I know that I said I was done blogging for the day but this deserves a quick post. NBC and the Wall Street Journal recently ran a poll which turned up the usual heinous picture for Republicans. Sweet music no matter how many times I hear it, but something in their internals caught my eye:
Also rather problematic for Republicans: Foley is recognized by a remarkable 83% of the electorate; 69% view him negatively. House Majority Leader John Boehner and former House Clerk Jeff Trandahl are scheduled to testify before the Ethics Committee today about their knowledge of Foley’s inappropriate behavior toward pages.
Let me get this straight. Assuming that everybody who hasn’t heard of Foley views him positively out of some general sense of charity, that leaves fourteen percent of people who are aware of the scandal and who apparently view a serial child predator in a positive light. That seems somehow improbable, so feel free to correct me in the comments.
If accurate this underlines one of the quirks of the polling science that has always stumped me. Knowledgable folk often say that veneral disease would poll in the low tens. In that case I guess the idea is that it keeps people from having sex so when it isn’t rotting one’s own insides maybe the clap is a good thing. But in general no matter how heinous something is you can apparently find a significant number of people who support it.
Now consider that approval of the Republican Congress has sunk to sixteen percent. How bad is that? Only three more points and Congress will poll worse than Mark Foley and, if rumors hold up, smallpox.
Isn’t it more likely that we are seeing flaws in the polling model and methodology, rather than actual reflection of opinion here?
13 percent had no opinion, obviously.
Um, I’m not going to try and make the pro-Foley case, but it does seem to me like there are a non-trivial number of people who believe Foley didn’t really do anything wrong, no crime was committed, age of consent blah blah blah. Included within this number are undoubtedly a number of people who have only heard tangentially about the scandal and think that all he did was send an overly friendly email to a guy who was over 18 at the time, as Drudge tried to claim.
Maybe that 14% doesn’t actually know who he is, and they just think they do?
Republicans, smallpox – what’s the difference?
Smallpox doesn’t lie before it kills people.
There’s at least a vaccine for smallpox.
Or they confuse him with Tom Foley. Or they misunderstood or didn’t completely hear the question. Or …. they were just in a hurry to get through the survey.
I am starting to think that political polling is not good for much of anything but large, crude gross swipes at very simple expressions of opinion, and then only when the percentages are rounded off to the nearest five or ten.
I am also starting to doubt that pollsters know what the hell they are doing. One example of when they might not is the famous question pair, (a) do you support the Iraq war, and (b) do you support a pullout of US troops? Why even bother polling the second question? It’s too complex a subject to be reduced to a single polling question like that, and it simply reinforces the politicians’ desire to reduce their bullshit to short sound bytes like “cut and run.” In this case, the polling enables the manipulation and demagoguery. A lot of people will say “no” to a pullout because it’s a badly formed question, not because they think the US should stay there for any particular length of time. The fact that modern polling doesn’t really permit drilling down into a complex subject doesn’t (to me) make it appropriate to dumb down the questions and expect anything like meaningful results.
Uh…hmmm…83 – 69 = 14.
Nope, you’re right*
*Ned has a point–instead of 14% favorable, they could have voted “no opinion”, or “not sure”, etc. We don’t know what the other, more neutral (read: options other than “favorable”) options were in this poll.
Actually, the poll shows only 4% viewing him positively — versus 69% negative, 10% Aren’t Sure, and 17% Whooze He?
The entire poll, by the way, can be found at MSNBC’s site in the “Politics” section (“Big Democratic Gains Likely on Election Day” — follow the link from there to the poll results themselves).
Actually, that 4% positive figure is somewhat encouraging, given that 15% of both Americans and Britons in a recent poll said they thought the Sun goes around the Earth.
So, the word on the street is that yet another Congressman is about to get embroiled in the page scandal in the next day or two, possibly House Republican Jerry Weller…
This new page scandal — whichever party is involved — is consistently reported to involve a 16-year-old GIRL, which will rather put the kibosh on the attempts of the Right to turn the page scandal into an Evil Gay Conspiracy.
This new page scandal—whichever party is involved—is consistently reported to involve a 16-year-old GIRL, which will rather put the kibosh on the attempts of the Right to turn the page scandal into an Evil Gay Conspiracy.
damn, and I was really looking forward to the nascent Purge of the Gay Republican Staffers — which would have torn the GOP limb from limb, with half of its supporters (either the evangelicals, or the relatively sane but greedy) abandoning the party for years to come….
How are you so sure? What if this is Jean Schmidt’s page? Olympia Snowe’s do-good girl?
What I wouldn’t give to see the “big tent” Republican Party reduced to the pup tent Republicans. . . (innuendo intended–the problem with purges is that you can never really be sure that the ones who are left really belong or not; a gay purge might have to go further than heterosexual loyalty oaths, to actual demonstrations).
I’ve lied on phone polls before. I usually do it because I’m pissed at being dragged away from dinner and feel like throwing some noise into the machine just to punish the pollsters with the stigma of inaccuracy. Sometimes I lie if I support a measure, but loathe the politician behind it. Sometimes I just lie as an act of civil disobedience; if everone did it, maybe our leaders would do what was right instead of what the polls said.
In this case, I would lie to encourage the Republicans to stick to Foley and Hastert like glue.
Things are getting so bad for the Camp Foley Congressional Republicans that they could very well lose a seat in …. Idaho?
Good point! I sometimes get surveys in the mail from Republican pollsters, which I dutifully fill out in the hope of moving the party infinitesimally to the left. Of course, since these all end with a plea for a donation, I expect that they end up in the waste basket, unread, if they don’t have a check attached (probably even if they do have a check attached). I’ve done my small part by using the party’s postage, however.
Usually when I receive a donation request from the Grand Old Party I carefully fold up the contents and stuff them into the postage paid envelope they so thoughtfully provide.
That way they have to pay the postage on an envelope filled with their own rubbish.
The other 14% think that Mark Foley is that guy who used to be Mankind and Cactus Jack in the WWF.
A very angry 14%
Rumors flying about today regarding a possible third page scandal, this time
involving a 16 year old girl and Illinois Republican Congressman Jerry “Blue Tongue” Weller.
You just can’t trust these guys around the kids.
Maybe everyone in the States called Foley should launch a class-action lawsuit against the Patient Predator for leaving them open to potential confusion leading to acts of criminal violence? There’s form for it, over here one of our intermitent Tabloid-led ‘Paedo Pogroms’ actually led to a paediatrician’s surgery being attacked by sub-literate nutters. I kid you not.
Litigation Hour aside, it’s still on the bonkers side of bizarre that of the 14% who knew who he was, 10% actually weren’t sure what they thought of a guy who groomed underage boys so that he could nail them as soon as they turned legal, while at the same time heading up a Congressional body tasked with protecting children from people who don’t have his patience.
You’ve really got to hope that that percentage is skiwiffed by prank responders, because otherwise an awful lot of people are very, very stupid indeed.
…of the 14% who knew who he was and didn’t have an unfavourable opinion of him
You always get these inexplicable results.
I remember in 1988 Teddy Kennedy got about 80% of the vote. Dukakis only got 53% of the vote.
That means more than 25% of the voters cast votes for Ted Kennedy and George H. W. Bush. Go figure.
I don’t know if that 25% is composed of morons or people with a very perverse sense of humor.
How appropriate to file this under General Stupidity, synonymous with Tim F.’s posts. Opinion of congress is poor, not Republicans in congress. It encompasses both parties. The Americans are intelligent enough to understand that Democrats are part of the problem. If they win a net gain in November, they will have two years to demonstrate their unsuitability for national governance.
That means more than 25% of the voters cast votes for Ted Kennedy and George H. W. Bush. Go figure. I don’t know if that 25% is composed of morons or people with a very perverse sense of humor.
Well…1988, right? That 25% might have decided that things were going fine, and voted to preserve the status quo by returning a Democrat to the Senate and a Republican to the White House.
Those crafty and immoral Democrats secretly trained a crack infiltration unit of studly underage page pimps to make up baseless lies about this noble Republican for release to the liberal media just before the election. How could any of that be Foley’s fault?
That’s what Rush tells me, so I know it’s true.
Opinion of the Congressional Republicans is a lot lower than that of Congressional Democrats, Mr. Filthy. Consistently about 10 points lower in virtually all of this year’s polls, in fact; and the gap now seems to be widening. See “Polling Report” (and a lot of other places) for confirmation.
Still, it looks more and more as though you’re right on your second point: we will have at least two years to demonstrate our unsuitability for national governance. If we DO demonstrate it, then — since the Republicans have already amply demonstrated theirs — this will make for more equitable elections.
By the way, Illinois’ “ArchPundit” — who, to put it mildly, does not like Rep. Weller, and has been looking closely into today’s developments — nevertheless says that it now looks as though the Great Page Rumor about him was either a political dirty trick or an accidental distortion of a report that one of his male pages was groped by Rep. Kolbe. The latter, of course, would do WONDERS for the anti-gay bigotry problem.
Excuse me; that’s the “Capitol Fax Blog”, not ArchPundit (I got two of my most recent look-ups confused). But, to repeat, Capitol Fax does not like Weller and has made the fact abundantly clear in past entries.
Sure. One is tempted nowadays to think that two years is enough time to fuck up the country. But we can’t all be Republicans. It will take us a lot longer.
People who watch FOX News might think that but it has nothing to do with intelligence.
If the GOP Congress is only slightly more popular than smallpox, then why do so many of the House races only have the Democratic candidate ahead by 5 or fewer points?
Is this the “They all suck except for my Congressperson” syndrome?
Smallpox never voted to take away our right of habeus corpus. I’m just saying.