In Midst of Media Delivering Bad News for Repubs, NBC Highlights Falling Polls

In the midst of a period when the news media have been aggressively delivering bad news for Republicans and conservatives, NBC News decided to take a poll which found the news agenda has had an impact. On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams indirectly acknowledged the media's role, asking Tim Russert: “On the big issue of Iraq, since we last polled on it, we had that Defense intelligence report come out and now this Woodward book. It's all over the media. What are the findings in the numbers?" (Indeed, Williams was so enthused about Woodward's book that he led his newscast last Thursday by plugging CBS's interview with Woodward a day before the CBS Evening News got to it.) Russert relayed how the NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey found that when asked “what effect is the war in Iraq having on war on terror?”, only 32 percent said “helping” while 46 percent replied “hurting.” Russert emphasized: “Measure that to one month ago and look at the change: A 14 percent increase in the number of people -- from 32 to 46 -- who believe the Iraq war is hurting the war on terror.” On job approval, Bush's is down to 39 percent in the poll.

Russert also explained how, when asked “based on what you've been hearing and seeing these last few weeks, which party do you believe more favorably disposed to controlling Congress?” 34 percent say Democrats and “18 percent say more favorably disposed to the Republicans, 41 percent now less-favorably disposed to the Republicans.”

From the October 3 NBC Nightly News:
Brian Williams: “As this Foley scandal was beginning to sink in across the country with voters, a brand new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll was already in the works. Our Washington Bureau Chief, moderator of Meet the Press, Tim Russert with tonight us from Capitol Hill as well. Tim, first off before we get to the numbers, I know you continue to track the damage from this kind of thing.”

Tim Russert, in DC: “Brian, rank and file Republican members back home in their districts are in a high state of anxiety. One said to me today, 'we came in as the guardians of family values. Unless our leaders fix this and fix it quickly, a lot of us could get taken down five weeks from today.'”

Williams: “Tim, to these numbers, it's important we say, our tracking started as this story started to track across the country. First off, the President.”

Russert: “The President, Brian, is back down in the 30 percent approval rating -- it is a 39 percent, 56 percent disapproval. You see one month ago, it was 42 to 53. And Brian, look at this: We asked people, 'based on what you've been hearing and seeing these last few weeks, which party do you believe more favorably disposed to controlling Congress?' 34 percent say Democrats, 23 percent less favorable to Democrats. And here's the Republican number: 18 percent say more favorably disposed to the Republicans, 41 percent now less-favorably disposed to the Republicans based on what people have been hearing the last few weeks.”

Williams: “Now Tim, on the big issue of Iraq, since we last polled on it, we had that Defense intelligence report come out and now this Woodward book. It's all over the media. What are the findings in the numbers?”

Russert: “Brian, the President has been insisting that the Iraq war is central to the war on terror and is very positive influence on that war. The American people now starting to differ. Look at these numbers. Exactly 'what effect is the war in Iraq having on war on terror?' Helping: 32; hurting: 46 percent. Measure that to one month ago and look at the change: A 14 percent increase in the number of people -- from 32 to 46 -- who believe the Iraq war is hurting the war on terror. Not the message the White House wants out five weeks to a mid-term election.”

Williams: “The numbers are on the move with a month to go. Tim Russert on Capitol Hill in Washington tonight. Tim, as always, thanks.”
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center