Friday, March 21, 2003

On polls

Three of four Americans support war: poll The Gallup/USA Today poll showed that 76 percent of Americans supported US President George W. Bush (news - web sites)'s decision to launch the war Wednesday. Only 15 percent of the 602 people interviewed Thursday said they strongly disapproved, and five percent disapproved but not strongly. In early February, just 34 percent approved of launching the war without UN backing. That figure rose to 47 percent last weekend. Support jumped to 66 percent following Monday's speech in which Bush gave Iraqi President Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) 48 hours to seek exile or face war.
The problem with these polls is they don't distinguish between "I support the President because I think he's doing the right thing" and "I support the President because that is what you are supposed to do in times of war". Beacuse they don't offer a clear way for respondents to distinguish between them the latter end up answering yes to the former even though it really doesn't mean what the poll suggests it means. Do they really want us to believe that Bush can give one speech and support for a unilateral campaign against Iraq could go up 42 points over night?

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