush has had such a bad time the last few weeks, why is his support going up rather than down? Diverting people's attention wouldn't explain that. It would just not get people to change their minds away from Bush if they would otherwise have done so. But Bush was losing ground, and he's gained some of it back. That must mean people who weren't supporting him now are. What would have brought that on?

The only thing I can think of is that the surge from the early primaries has decreased Kerry's momentum, and people are now finding out more about him that they don't like. People who aren't going to like Bush have already decided their vote. I'm wondering if this stuff from the 9-11 commission just hasn't had an effect on people who hadn't already decided that they hate Bush, probably because almost everything applying to Bush also applies to Clinton. I'm not sure that's a sufficient explanation, but it's the only thing that makes sense to me.

You really should look at the report. [I can send you the file if you really can't open it] There are many cases where folk most likely (it's almost impossible to know for certain) deliberately mislead, exaggerated, or told known falsehoods. Condi Rice said several times that there were no doubts about threat x when in fact she had received several memos to the effect that x was a dubious threat. Cheney insisted only a few weeks ago that those vans were definitely for chemical warfare when it was universally known that they were not. I could go on with examples, but I'd have to open the report and look again. In the report they list their methodology, and by discussing what they did not include, you get a good idea of what they did, namely, officials speaking what they most likely knew was false or twisting in a deliberate fashion to suit their ends. Anyways, just looking at that site is not enough to judge by...the quotes out of context aren't enough (for the reasons you mentioned), you need to see the analysis in the report.
And, I can see that the Jedi have you in their grip...

As far as explaining the Bush stability or slight rise in the polls, I have no idea. But, I can offer a fanciful one. People who aren't going to like Kerry and will like Bush (almost) no matter what have never changed their minds, but Kerry proponents are less likely to answer their phones when pollsters call 'cause their a bunch of liberal flakes, like me.

I would have thought conservatives would less likely answer their phones, but maybe what we're both thinking is that people who want to be left alone don't answer their phones, and conservatives are like that on economic issues, while liberals are like that on social issues. So it's the libertarians who really don't show up in polls!

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