Earth warming, Gore cooling.

A mostly political Weblog.
May 14 2006 8:26 PM

Earth Warming, Gore Cooling

NYT poll's double-secret buried lede.

(Continued from Page 2)

**--The exception, illlustrated by the LAT's "wikitorial" experiment, would seem to be when any initial errors will be seized on by powerful enemies of innovation. A wikitorial was a perfectly reasonable thing for the Times to try--all the more reasonable because it seemed slightly crazy. When hackers managed to post child porn to the site, the entrenched Times bureaucracy and outside Times critics rose as one and said, "See!" The paper retreated, validating the idea that this was a horrible black eye. An alternative would have been to fix the security problem and let the experiment continue. The wikitorial would have survived or died a natural death due to disinterest--and we would have found that out much quicker than if the feature had been "tested" and "developed." It's the exception that proves the rule!

Just as often, it's critics who overreact to an initial, sloppy launch who wind up looking like fools. Remember when Nikki Finke, after the Huffington Post had been up for a few hours, wrote  that it was

the sort of failure that is simply unsurvivable. Her blog is such a bomb that it's the movie equivalent of Gigli, Ishtar and Heaven's Gate rolled into one.

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Bush's Polls--The Simplified Model: John Podhoretz argues that the immigration and spending issues can't be causing the drop in Bush's poll numbers among Republicans because

he had the same immigration plan in 2004 and spent like a sailor in his first term and still had over 90 percent support during that election year.

That might go for spending, but not immigration. Bush wasn't actively pushing the immigration plan that year, was he? And it wasn't moving through the Senate.  And it wasn't on the front page. And there weren't giant media-hyped marches. Podhoretz can't bring himself to admit the obvious--that Bush's push for a "comprehensive" semi-amnesty immigration plan has been a disaster for him. Thanks presumably to Iraq and Social Security he was down to his base of 45 percent or so--and then he willfully did something that pissed off half of them. It seems pretty simple. ... P.S.: Byron York tries to complicate the picture, depicting a "three-step process." But he can't complicate it very much.

... Bush is losing support among those who have supported him for years. Why?

A look inside the latest numbers suggests several reasons, but it appears the president's stand on immigration is the biggest drag on his support among Republicans—even more damaging than the disapproval caused by rising gas prices.

Of several issues specifically covered by the Gallup poll—the economy, foreign affairs, the situation in Iraq, terrorism, immigration, and energy policy—immigration is the only area in which more Republicans disapprove of the president's policy than approve. And they disapprove by a significant margin: 52 percent of Republicans in the survey disapprove of Bush's immigration policy, versus 40 percent who approve. [Emphasis added]

Bush has lost support on other "issues" mentioned in the poll, but nothing like the seismic collapse on immigration. Can we really read a lot into, say, the relatively "high" Republican disapproval of Bush's handling of the economy--still only 26%? (71% approve.) If Republicans are disgusted with Bush over immigration, wouldn't you expect his approval across a whole range of seemingly unrelated issues to decline?

More: On RCP, Ryan Sager argues that a hard line on immigration hurts Republicans in Western swing states, and helps them only in Southern states they've got locked up anyway.  Problems with this thesis include 1) Sager seems to assume Bush had to make a big deal of immigration one way or another. He didn't. He could have kept it backburnered; 2) Bush's immigration-battered national poll ratings, however they're geographically distributed, are sapping his efficacy across the board every day and giving the press a club with which to beat him; 3) Even with Bush making immigration a big issue, Sager points only to three contested Western House seats where a hard line hurts Republicans. In none does he show that the issue is decisive, or that Republican candidates aren't able to soften their stand if necessary to fit their constituency. Are there no three contested seats elsewhere in the country--the Northeast, say--where a hard line is helping the GOP candidate? 1:49 A.M. link

Chuck Schumer can't act. But Bloomberg can! Who knew? 1:22 A.M.

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