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Old 12-17-2003, 06:19 PM   #1
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Good News for Bush, Bad News for Dean

Poll: Saddam's capture boosts Bush's ratings
Dean retains lead among Democrats in latest survey

Wednesday, December 17, 2003 Posted: 5:13 PM EST (2213 GMT)


The president also has a lead of more than 20 percentage points over Democratic front-runner Howard Dean in a hypothetical matchup among registered voters, the poll found.

In the battle for the Democratic nomination, Dean still outdoes his eight rivals, but poll results show that Saddam's arrest may have blunted the candidate's momentum somewhat after he won an endorsement from former Vice President Al Gore.

Among poll respondents interviewed Monday and Tuesday, 63 percent said they approved of Bush's job performance, while 34 percent disapproved. The approval rating is Bush's highest since June and is a significant gain over his rating of 50 percent a month ago.

By contrast, in a poll done Thursday to Saturday, before news of the capture broke, Bush's approval was 54 percent, with 43 percent expressing disapproval.

The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the most recent survey.

The poll also showed that Americans are increasingly supportive of, and optimistic about, the U.S. effort in Iraq.

About six out of 10 respondents say it was worth going to war. A majority also think Bush has a clear plan for Iraq and that the war has made the United States safer from terrorism.

The poll showed that Dean -- who has boosted his candidacy with opposition to the Iraq war -- trails Bush head-to-head among registered voters.

Bush leads 60 percent to 37 percent, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points, the survey found. In polling directly before Saddam's capture, Bush was ahead of the former Vermont governor 52 percent to 44 percent.

The new poll also showed retired Gen. Wesley Clark, another Democratic hopeful, running better against the president than Dean. Bush is still ahead of Clark among registered voters, 56 percent to 40 percent, the survey said.

Bush also leads U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Connecticut, 59 percent to 38 percent in a contest among registered voters, according to the poll.

In a CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll taken the week before Gore's endorsement, Dean's support stood at 25 percent among registered Democratic voters. It rose to 33 percent after Gore gave his seal of approval December 10 to the candidate. But in the polling after Saddam's capture, support for Dean had retreated to 27 percent.

The margin of error for poll results among registered voters who say they are Democrats or lean Democratic was plus or minus 5 percentage points.

In the latest poll, Lieberman and Clark ranked second behind Dean, tied at 12 percent among registered Democratic voters. U.S. Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri and U.S. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts followed, tied at 7 percent each.

Lieberman, Gore's running mate in 2000, has seen a slight increase in support since the former vice president decided to back Dean, rising from 10 percent to 12 percent. However, that number is within the poll's margin of error.

The poll also showed a continuation of a steady decline in support for Clark since the former NATO supreme commander entered the race with much fanfare in September.

After announcing his candidacy, Clark ranked first in the crowded field, with 22 percent backing in a poll. But his support has dropped by nearly half.

Seventeen percent of registered voters who say they are either Democrats or lean Democratic remain undecided a month before the Iowa caucuses, the poll found.

The poll interviewed 1,000 adults, including 356 registered voters who describe themselves as Democrats.
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Old 12-17-2003, 06:28 PM   #2
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The poll interviewed 1,000 adults, including 356 registered voters who describe themselves as Democrats
This says a lot.
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Old 12-17-2003, 06:32 PM   #3
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Are you assuming that the remaining 644 are Republicans?
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Old 12-17-2003, 06:40 PM   #4
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"This says a lot."

It does, nearly half the people polled were Democrats instead of Independents or Republicans.
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Old 12-18-2003, 12:12 AM   #5
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
Are you assuming that the remaining 644 are Republicans?
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It does, nearly half the people polled were Democrats instead of Independents or Republicans.
Nearly half? Fuzzy math?

I'm not saying the rest were Republicans. But notice they didn't state what they were. Obviously that was part of the poll, if they knew how many were Democrats.

But just playing the laws of percentages how many do you think were self described independents?
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Old 12-18-2003, 08:23 AM   #6
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If about a third of the people were Independents, a third Republicans and a little over a third were Democrats, is that representative of the American electorate? I wouldn't know to be perfectly honest. That's why pollsters do demographics. But polls have their limitations. They are only barometers of current public opinion and have been known to change.
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Old 12-18-2003, 08:30 AM   #7
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Forget the 644 others for a second, what about the 260 million odd who didn't participate?
This is why polls are so full of shit.

America should have compulsory voting.
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Old 12-18-2003, 09:21 AM   #8
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Originally posted by Angela Harlem
Forget the 644 others for a second, what about the 260 million odd who didn't participate?
This is why polls are so full of shit.

America should have compulsory voting.
I agree. Other democracies have compulsory voting. It's not a working democracy when barely half the electorate bothers to cast a ballot. Come on, vote, dammit!
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Old 12-18-2003, 10:32 AM   #9
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Compulsory voting does not make a democracy. It strikes me as the tool used in the "elections" of folks like Saddam or Castro.
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Old 12-18-2003, 10:42 AM   #10
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Originally posted by verte76
If about a third of the people were Independents, a third Republicans and a little over a third were Democrats, is that representative of the American electorate?
more like 10% dems, 10% republicans, 2% registered third party/independent, 78% unregistered, never vote and don't give a crap.
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Old 12-18-2003, 10:48 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Compulsory voting does not make a democracy. It strikes me as the tool used in the "elections" of folks like Saddam or Castro.
Or John Howard.

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Old 12-18-2003, 10:50 AM   #12
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
Compulsory voting does not make a democracy. It strikes me as the tool used in the "elections" of folks like Saddam or Castro.
Actually it's also done in Australia, which by all accounts is a bona fide democracy. Admittedly this does strike many Americans as "undemocratic", but not Australians as a whole. Yes, "elections" are a joke in Cuba, with a grand total of one legal party.
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Old 12-18-2003, 11:03 AM   #13
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Its funny you know, we sometimes have no idea how our countries are really viewed by the outside world. I visit on occasion this other forum which has a huge politics section (waaaaaay worse than in here lol) and one day there was a thread calling all the outrage at some article the guy found about an Aussie who had to pay $550 for not voting. I was reading it thinking..."What is his point here?" And it wasn't until the disbelieving American members started commenting on how ludicrous it was to have compulsory voting PLUS fine those who dont. The fine itself is only $50 but with court fees etc it escalates. Over here it is slightly different though as we are such a small nation the government need every single vote. We can't afford complacency and to leave it up to the people. We are also on the whole not so politically focused as say America and to not have it would result in very few voter turnouts.
That said though, you can never really say a leader has been elected by the choice of the people when not everyone has had their say. Like it or not, at least this way you are guaranteed to get the leader who has the most seats.
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Old 12-18-2003, 05:08 PM   #14
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If statistics are any guide, that sample is sufficient.

However, two things come into question for me.

1) How was the question worded?

2) What was the personal bias of the officials in charge of the poll?

There have been plenty of studies to show that a poll can be influenced just on the basis of word choice. Using synonyms of the same meaning can make a world of difference.

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Old 12-18-2003, 05:49 PM   #15
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I agree Angela. Compulsory voting is considered democratic in Australia but not the U.S. Americans think there is something undemocratic in compulsory voting. I abhor not voting because it's throwing away your rights. I happen to think the U.S. would be stronger if more than half the electorate voted in an election, but obviously about half of my fellow Americans do not agree with me. This in turn shocks many Europeans as well as Australians. But the government doesn't need the votes to *function* and as long as it doesn't it's not going to do anything about people who don't vote. In some countries they throw out a vote if the turnout is too low. There was recently a controversy in Serbia about an election with really low turnout, they wanted to throw it out but it was allowed to stand after some controversy.
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