Just As I Thought

The Fickle American People

Well, if you want an example of how wonky polls are in telling what people think, take a look at this. The Washington Post reports:

President Bush’s approval rating has surged in the wake of last week’s elections in Iraq, reversing what had been an extended period of decline, with Americans now expressing renewed optimism about the future of democracy in Iraq, the campaign against terrorism, and the U.S. economy, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News Poll.

Bush’s overall approval rating rose to 47 percent, up from 39 percent in early November, with 52 percent saying they disapprove of how he is handling his job. His approval rating on Iraq jumped 10 percentage points since early November to 46 percent, while his rating on the economy rose 11 percentage points to 47 percent. A clear majority, 56 percent, said they approve of the way Bush is handling the fight against terrorism — a traditional strong point in his reputation that nonetheless had flagged to 48 percent in the November poll.

But then, CNN reports:

President Bush’s approval ratings do not appear to have changed significantly, despite a number of recent speeches he’s given to shore up public support for the war in Iraq and its historic elections on Thursday.

A CNN/USA Today Gallup poll conducted over the weekend found his approval rating stood at 41 percent, while more than half, or 56 percent, disapprove of how the president is handling his job. A majority, or 52 percent, say it was a mistake to send troops to Iraq, and 61 percent say they disapprove of how he is handling Iraq specifically. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

So, which is it? And if it is true that his approval ratings have surged since yesterday’s pointless speech, I’m once again sickened by the ability of my fellow citizens to be swayed by an unpersuasive, mumbling, say-nothing speech.

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