Man Without Qualities

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Mickey Is All Agog ... II

A prior post suggested that reliance on that Time/CNN poll showing Bush only defeating Dean by 51-46 percent was dicey at best. That poll was ludicrously taken over the period Dec. 30-Jan 1 - and reportedly had other likely methodological problems.

A new poll is now out for CNN/USA Today/Gallup - this one taken over Jan 2-5. It shows President Bush leading a generic Democrat 56-40 percent - a sixteen percent lead very consistent with pre-Christmas polls. The President leads Dr. Dean by an even wider 59-37 percent (that's a twenty-two percent lead for those with the ability of a Lanny Davis to allow personal political bias to obscure objective realities).

Maybe all those post-New Year personal hangovers reminded poll respondents of what the national hangover would be like following a Dean Presidency?

Just asking.

UPDATE: As one savvy e-mailer has pointed out, perhaps the most striking and important aspects of this new poll are the responses to Question 14 of the survey:

In general, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States at this time?

In the Jan 2-5 period, 55% of poll respondents replied that they are "satisified" and 43% say they are "dissatisfied." In the prior Dec 11-14, 2003 poll only 50% said they were "satisfied" and 48% said they were "dissatisfied.

It has long been a virtual axiom that an incumbent president is unstoppable if that "satisfied" number exceeds 50%.

It seems to me that what has got to be absolutely terrifying to the Dems right now is that these poll numbers are coming out this early - and at a time when people are starting to think seriously about the 2004 election and when it looks like both the economy and foreign matters are both on the uptick.

One could get too cocky, but barring some huge surprise (who can say what the political effect of a commandeered airliner crashing into the Capitol in August would be?), a lot more people should be seeing the country as being on the "right track" as hiring picks up and the middle east simmers down. Worse for the Dems, the current poll numbers don't really reflect things like the Afghan constitution, the Libya developments, the Syrian overtures and many more positive developments that have already happened or are almost hard-wired to happen. My guess is that by the time November rolls around anyone who has been campaigning on the message that the Iraq and/or Afghan wars have not moved the world much closer to peace and American security is going to look completely ridiculous. And if the economy is performing, class-warfare arguments don't get much traction. So what do the Dems use regardless of which candidate they make the nominee?

I think that's why people like Lanny Davis and many of the liberal TV talking heads (and the polling Zogby!) are rather desparate to see the pre-Christmas poll numbers as a mere "post-Saddam-capture bounce." But I don't think it is a "bounce." If anything, failure to capture Saddam was a continuing drag that is now permanently gone (I use "permanent" here to mean "persisting until election day"). The Afghan constitution and Libya developments are also likely permanent - and should have a growing effect on public sentiment in favor of the President. It would take a lot to knock the economy off between now and November, so the effect from that quarter is also likely permanent and growing.

If I'm more or less right, all that's got to be causing the Dems yet another anxiety because every day that goes by is another day in which Bin Laden might be captured. My guess is that failure to capture bin Laden is also a continuing drag on the "right direction" poll numbers - one that has been rather successfully overcome by the Administration. Nevertheless, if that drag were removed the effect should also be permanent.

For the same reasons there appears to be a lot of hopeful gloomwatching by the liberal media in stories about the ongoing decline of the dollar. People who were warning about possiblly hideous deflation a few months ago are now warning that the fall of the dollar may trigger inflation. But so far, the main effect domestically has been an increase in the likelihood that more manufacturing jobs will be created in the US. It must be very frustrating for the Dems right now.

Of course, 10 months is an eternity in politics. Howard Dean, for example, probably feels like 10 weeks is an eternity right now.

Comments: Post a Comment