Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Insurgency by the numbers 

What do Americans believe?
As President Bush prepares to address the nation on Iraq tonight, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds most Americans do not believe the administration's claims that impressive gains are being made against the insurgency...

The survey found that barely one in five Americans -- 22 percent -- say they believe that the insurgency is getting weaker while 24 percent believe it is strengthening. More than half -- 53 percent -- say resistance to U.S. and Iraqi government forces has not changed, a view that matches the assessment offered last week in congressional testimony by the U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. John P. Abizaid.
Putting aside the discussion whether the insurgency in Iraq is getting worse, or better, or has stayed pretty much the same, the problem with those sorts of questions is that they contrast the opinion of Administration officials who have access to a broad range of detailed, and sometimes classified information, with the opinion of the average Joe and Joanne, formed from reading newspapers and watching TV. And if just about the only news coming out of Iraq in the mainstream media are suicide bombings and more American bodybags - as opposed to security successes - it will be very difficult for the majority to ever have a positive feeling about the situation in Iraq.

There are only so many people like Mississippi's Col. Brad MacNealy, who having returned from a tour of duty in Iraq had this message for his local Rotary Club meeting:
"There are a lot of good and positive things going on there that the national news media just won't tell you about, so I'm here to tell you what's really going on over there and not what you hear on the television or read in the newspapers. They're not putting the true picture out there, so don't believe everything you see on TV."
And the MSM will always trump Col MacNealys of this world.

By the way, the WaPo-ABC poll with its sample (file in PDF) of 34% Democrats, 28% Republicans, 32% Independent, and 6% others, seems to be once again weighted against the Republicans, even by ABC's own estimations (file in Doc).


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