The Perils Of Polls

Charles Franklin of pollster.com, one of the better analysts of polls, demonstrates the limits of relying on both polls and pollsters. Franklin opines that there has been a significant uptick in how Americans feel the "military efforts" in Iraq are going:

So what to make of the upturn in positive views of how the war is going? Republicans (including the president) have made real progress in swaying opinion to their side, while 10 months of Democratic efforts have failed to persuade citizens that the war continues to be a disaster. The war of partisan persuasion has tilted towards the Republicans and away from the Democrats, at least in this particular aspect.

This is just wrong. Franklin takes a result, "the Surge is working," and turns it into support for the Iraq Debacle. As the most recent polling suggests, Americans seem to understand that whatever success Petraeus is perceived as having militarily (and I think not much of it personally, but that is another issue), the american People understand that the Iraq Debacle is and will be a Debacle irrespective of Petraeus' efforts. Think of it this way - the American People are blaming Bush AND the Iraqis now. Petraeus and the troops are heroic and blameless. Sometimes pollsters can't think past the questions they want to focus on. Franklin is guilty of that here. More.

Kevin Drum made a similar observation yesterday and got smeared by the Times as a reward for his insight:

Responding to my suggestion earlier today that the American public increasingly opposes the Iraq war regardless of how well it's going, Tobin Harshaw of the Opinionator says:
It's a good point, but I suspect some will feel Mr. Drum shows a bit too much pleasure in making it.
Not only is this baseless (read the post and judge for yourself), it's craven. Even worse, it's bad writing . . .

Kevin's point was simply an observation, as he notes, but more than that, Kevin and everyone SHOULD be happy that the American People can understand that Petraeus' Surge is almost wholly irrelevant to the success of the Iraq Debacle.

Everyone SHOULD take pleasure that the American People understand this. Harshaw seems to object to the American People's rise from ignorance. Pathetic of him.

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    don't mind jim, (5.00 / 0) (#5)
    by cpinva on Fri Nov 09, 2007 at 10:08:04 PM EST
    it's just not a complete day for him, if he's not thrown something inane into the mix.

    the "surge" isn't working. if it were, we wouldn't have to wait for some general's report on it, we'd have known already. it isn't like iraq is on another planet, lacking real-time communications with us.

    if it were working, our casualty rate since it started should have dropped. it hasn't, it's gotten worse. so much for someone's definition of "success".

    any poll that purports to claim the american public think the "surge" has been successful has to be questioned, with respect to its credibility. i don't believe it.

    cpinva (1.00 / 0) (#6)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Nov 09, 2007 at 10:31:39 PM EST
    If I actually thought you had the vaguest idea as to which way is up, I would pay you a small amount of attention.

    Thankfully, you don't.

    My comment merely pointed out how the Demos have thrown away the advantage they had a year ago.


    I also have an opinion (1.00 / 1) (#1)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Nov 09, 2007 at 08:46:51 AM EST
    and I think your opinion is wrong.

    Now that we have both expressed our qualifications... you took longer but they are essentially the same.... my opinion is

    What that polls are telling the Democrats is that they, prodded by the far Left anti-war people, has taken what was a gimmie putt for an egale into a 9 footer for a tie.

    You are now playing not to lose.

    My congratulations.

    Huh? (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Nov 09, 2007 at 09:52:05 AM EST
    This is nonsensical, in that I have no idea what you are trying to say.

    yes you know (1.00 / 0) (#7)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Nov 09, 2007 at 10:32:57 PM EST
    Your denial is funny.

    "The Democrats" (none / 0) (#3)
    by Deconstructionist on Fri Nov 09, 2007 at 12:54:15 PM EST
      are not capitalizing in political terms on the undeniable unpopularity of the war simply because there is, at this time no Democratic standard-bearer who espouses the "Democrats' position" on the war. There is one administration but the Democrats are many-headed and taking competing and conflicting (not to mention weak and vague)positions.

      After, we have A candidate, we will have an opportunity to change that as the view changes from one that encompasses a weak-kneed congressional leadership plus jockeying nomination candidates to one focused on our nominee for President. I use "opportunity" advisedly because the nominne will have to meet the issue head on without flinching to benefit.

    This Charles Franklin? (none / 0) (#8)
    by Ben Masel on Fri Nov 09, 2007 at 10:44:25 PM EST
    What's more, he added, even if the House of Representatives began impeachment proceedings against the president and vice president, "I don't think you can impeach the secretary of defense."