Polling Data: You Gotta Read the Fine Print

November 12th, 2005 10:07 AM

The Associated Press, in coordination with IPSOS, conducted a poll from November 7 through November 9, 2005.  The poll questions revolved around President Bush and the direction that the United States was headed. The poll results were reported by Will Lester in the AP article, “Poll:  Most Americans Doubt Bush’s Honesty”.

According to the IPSOS report on the poll, 1000 adults were interviewed. Only 837 were identified as registered voters – 78% according the percentages cited in the report.  Out of the 1000 adults, only 40% were identified as Republicans – either strongly or moderately Republican.  Those identified as Democrats constituted 51% of the total adults interviewed.  Independents and those “not sure” made up 9% of those polled.  This puts President Bush and his administration at a 60% disadvantage from the beginning.  So much for a true picture of opinions as President Bush garnered 51% of the popular vote in November 2004.

Those believing that the country is headed in the wrong track came out to 64%.  The margin of error in the poll is + or – 3%.  Now looking at the percentage of Democrats and Independents (60%) and factoring in the margin of error, the difference is 1%. Okay so 1% of Republicans believe we are headed in the wrong direction or are not sure where we are headed. (The “not sures” always astounds me – either yes or no for goodness sakes!)

Every single question on the poll ended up with a disapproval rating between 53% and 69%.  The lowest, 53%, was in response to the President’s handling of the Hurricane Katrina aftermath.  The highest, 69%, was in response to the President’s handling of gas prices. (Yes I know – the President actually has minimal impact on gas prices.) Once again, the skewed demographics of those polled affected the results of the percentages.

The poll really gets interesting when it comes to the characteristics of President Bush.  Eighty-two percent listed the President as “stubborn”. “Decisive” came in at 57%, “strong” at 54% and “likeable” at 52%. Now keep in mind that only 40% of the respondents are Republicans.  Uh-oh – even with the margin of error, it looks like some Democrats think kindly of the President.  Stubborn, decisive, strong and likeable are not bad traits for a president, especially when we are at war with terrorists.  Do you want a President that is wishy-washy, indecisive, weak and not liked?  I certainly don’t.

Even in the areas of “ethics” and “honesty” the President garnered 47% and 42% positive responses.  Not bad when you are starting out with a 60% handicap. 

But if you read Will Lester’s article, you would think that all but 37% of the United States disapproved of President Bush.  Lester conveniently forgot to cite the true demographics of those polled.  Not one single mention of registered voter percentage and certainly not a mention of the political leanings.  If that was actually reported, it would completely undermine the poll results.  We certainly cannot have a President with a positive approval rating.  That would not fit in with “the plan”.  You know, the plan to portray the President as weak and failing so the Dems can trumpet it around the world. The plan to get back into power while sending the message to the terrorists that the United States has thrown in the towel. Thank goodness we have a President who rules with his heart and his mind instead of by polling data.  Especially when the results are more misleading and fictitious than a CBS memo.