[A] New York Times/CBS News poll showed that though just 1 in 4 Americans believe that the United States has a responsibility to intervene in the Syrian conflict, more than 90 percent of the public is convinced that putting all 535 representatives of the United States Congress on the ground in Syria—including Senate pro tempore Patrick Leahy, House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and, in fact, all current members of the House and Senate—is the best course of action at this time.
“I believe it is in the best interest of the United States, and the global community as a whole, to move forward with the deployment of all U.S. congressional leaders to Syria immediately,” respondent Carol Abare, 50, said in the nationwide telephone survey, echoing the thoughts of an estimated 9 in 10 Americans who said they “strongly support” any plan of action that involves putting the U.S. House and Senate on the ground in the war-torn Middle Eastern state. “With violence intensifying every day, now is absolutely the right moment—the perfect moment, really—for the United States to send our legislators to the region.”
“In fact, my preference would have been for Congress to be deployed months ago,” she added.
Citing overwhelming support from the international community—including that of the Arab League, Turkey, and France, as well as Great Britain, Iraq, Iran, Russia, Japan, Mexico, China, and Canada, all of whom are reported to be unilaterally in favor of sending the U.S. Congress to Syria—the majority of survey respondents said they believe the United States should refocus its entire approach to Syria’s civil war on the ground deployment of U.S. senators and representatives, regardless of whether the Assad regime used chemical weapons or not.
In fact, 91 percent of those surveyed agreed that the active use of sarin gas attacks by the Syrian government would, if anything, only increase poll respondents’ desire to send Congress to Syria.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that the management of this year’s Sex Week at Yale circulated a questionaire inquiring about Yale students’ sexual histories, whether they’d ever had sex for money, and what sort of activities had they participated in. Campus Reform blog
I personally smiled sardonically and shrugged when the Daily Mail swallowed this silliness whole and when one editorialist at NR online also climbed on board, worrying aloud about what all this pre-matriculation-at-college debauchery must say about the state of our civilization.
The Daily Mail is a British newspaper and, let’s face it, some of the guys who write for NR do not have personally an Ivy League background, so a little confusion about the meaning and validity of that particular poll was understandable. But, as the French flavorfully put it: “Il ne faut pas de enculer des mouches” [One does not sodomize flies]. I decided not even to dignify this nonsense by remarking on it.
I was clearly wrong. Some flies will keep demanding attention until they get it.
First of all, a few days ago, on Facebook, a prominent conservative intellectual I know (who did not go to Yale), was linking another instance of the one-out-of-ten-Yale-undergraduates-have-been-hookers news meme. So, I intervened and pointed out that in evaluating all this, one needed to reflect on in just what way the typical Yale undergraduate is likely to respond to blithering, intrusive, and basically bizarre questions about his-or-her sex life written up in ridiculous form by a professional “sexologist” who operates a suburban store selling dildos. I was only surprised that number of affirmative answers to the weirder questions was so low.
More recently, even Glenn Reynolds (who went to Yale Law, and ought to know better) was repeating this important meme.
March 21, 2013
HIGHER EDUCATION UPDATE: Nine Percent of Yale Students Surveyed Say They’ve Accepted Money for Sex. “Nine percent of Yale University students who participated in a recent survey on sexual behavior reported having been paid for sex at least once. Three percent said they had participated in bestiality, and more than half said they had ‘engaged in consensual pain’ during sex.”
When I read this sort of thing, I think back fondly to Ken Kesey appearing at Yale, during the Revolution, to announce to the nation his candidacy for the presidency (opposing Richard Nixon in 1972). Kesey was visibly inflamed with self-righteous political passion, egomania, and some sort of mood altering substances. He proudly delivered his diatribe, and began taking his bows while condescendingly accepting questions from the audience.
The Yale undergrad questioners began cruelly playing with Kesey like some cats playing with a mouse. They gravely expressed agreement with his nonsensical propositions, and deliberately and skillfully drew him farther and farther out along fanciful limbs of patently ridiculous claims pertaining to his qualifications for high office and elicited from him some extremely potentially embarassing proposals for national policies involving sex, drugs, and Rock & Roll. Then, the audience began mocking him. People asked unkind questions, like whether he might not be too stoned to campaign effectively. Kesey became infuriated, and he began exchanging invitiations to come up and fight him for catcalls from the floor. And that was how the audience at Ken Kesey’s presidential campaign announcement at Yale sank that campaign on its opening night.
Someday, boys and girls, I should tell you what we did to Norman Mailer, but that is another story. In any event, it is necessary to bear in mind, that most people who get into Yale are very, very bright, and that Yalies have a tendency to mock fools.
An interesting little factoid has emerged from a new Fox News poll of U.S. voters: Personal sentiments are strong and defiant among many U.S. gun owners.
Question 46 in the wide-ranging survey of more than 1,000 registered voters asks if there is a gun in the household. Overall, 52 percent of the respondents said yes, someone in their home owned a gun. That number included 65 percent of Republicans, 59 percent of conservatives, 38 percent of Democrats and 41 percent of liberals.
But on to Question 47, addressed to those with a gun in their home: “If the government passed a law to take your guns, would you give up your guns or defy the law and keep your guns?”
The response: 65 percent reported they would “defy the law.” That incudes 70 percent of Republicans, 68 percent of conservatives, 52 percent of Democrats and 59 percent of liberals.
Mona Charen argues, I think correctly, that polls (filled with dubious and completely hidden assumptions) this year have succeeded in burying electoral reality, at least as far as the media reporting sources are concerned.
‘I don’t know,” a very wise and skeptical Washington political analyst confided to me on Sunday as I limned the Romney victory I foresee. “I’d like to believe it,” she said, “but I have to overlook a lot. If you’re right, then a whole lotta state polls have to be wrong.”
Very true. But I’ll climb all the way out onto a limb and assert that the state polls are wrong — or at least misleading.
Every four years we complain that the press covers the presidential contest as a horse race. This year sets some sort of new standard. This is the year when polls ate the campaign.
And El Rushbo observes: Everthing, except the polls, points to a Romney landslide.
Personally, I think presidential election are usually easy to predict. You can tell when Americans generally are tired of the incumbent and inclined to give the other side a chance. You can tell when times are bad and people are going to vote out an administration they hold responsible.
By any rational criteria, the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama has been a disaster. Obama made countless grandiose promises. He told Americans that he would bring an end to racial animosity, that his administration would be unprecedentedly honest and open, that you could watch his proposals and initiatives being drafted on CSpan.
He broke every single one of those promises. He has governed autocratically, appointing more Czars and undertaking more innovative end runs around the law than any previous president in history. His signature achievement, Obamacare, was occultly drafted in closed backrooms, no CSpan, and it was then rammed through a Congress, unread, in the face the opposition of a much larger national majority than voted for Obama for the presidency.
His Justice Department has been flagrantly biased and corrupt, and his administration has been rife with scandals and cover ups.
He ran a bitter and divisive campaign in which he declined to offer any new meaningful promises and in which he had great difficulty taking credit for any positive achievement, unemployment, poverty rates, and gasoline prices all being higher than when he was first elected.
I can’t see any reason why today’s result should look different from 1980’s.
The Pew poll is devastating, just devastating. Before the debate, Obama had a 51 – 43 lead; now, Romney has a 49 – 45 lead. That’s a simply unprecedented reversal for a candidate in October. Before Obama had leads on every policy issue and personal characteristic; now Romney leads in almost all of them. Obama’s performance gave Romney a 12 point swing! I repeat: a 12 point swing.
Romney’s favorables are above Obama’s now. Yes, you read that right. Romney’s favorables are higher than Obama’s right now. That gender gap that was Obama’s firewall? Over in one night:
Currently, women are evenly divided (47% Obama, 47% Romney). Last month, Obama led Romney by 18 points (56% to 38%) among women likely voters.
Seriously: has that kind of swing ever happened this late in a campaign? Has any candidate lost 18 points among women voters in one night ever? And we are told that when Obama left the stage that night, he was feeling good. That’s terrifying. On every single issue, Obama has instantly plummeted into near-oblivion. He still has some personal advantages over Romney – even though they are all much diminished. Obama still has an edge on Medicare, scores much higher on relating to ordinary people, is ahead on foreign policy, and on being moderate, consistent and honest (only 14 percent of swing voters believe Romney is honest). But on the core issues of the economy and the deficit, Romney is now kicking the president’s ass.
Rick Wilson looks at what’s been going on recently in the campaign.
The trick the Obama campaign has executed beautifully this month is to demoralize and dismay the GOP base. A combination of a very, very, very heavy TV buy in swing states (pay attention, because this is a rabbit they can’t pull out every week), a fierce assault on Romney at every turn (abetted by a cooperative press that loves the taste of blood) and a series of public polls that have played into a self-reinforcing narrative that Obama is inevitable.
The trick is a good one, and to judge from the wailing and lamentations on our side, it’s been working.
But it’s just a trick.
Let’s pull back the curtain, shall we?
The polling-validity battle has gone on for weeks now, and I’ll skip recounting the arguments on both sides. Yes, they’re playing 2008+ model games. No, it isn’t a just a conspiracy by the liberal media. Yes, the race is closer than the public polls show – on either side. The poll coverage looks the way it does because the media monster is always hungry, confirmation bias is like slipping into a warm bath and the herd runs the same direction, despite the facts.
See? You just saw one of the wires that make the trick work.
The polling is presented superficially, with typically only the toplines and a degree of analysis that is facile at best. There’s no context, history or depth. I’ve covered this problem a bit here and here.
So the polls became part of the message of chest-beating triumphalism by Team Obama. The drumbeat of Obama’s glorious, inexorable ascension to another four years in the Oval Office is something Chicago feeds to the media, but doesn’t for a second believe themselves.
The entire purpose of the last two weeks on their side is to game early voting. That’s it. It’s not about the end game, but rather an attempt to roll up some numbers in key states before the debates start and the campaign joins in earnest. They’re desperate to have you demoralized, depressed and sitting home in your living room, grumbling at Fox instead of voting early.
The Democrats know very well this race will tighten even further toward the end, and that the Potemkin Village of polls showing Barack Obama with a double-digit lead is just that.
They know that all the balls Obama is juggling now are, statistically and politically, impossible keep airborne. They know the run of Obama-is-God stories will collide with reality, whether economic, diplomatic or political. They know that Romney’s spending is catching up, fast, and will peak in the last week of October in a furious orgy of television ads and a get-out-the-vote program like nothing the GOP has done before.
Doug Schoen, Bill Clinton’s former pollster, in the Wall Street Journal, investigated just who is participating in the Occupy Wall Street protest and what they really represent.
[T]he Occupy Wall Street movement reflects values that are dangerously out of touch with the broad mass of the American people—and particularly with swing voters who are largely independent and have been trending away from the president since the debate over health-care reform.
The protesters have a distinct ideology and are bound by a deep commitment to radical left-wing policies. On Oct. 10 and 11, Arielle Alter Confino, a senior researcher at my polling firm, interviewed nearly 200 protesters in New York’s Zuccotti Park. Our findings probably represent the first systematic random sample of Occupy Wall Street opinion.
Our research shows clearly that the movement doesn’t represent unemployed America and is not ideologically diverse. Rather, it comprises an unrepresentative segment of the electorate that believes in radical redistribution of wealth, civil disobedience and, in some instances, violence. Half (52%) have participated in a political movement before, virtually all (98%) say they would support civil disobedience to achieve their goals, and nearly one-third (31%) would support violence to advance their agenda.
The vast majority of demonstrators are actually employed, and the proportion of protesters unemployed (15%) is within single digits of the national unemployment rate (9.1%).
An overwhelming majority of demonstrators supported Barack Obama in 2008. Now 51% disapprove of the president while 44% approve, and only 48% say they will vote to re-elect him in 2012, while at least a quarter won’t vote.
Fewer than one in three (32%) call themselves Democrats, while roughly the same proportion (33%) say they aren’t represented by any political party.
What binds a large majority of the protesters together—regardless of age, socioeconomic status or education—is a deep commitment to left-wing policies: opposition to free-market capitalism and support for radical redistribution of wealth, intense regulation of the private sector, and protectionist policies to keep American jobs from going overseas.
Sixty-five percent say that government has a moral responsibility to guarantee all citizens access to affordable health care, a college education, and a secure retirement—no matter the cost. By a large margin (77%-22%), they support raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, but 58% oppose raising taxes for everybody, with only 36% in favor. And by a close margin, protesters are divided on whether the bank bailouts were necessary (49%) or unnecessary (51%).
Thus Occupy Wall Street is a group of engaged progressives who are disillusioned with the capitalist system and have a distinct activist orientation.
And, what do you know? These people are not the economically distressed and the unemployed. They are your rancid communists, the lunatic fringe of the activist left, the people yearning for socialist revolution and Marxist totalitarianism, people left of Barack Obama.
The ability of the media to spin never fails to astonish.
They’ve managed to take the last debate (in which Republican rivals piled on Rick Perry), a meaningless Florida straw poll (which came out favoring Herman Cain), the former name of the location of a Perry family hunting camp, added some polling of their own (by CBS), and all the suckers are convinced that Herman Cain is the Republican front runner. Right!
The morale is: read the news a little less frequently and a lot more skeptically.
The Gallup Poll finds “the devil you don’t know” running, at this point, perfectly even with Obama.
U.S. registered voters are evenly split about whether they would back President Barack Obama for re-election in 2012 (45%) or “the Republican Party’s candidate” (45%). ...
Results from a parallel question Gallup asked during the presidencies of George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush show both of those presidents performing better on this re-elect measure at comparable points in their third years in office than Obama does today. ..
[T]he poll suggests Obama is relatively more vulnerable than former President George W. Bush at this point in his presidency.
When Gallup polled voters in 2003 to test Bush’s reelection prospects, the Texas Republican led a generic Democrat 47-39 percent.
These kind of polling results suggest that any credible Republican capable of uniting opponents of the current president, not destroyed by scandal or a major gaffe, would be able to defeat Obama.
I sincerely wish that we had a demigod like Barry Goldwater or Ronald Reagan to run, but I expect most of us will be happy to settle for anyone reliably committed to the kind of economic principles required to fix the American economy who seems to possess sufficient determination to do the job.
A new CNN Poll that Obama’s slightly improving poll numbers do not necessarily translate into electoral support.
More than half of registered voters believe President Obama will lose a bid for a second term, even as more Americans say they approve of his job performance than at any time in more than a year.
A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey, released Tuesday, shows 51 percent of registered voters, and the same percentage of adult Americans, believe Obama will lose if he runs for re-election. 46 percent say he would win.
And more voters say, at the moment, they will vote against Obama. Fully 51 percent say they definitely or probably will not vote for Obama, while 47 percent say they’re predisposed to vote for him. Independent voters would vote against Obama by a 44 percent to 53 percent margin, while he would win moderates by a much larger 55 percent to 45 percent margin.
The numbers come in the same poll that showed Obama gaining from a big positive bump. The sample of all adults approve of the job Obama is doing by a 55 percent to 44 percent margin, the highest Obama’s approval rating has gone since a poll conducted November 13-15, 2009.
I think Obama’s position would look completely hopeless, if we had an obvious strong candidate waiting in the wings to oppose him. The closest figure we have to that is Sarah Palin, who does have real star power, but who also provokes disadvantageous class antagonism, and who has given in the past much cause for concern by a propensity toward gaffes and failures to provide articulate responses. The current supposed GOP front runners, Romney and Pawlenty, are both losers of previous nomination campaigns. What has changed to make either more attractive to the Republican base? Nothing that I can see. Newt Gingrich is apparently running. And Gingrich has taken a sufficient number of unsavory and opportunistic positions that he has certainly lost credibility with serious conservatives. John J. Miller and Rich Lowry recently floated Jeb Bush trial balloons. The problem is that electing Bushes has not really worked out very well for Republicans in the past. I don’t think many of us are eager to have another representative of the Bush dynasty in the White House. The Republican Party is in great shape on Vice Presidential candidates, but Sarah Palin is extremely iffy and there is no obvious other choice for the top of the ticket. Yet.