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Great News in the Battleground Poll
by Bruce Walker
26 September 2003

Yesterday's Battleground poll contains contains great news -- for George W. Bush, conservatives and Republicans.

Conservatives have a number of distinct advantages over Leftists.  We have been compelled since callow youth to defend the logic and the facts of our arguments.  We expect people to disagree with us from time to time (markets mean personal choices).  We guard against excessive optimism because government and collective actions can do only a modest amount of good.  And we can read (which is why books and talk radio are dominated by conservatives.)

We have also learned from experience to ignore the headlines or spin of establishment media news stories, and to look instead for what is not stated.  Public opinion polls have long been used by Leftists to make their minority beliefs appear to reflect public sentiment.  So, while people who are asked if they support Roe v. Wade often reply “yes,” when the same people are asked if they favor restrictions or prohibition of abortion, these same people overwhelmingly say “yes” also.  Why?  Because the Left has assiduously kept them ignorant of what Roe v. Wade really says.

The Battleground Poll is perhaps the most respected poll in American politics.  Two reputable polling groups, one Republican and one Democrat, ask a battery of questions intended to reveal how people genuinely feel.  In June 2002, the Battleground Poll provided some very good news for conservatives and Republicans. 

Today, another Battleground Poll was released.  The spin by Associated Press was predictable: “Bush Facing Tough Election, Poll Suggests.”  Then the “impartial” Associated Press goes on to recite all the bad news for President Bush, and completely ignore the remarkably good news.

This poll shows that fifty-five percent of the people approve of his job as President and thirty-nine percent disapprove.  What is more important is that thirty-nine percent strongly approve of his job as President.  This is, to be sure, a drop from the astronomical levels in the 2002 Battleground Poll, but hardly the nosedive Leftists are crowing about. 

Democrat attacks on President Bush are polarizing people, but that is bad news for Leftists, not good news.  When asked whether the American people approve of President Bush as a person, a whopping sixty-seven percent do, while only twenty-five percent do not.  But that understates how well Americans like this man: forty-seven percent of the American people -- more than half who expressed any opinion -- strongly approve of President Bush as a person. 

Those pundits who proclaim that they “hate Bush” reflect the sentiment of only eighteen percent of the American people, a group almost three times smaller than the half of America that “loves Bush.” And this is before President Bush has even thrown a punch back at the nonstop venomous ad hominem attacks. 

What about control of Congress? Have things gotten worse for Republicans?  When the 2002 Battleground Poll asked Americans which party they intended to support in congressional elections, thirty-four percent were definitely supporting Republicans and five percent were leaning Republican, while thirty-eight percent were definitely support Democrats and six percent were leaning Democrat. 

The Battleground Poll released today says that thirty-eight percent of the American people would definitely vote for Republicans, while four percent would lean Republican.  Thirty-nine percent would definitely vote for Democrats, while four percent were leaning Democrat. Republicans have gained three percentage points and Democrats have actually lost one percentage point!

The most interesting changes in opinion, however, show up in two generic self-identifications.  In the 2002 Battleground Poll, thirty-seven percent of the American people considered themselves to be “Republicans” and thirty-seven percent considered themselves to be “Democrats.”  The intensity of support was roughly the same for each party.

Today, forty-two percent of the American people consider themselves to be “Republicans” while only thirty-three percent of Americans considered themselves to be “Democrats.” So in June 2002, when President Bush was riding sky-high approval ratings, America was essentially split in terms of partisan affiliation.  Since then, even as the President’s approval ratings have dropped, Republicans opened a whopping nine point lead in partisan affiliation.

But that is not the most telling finding of the Battleground Poll.  The last three Battleground Polls have yielded a result that ought to be very big news, but is strangely ignored by the establishment Leftist media. 

When Americans are asked how they consider themselves ideologically, the last three polls have placed the percentage of Americans self-identified as “conservative” at a staggering sixty percent or so while the number who self-identify themselves as “liberal” has stayed at thirty-five percent.  The poll today shows the number of people who consider themselves “strongly conservative” has risen from fifteen percent in June 2002 to seventeen percent today. 

What about “moderates?” Well, the poll allows people to identify themselves as strongly conservative, somewhat conservative, moderate, somewhat liberal, strongly liberal or unsure.  Those who are self-identified moderates or who are unsure were only six percent of the population in June 2002 and are only seven percent today.  
This is very bad news for Democrats, who have had a field day taking potshots at President Bush as he tries to save the civilized world.  Americans intensely like this decent and wise man.  Americans are overwhelmingly conservative. And when the political fighting begins in earnest, “hating Bush” and condemning “right-wing policies” will lead to political disaster for Democrats.

Bruce Walker's articles can be found at the Conservative Truth

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