11 February, 2006

Pew Poll: Bush a Drag On GOP Candidates; Hillary Seen as Leader of the Dems

Pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee -maybe even a 24-ouncer- and get ready for some good reading.

The latest national politics poll released by the Pew Research Center at the end of this week has lot's of interesting stuff to digest. Here are the highlights.

One thing seems clear from the poll. President Bush's diminished popularity looks to be hurting the GOP's chances this fall. Bush's impact on the race at this point seems to be just the opposite of what it was back in the fall of 2002, the time of the last mid-term election. Back then, 30% of voters said they thought of their congressional vote as a vote in support of Bush, while 20% said they would use their congressional vote to express displeasure with the president. Now, as we head into another mid-term election year the figures are reversed, with 31% saying they'll use their congressional vote as a vote against Bush and 18% saying their vote will signify their support of the president.

The drop in support seems to be coming mostly from voters identifying themselves as independents. According to the Feb. 9 Pew numbers, 51% of registered independents said they'll vote for a Democrat for Congress this year while 32% favor Republicans. Among voters registered with one of the two major parties, nine in 10 say they will vote with their party.

One bright spot for the GOP in the poll. By 41% to 37%, more voters think the Republican Party has better leaders than the Democrats.

Asked who they think of as the leader of the Democratic Party these days, more people - Democrats and Republicans alike - answer Hillary Clinton. Among all voters, 26% named the New York senator as the party's national leader and 14% picked her husband, former president Bill Clinton. The party's institutional leaders - Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid - barely moved the needle, coming in at under 5%

Can we read from all of this that while the country may be moving in the direction of the Democrats, there's no effective leadership to harness the shifting winds? I guess we'll have to wait 'til November to find out.


There's good news in the Pew poll for journalists and those who cherish a free press. The image of the news media has taken a nice jump since its re-awakening last fall. Since its aggressive coverage of the post-Katrina fiasco and its Johnny-come-lately expose of the pre-war intelligence "mismanagement" - if you will, the press' popularity has spiked. Back in October 52% of voters polled by Pew said they had a favorable view of the news media. In the latest poll 59% now look favorably on the job the media is doing. More to the issue of a free press, 56% of those polled said it is more important for the news media to report stories they feel are in the national interest while 34% believe it is more important for the government to censor stories on national security grounds. Back in November 2001, right after 9-11, government censoring ruled the day, 53% to 39%.


Other tidbits from the poll: Corruption is generally seen as bipartisan and nothing new. The health care system needs fixing and distrust of the federal government is on the rise, although the Supreme Court seems to still fare pretty well. Click the link above to see all the details.


At 11:39 AM, Anonymous Sam said...

It's too bad those polled see corruption as a bipartisan issue. The fact of the matter is that while both parties have corrupt politicians in them, the Abramoff scandal is the most staggering example of institutional corruption since Watergate, and it's very likely even bigger than that. The fact that the media reports that Abramoff gave money to Democrats as well as Republicans shows they aren't doing their job as well as people think.

Here is a snippet from Paul Krugman's column of Jan. 30, 2006: "But the tribes were already giving money to Democrats before Mr. Abramoff entered the picture; he persuaded them to reduce those Democratic donations, while giving much more money to Republicans. A study commissioned by The American Prospect shows that the tribes' donations to Democrats fell by 9 percent after they hired Mr. Abramoff, while their contributions to Republicans more than doubled. So in any normal sense of the word ''directed,'' Mr. Abramoff directed funds away from Democrats, not toward them."

Read the whole thing at: http://select.nytimes.com/search/restricted/article?res=FB0617FA355B0C738FDDA80894DE404482


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