September 5, 2010

Poll Watch: 9/5/10

This morning, I’m introducing a new feature – Poll Watch – a sampling of information from recent public opinion polls. To maintain my current unbalanced fairness, or fair imbalance, the feature will include polls from different outlets. I’ll set em up, and you can knock them down.

First, the Iraq War:
Seven years ago, according to a report in USA Today, close to 70% of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein was directly involved in the 9/11 attacks. That thinking was spread across party lines, with majorities of Dems, Reps, and Independents responding to the Washington Post poll sharing the thinking, even though, of course, there was no connection. The same article referenced a NY Times/CNN poll which included the fact that 71% of Americans believed that the US “has done a good job in Iraq since the end of major fighting”... Must be referring to that Mission Accomplished stuff we all remember. Last of note, even though at that time we supported the war, 49% of us thought that the military action was not worth the price in lives lost and money spent.

Compare those findings with a more current poll taken after we withdrew our last combat troops from Iraq. According to a new poll, in early August 69% of us opposed the war; a month later, that number had slipped to of those things that makes you go hmm? 62% think that the war was not worth it, and 80% think that the war is not over.

Gay Marriage:
When asked by CNN Opinion Research Corp whether gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to get married and have their marriage recognized by law as valid, 49% said yes and 51% said no, compared to 45% and 53% respectively in 2009.

Demographically, more women than men were in favor, and more folks under 50 than over 50 approved. Not surprisingly, Republicans and Conservatives (at 27% each) were less in favor than Dems (56%) and Moderates (55%).

Repealing the 14th Amendment:
From the same poll, 49% would favor a constitutional amendment to prevent children born here from becoming American citizens unless their parents are also American citizens, with men (53%) and whites (51%) leading the demographics. Republicans and Conservatives are heavily in favor, not surprisingly.

Last, politics and politicians:
Large majorities of Dems (74%), Reps (84%), and Independents (74%) favor term limits on Congress – overwhelmingly, 78% of all surveyed were in favor, according to a FoxNews poll. Only 22% approve of the job Congress is doing. They also asked about specific people or groups; more folks think favorably of Barack Obama than George Bush, the Democratic Party than the Tea Party, and Nancy Pelosi than John Boehner, but more than half had never heard of the man who is expecting to be the next Speaker of the House.

Interestingly, 52% think that President Obama has truly made an effort to reach across the aisle, compared with 58% who think that the Republican leadership has not really tried to work with the President. Overall, 51% are looking for more compromise and less partisan nonsense, but among Republicans, only 36% feel compromise is the right thing to do.

If that stays consistent, we’re going to be in this mess for a while.