Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Rasmussen Poll Results

A Rasmussen Reports survey found that 70 percent of Americans believe that detainees at Guantanamo are being treated "better than they deserve" or "about right." Just 14 percent agree that treatment of the detainees is similar to Nazi tactics, and 69 percent disagree with that comparison.

On job approval, the survey found that 49 percent approve of the way President Bush is doing his job, and 49 percent disapprove. Howard Dean has a favorable rating of just 25 percent and an unfavorable rating of 40 percent.

Note: Link from The Drudge Report


Blogger Esther said...

Isn't this sort of out of line with what most polls are saying these days? What do you make of it, Tom?

11:30 PM, June 22, 2005  
Blogger Kevin said...


That is not what the MSM says.


11:33 PM, June 22, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

I posted these poll reports for a couple of reasons.

First, the ratings for the leaders of both parties (Bush and Dean) are shown. You don't see that very often, for obvious reasons. Also, the public attitude toward detainee issues is shown to vary greatly from that of the major media, which reflects the sense I get in reading and talking to other people about what they think.

Second, polls are regularly manipulated to support agendas. Polling done by major media organizations is certainly no exception. Rasmussen uses a technique that's unusual, with recorded voices asking exactly the same question in exactly the same way to every respondent. While there's been some controversy about that polling method, it made Rasmussen one of the most successful of all polling organizations in the 2004 election, as analyzed by

The USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll shows Bush with a 47% approval rating and a 51% disapproval rating. This difference between the polls isn't significant, given the margins of error. However, this poll shows a difference in the way people view the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo (52% approve, 37% disapprove). In addition, people believe that Guantanamo should remain open and continue to operate by 58% to 36%. In short, both polls show that the concentrated propaganda efforts of the major media and anti-war leftists aren't working very well.

I don't think serious, professional polling organizations deliberately slant questions and results to support pre-determined outcomes. However, they generally poll in areas requested by their clients, which is probably why the Dean question isn't often asked. Beyond that, reporting on poll results by the media generally stresses whatever agenda the media pursues. That's why you see all the major media focusing on certain poll results and minimizing or ignoring other results, while conservative media stress the findings they approve of, often the ones the major media ignores.

5:51 AM, June 23, 2005  
Blogger Francesca said...

Psst...Bush is not the leader of the Republican party; Ken Mehlman is.

Most people can at least name and identify Howard Dean. Can the same be said for Mehlman?

10:28 AM, June 23, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said... the American political system, the president is recognized as the leader of his party. It's a little flexible as to who the leader of the other party is. It doesn't have to be the chairman of the national party, but at this moment it's hard to figure out who else it would be. Who would you consider to be leader of the Democrats? Reid? Pelosi? Clinton?

11:02 AM, June 23, 2005  
Blogger Gindy said...

Usually it is the DNC Chairman. But, right now, it seems like there is a lot of cooks in the kitchen. (But, they do seem to be unified).

3:26 PM, June 23, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

As I indicated in my earlier comment, political party leadership in the U.S. is sometimes an elusive concept. Here's a fairly good short discussion from Wikipedia:

Although each party has a chairman, that chairman cannot truly be considered the party's "leader" and it is often difficult to define party leadership with respect to American political parties. The parties' leaders generally are those who persuade other members to follow their leads. Often the party leaders are de facto those members of the party who hold high office, such as the presidency, or leadership in the House of Representatives or the Senate. However, such leadership only functions to the extent that other party members are willing to go along. As a formal matter, an incumbent president is considered to be the ex officio head of his party, who selects its national committee chair, as is the presidential nominee of the opposing party in an election year (though the nominee's power to oust an incumbent chair is not absolute, and has not been tested in recent years).

C-SPAN provided a quick chart to show the six traditional roles of the president, including that of party leader.

The president's role as party leader is clear. Leadership of the other major party is sometimes unclear or fragmented. While it usually isn't considered to be the chairman of the national committee, today Howard Dean seems the most logical choice, given the disarray the Democratic Party is in. Prior to 2004, it would logically have been Tom Daschle. The party presidential nominee who lost the last election has only rarely been considered to be leader of the party, and of course the hapless John Kerry cannot fill that role.

So, all things considered, it's most logical to consider Howard Dean to be the leader of the Democratic Party. Other prominent Democrats are busy squabbling with each other, and some are trying to position themselves to run for president. Dean, at least, was selected by vote of the 447 members of the DNC, so he has to get the nod.

5:16 PM, June 23, 2005  
Blogger Esther said...

Thanks for the answer, Tom. Makes a lot of sense.

6:37 PM, June 23, 2005  
Blogger Francesca said...

I still find it all a bit subjective. Dean doesn't have near the same platform as Bush. Still seems like apples and oranges to me.

7:16 PM, June 23, 2005  
Blogger John Walter said...

Dean is definitely the party chairman. And he does exercize coinsiderable, independent authority in his party, much to the chagrin of Democratic elected officials who know they need to appeal to some group other than former Deaniacs. But I'm not sure if the Dems have a single, leadership figure whom they all look to for setting their course, and that may be one of their problems. Right now, I'd say that Bill and Hill come closest to setting the tone that most elected Dems are trying to follow.

7:30 AM, June 24, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

Francesca, you're right. The very loose organization of our parties always creates this situation. It gives the party holding the presidency an advantage in fund raising, party organizing, and discipline regarding their message and their goals. We just saw a very clear example of this--the Senate Majority Leader made a decision not to pursue further votes on the Bolton nomination, the President called him to the White House, and he walked out and announced that he would, after all, press for a vote on Bolton. That's authoritative party leadership in action. No one in the Democratic Party can exercise that kind of clear-cut authority. And by the way, this is just a technical discussion. When the President is a Democrat, it's the about same way.

John, you're right. However, I think Dean has to be seen as leader of the Democrats right now, if only by default. The Clintons are obviously influential, but there are enough leading Democrats who have presidential ambitions to limit their potential as leaders. However, as a presumptive nominee for 2008 begins to emerge, assuming one does, then we'll see a gradual shift in influence. Once the party nominates a candidate, or even before that if the issue is settled in practical terms, he/she will be the de facto leader.

The Democrats have several problems now that are likely to hurt them in 2006 and, if things don't change, in 2008. If the party that doesn't hold the presidency doesn't also hold a majority in Congress, at least in one house, then they really don't have an operational power base. No one Democrat can really make things happen. That hurts them. In terms of their agenda, they're in disarray. The problem is there isn't anyone to rally them and get them headed in the same direction. At this point, they don't have an agenda of positive policy positions--it's all negative. Finally, even though Dean is prominent at this point, I think there's a chance they'll dump him. If that happens before 2006, the resulting chaos in the Party could be very damaging.

9:39 AM, June 24, 2005  
Blogger John Walter said...

If the Dems need to get rid of Dean, they would do better to get rid of him now than during the Senate campaigns. Otherwise, they should wait until right after November, 2006.

But they may not do that. I sometimes wonder if the Dems haven't fallen into a sort of good cop/bad cop (or wild liberal/moderate liberal)type of model. Dean keeps the wild-eyed folks happy and loyal: keeps them from becoming Greens or socialists or independents; and whoever gets the nod in 2008 will look refreshingly reasonable when compared to Dean. Question is: will it work?

3:36 PM, June 24, 2005  
Blogger Ruilong said...

Yes Tom, you say it "polls are regularly manipulated to support agendas"
Just look at some interesting polls. I remember that John Kerry never got better polls in Wahsington District of Columbia than up to 78%. How could John Kerry win far above that 78% and how could it be possible, GWB only made 9% in District of Columbia? Look the Republicans controlled 80% of all the voting machines like Elections Systems & Software (ES&S), Diebold, and Sequoia and now coming back to GWB's global reputation! How low has this global reputation to go until YOU will be shocked?

3:25 AM, June 27, 2005  

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