You know, this poll is just fascinating, in a sort of odd way. The results of the first three questions can essentially be summarized as: we dunno, we love George! (ed. -- the nation is insane, clearly) and we dunno. The next two questions would perhaps perturb His Shrubberyness, if he actually gave two bits what the American public truly seems to want: by resounding margins, the public would strongly prefer to jettison the tax cuts and preserve Social Security surpluses so that we can afford our old age. The "War on Terrorism" questions can essentially be summarized as "we think it's at least somewhat important to kill 'em all", but then, the questions themselves were tactfully bloodthirsty. (Question 9 can actually be bundled in with this set, as it's essentially a portmanteau restatement of the same damn question. In fact, so are Questions 10-12. Why Gallup felt the need to hammer away at the same points with relatively little change, I'm not quite sure.)
Then we get the whipsaw change of direction into campaign finance reform. That has to be the sort of thing that just confuses the hell out of a respondent. One moment, we're talking about budget surpluses and Social Security and tax cuts, and then there's a relatively deft segue into the War on Terrorism, and then there's this abrupt, "do you favor or oppose Congress passing new campaign finance laws?" In any event, most people seem to have an interestingly clear eyed view that (a) campaign finance reform is necessary, and (b) it won't do any good. I'm not at all sure that it pays to have the public being that cynical about something, even if the cynicism is justified. That's the sort of attitude that tends to lead people away from voting, because they feel it makes no difference at all what they do.
And then there's the final question about Dr Evil ... er, pardon me, the Axis of Evil. Now, perhaps it's just me ... but it strikes me that a question in which the choices are "evil" and "not evil" is, perhaps, just a touch biased. I realize that this is the term that the Shrub used, but a pollster really ought to know better than to ask a question that leading.Posted by iain at February 12, 2002 11:02 AM