Behind The Fox Poll

Techniguy - 04-22-2006

On April 20, 2006, Fox News released the results of the latest FOX News/Opinion Dynamics poll which has been receiving a lot of media coverage because it showed President Bush's job approval rating at it's lowest point ever; 33%. The media has also been pointing out that 48% said they disapprove because of the war in Iraq. Polling was conducted by telephone April 18-19, 2006 in the evenings. The total sample is 900 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of Ī3 percentage points. Results are of registered voters, or those claiming to be. We know media polls are to be taken with a grain of salt but they do show a trend when compared to previous media polls. It's questionable whether the opinions of 900 people can accurately represent the overall opinion of 300 million, but this poll did have some interesting questions without all the trick wording.

There are a few things relating to this poll that the media isn't telling, but that you should be aware of. For example, 40% of those polled considered themselves to be Democrats, while 32% identified as Republicans. Sound Familiar? 23% said they were independent while 5% didn't state. Now I'm not saying that the polling was intentionally skewed to the left, I don't think it was, but it is what it is and this little fact has not been mentioned anywhere in the media to my knowledge. It's likely that they randomly polled 900 people and 360 turned out to be Democrats while 288 turned out to be Republicans, 207 turned out to be independent. This information was revealed at the very bottom of the PDF file. It's quite likely that Democrats just make better targets for pollsters and are more able and willing to participate in lengthy phone polling.

The complete poll results can be found in PDF format HERE. As shown below, the results for the first question show a 33% approval with a 57% disapproval, and 10% don't have a clue.

*** Bush Job Ratings Summary ***
1. Do you approve or disapprove of the job George W. Bush is doing as president?
PARTY BREAKDOWN                 Approve     Disapprove     (Donít know)
18-19 Apr 06                      33%            57             10
Democrats                         11%            81              8
Republicans                       66%            23             11
Independents                      27%            62             12
                                Approve     Disapprove     (Donít know)
Most recent (18-19 Apr 06)        33%           57              10
Highest (14-15 Nov 01)            88%            7               5
Lowest (18-19 Apr 06)             33%           57              10
First-Term Average                61%           29

We see above that 81% of Democrats polled disapprove which shouldn't come as any surprise to anyone after all the negative media coverage he's had and the left's hate for President Bush. The interesting thing is that 23% of republicans disapprove of Bush's job performance and we should be asking why. Well, that's exactly what the poll did but there was no breakdown on party affiliation. Of the 513 who disapprove ( 416 Democrats, 117 Republicans), 48% said it was because of the War in Iraq, while 24% said it was that Bush is doing a bad job in general, and 22% disagree with him on issues. This was not a multiple choice question with only one answer accepted, pollees responded to each part of the question if desired.

Now look at the topics listed to choose from if you disapprove:

2b. (If disapprove: n=513, Ī4%) Why do you disapprove of the job he is doing?
War in Iraq 48%
Doing a bad job--general 24%
Do not agree with him on issues 22%
Economy/jobs 17%
Don't like him 11%
Doesn't care about average people 10%
Gas prices 8%
Not doing good job fighting terrorism 4%
Environmental issues 4%
Tax cuts for the rich 3%
He's not smart 3%
Not truthful/Lies 3%
Middle East 3%
Social Security 2%
Education issues 2%
Health care issues 1%
Special interests 1%
He's Republican 1%
Other 2%
Donít know/Refused 1%

What's missing, did you notice? As a Republican, if I were asked this question today, I would What's missing, did you notice? As a Republican, if I were asked this question today, I would probably be among that 23% who say they disapprove of the job Bush is doing but my primary reason wouldn't be any of the above. It would be "immigration enforcement and the borders". I believe this is the primary reason why Bush is loosing support among Republicans. This belief is supported by several other questions further down in the poll which ask for opinions on illegal immigration. "Does the US have the right to control immigration?, Should illegals be given special treatment toward citizenship?, Is it appropriate for illegals to be protesting for changes in US law?", etc. Poll responses to these questions ranged from 70% to 90% in favor of stronger border and immigration controls and a clamp down on illegals which Bush has failed to enact or even support.

There are also Republicans who have forgotten why we're in Iraq and don't get access to conservative news like Techniguy's Newsletters and talk radio to keep them informed. I too am not happy with our current status in Iraq, I think we could be doing better, much better. We could be making better use of surveillance satellites, for example, to trace back car bombings to their source, then launch immediate raids on the location. Recruitment centers where Iraqi's gather in lines should be off limits to vehicles within a block to prevent those car bombs from blowing them up. There are a lot of things we could be doing that we are not because we are trying to get the Iraqi's to take over the security of their own country and trying to keep American soldiers out of harm's way to appease the liberals with their death counts. I am not a military expert, but it just seems to me that terrorists in Iraq are enjoying way too much freedom to do as they please. I would prefer to see martial law imposed until the Iraqi government is installed and has control over their country.

But perhaps the biggest problem with Iraq is that we do not get an accurate picture from the media, it's all lopsided. Media loves to report every time someone gets killed by the insurgents but they never report on the responses to the attacks or the enemy deaths. These attacks on friendly forces in Iraq do not go unanswered. In almost every case, friendly forces are sent out to successfully kill or capture the attackers. More insurgents are dying than are good Iraqis and Americans but this is never reported in the media. I hear about it all the time from the boots and civilians on the ground there and they too wonder why the media doesn't report it. Either the media is so insulated in their hotel that they really donít know what is happening or just don't care to report it. Media reporting, whether it's on Iraq, the economy, ethics and honesty, or anything political, it is always negative toward the Bush administration and this too contributes to his current low poll ratings.

It's interesting to note that Bush's current poll ratings are only low when compared to where they used to be. When compared to other presidents in their second term, and the approval ratings of other parts of the government, they are not bad at all. Surprisingly enough, Sec. Rumsfeld's ratings in this same poll are two points higher than Bush's at 35%, and Condi Rice has a current job rating of 60%. But what about the job congress is doing? Only 25% approve of the job congress is doing while 52% disapprove. Another recent poll shows that only 25% of Democrats support and would vote for Hillary Clinton. The net result of this poll seems to show that Americans are generally dissatisfied with government performance altogether. One interesting exception to this is the current handling of the Iran crisis. 62% support the president's position on Iran while 67% believe he is being responsible in having a war plan to attack Iran should the diplomatic approach fail.

In spite of the booming economy we now enjoy, the poll shows that only 17% believe the media has been reporting the good news, while 54% say the media reporting is negative. Since all economic indicators are now showing positive, Democrats and the media have resorted to reporting on how selected people feel about their personal finances in their effort to portray the economy in a negative light. The poll shows that a majority of participants rate the economy as only fair but when asked about their personal economic situation, 71% rate it from fair to good while 10% say it is excellent. But when asked if they feel the economy is getting better or worse, 56% think it is getting worse. An overwhelming 59% say the reason for this is the rising cost of gasoline.

This too is contributing to the president's low poll ratings as some Americans mistakenly hold the president responsible for the price of gas. The price at the pump is based the cost per barrel of oil in addition to speculation in the oil futures market, and the president has no control over that. Is there some price gouging going on? Maybe, and we don't like hearing when a oil executive receives a $400 million retirement package while we pay for it at the pump. Congress may be looking into this shortly. Some say the president should impose price controls at the pump. This would only result in the closing of gas stations and no gas for anyone. Gas station owners are not going to sell gas at a loss and they are not going to subsidize our gas purchases out of their own pockets.

If we really want lower gas prices then the only way to do that is to get rid of the liberals who have, for decades, been blocking domestic oil and energy production. Had we done this 20 years ago, our dependence on foreign oil would have been cut in half by now. Ethanol blends and nuclear electrical plants would have cut it even more. We don't need foreign oil if we could just use the resources we already have in this country and we have no one but the liberals to blame for our high gas prices at the pump. Their solution is for Americans to drive less. That is so absurd. Do they really think we are all out on the roads driving in traffic because we enjoy it? We drive because we have to. I would suggest as a test for the liberal theory would be that all liberals stop driving and give up their cars to save gas, then we can see if it will work.

The poll is really quite comprehensive and interesting, covering questions from the economy, to action on Iran, to upcoming movies about 911 and flight 93. It is my hope that President Bush's job approval ratings will improve with his new staff members and press secretary, and a more aggressive campaign to get the truth out to the people about the status of our country. But if they don't, that's ok... he's not running for reelection and will serve as an example to future candidates just how important their conservative base is to their election. They can learn that conservatives do not approve of excessive government programs and spending. They can learn that there is such thing as a "veto pen". They can learn that it is not wise to allow Mexicans to illegally invade our country using the excuse that "they do jobs that Americans won't do". They can learn that expanding government and government bureaucracy such as the DHS is not the answer to problems facing the country. They can learn that the way to reduce the national debt instead of raising it is not only through tax reductions, but also through spending reductions. Yes, Bush has made some mistakes that future candidates can learn from and use to their advantage.

The low poll ratings don't mean that anyone should be thinking about voting for Democrats instead, that would only make things worse. In fact, the whole problem with the Republican party right now, and especially those in the Senate is that everything they do must be compromised with the Democrats who want just the opposite on any issue. As Howard Dean recently stated "we are the opposition party, it's our job to oppose". Senate Republicans have been turning their backs on their conservative base way too much. Unless Republicans start standing up for conservative principles and force effective legislation through the Senate, they're just wasting their time. 2 plus minus 2 is still zero. Compromise with opposing forces results in nothing, and that's exactly what is going on in the Senate and especially with the immigration bill. I'll be writing more about this later.

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