A WSJ-Harris "interactive" poll purports to measure public support for various "issues that might be on the agenda of the new Congress." Here is how one of those "issues" is described:
Immigration reform to make it more difficult for immigrants to enter the U.S. and to stay in the U.S. for a prolonged length of time.
Huh? Which legislation, exactly, is this describing? (a) A proposal the Pelosi/Reid Democrats are actually planning to push? (Does it include legalization of many illegal immigrants already "in the U.S. for a prolonged length of time," thereby allowing them to stay a much longer time?) Or (b) the old enforcement-only Sensenbrenner bill? Sounds more like (b). ... The tough-sounding plan got 76% approval. ... 3:29 A.M.
Juan Cole relays non-critically an Iranian report that has the main parliamentary Shiite bloc on in the Iraqi parliament in negotiations with Muqtada al-Sadr
intended to forestall an alliance of the Sadrists with Sunni Arab parties, which would have the effect of dividing the Shiites. [E.A.]
I obviously don't understand Iraq: Aren't the Sadrist militias the ones ethnically cleansing Baghdad by killing Sunnis? (I know Sadr has tried to make alliances with Sunnis in the past, but you'd think it would be beyond that point now, especially after the Sadrist mocking of Saddam on the gallows.) Update: See Juan Cole's explanation. ... 2:44 A.M.
Tuesday, January 2, 2007
Mystery Pollster answers the call, delves deep into the competing methodologies of those crazily conflicting Iowa polls and discovers ... that the methodologies are pretty much the same. Which leaves him stumped along with everyone else, except for the possibility that "voters are not yet engaged in the race enough to have strong allegiances." ... kf's nominee for likeliest possible explanation (informed by an email from Iowa reader G.M.): There's a big difference between 1) asking voters if they "definitely plan" to go to the caucuses, and 2) asking voters if they actually participated in the 2004 caucuses. Lots of people say they "plan" to attend. That's normal! But those who have attended are the sort of pathetically unrepresentative hard core activi ...sorry, committed citizens who make up the tiny sliver (6%) of Iowa voters who actually show up and choose the winner. ... In this case, the merely aspirational caucusgoers pick Clinton, while the hard core goes for Obama--a result consistent with the idea that Obama is capturing those who think a lot about politics, while those who don't think as much about politics haven't yet been hit by the wave. ... P.S.: The Dem hard core would also be more anti-war, and thus anti-Clinton. ... P.P.S.: And the same strategic 'electability' worries that led the hard core geniuses to light on John Kerry in 2004 might cause them to reject Hillary now. ...
Update: MP says the theory is "plausible" and notes that more numbers from the competing pollsters--showing how many people their filters filtered out--might resolve the issue. 8:27 P.M.
Soft hothouse quirkiness pays off in Eat the Press'2006 Honorable Mentions--much more fun than ETP's actual, predictable (except for Hodgman) Winners. ... P.S.: "What did you do this year?" is not a question we like to ask around here, though. ... 7:21 P.M.
Arguments that Only Work in a Cocoon Dept.: Another sneering op-ed arguing the Mexican border fence has an "effectiveness" problem because in San Diego, when 14 miles were built, people stopped crossing there! They went elsewhere to cross!