14 April, 2009

Fun with Polls

No, I'm not trying to follow in PZ's footsteps. I have nowhere near that kind of clout. Besides, these are numbers we don't need to rig. And they're all professional.

I've been noticing a trend lately. The Cons throw a screaming, hysterical fit, claiming they're wailing on behalf of the people. Shortly thereafter, a poll comes out that shows the people firmly in the opposite camp. It's entertaining.

Allow me to serve you up a selection.

Here's two-in-one: the Cons claim Obama's a polarizing figure who's destroying our economy. Egads! Poll sez:

So 68% of Independents — more than two thirds — have confidence in Obama to do the right thing on the economy. That’s only three points less than the 71% overall who feel this way. Meanwhile, the same can be said of only 38% of Republicans — thirty points less than the percentage of independents who feel this way.

Two points on this. First, it illustrates a trend we’ve been seeing since 2008, and even 2006: A merging of the attitudes of independents and Democrats. And second, it illustrates that the American people’s starkly polarized attitude towards Obama — something that was a big topic last week — continues to be driven largely by increasing Republican isolation.

If by "polarizing" they mean "liked by everyone except batshit fucking insane wingnuts and their dupes," then Obama is indeed polarizing.

But what about all the horrible Europeanizing of America? Americans hate Europe - right?

Research 2000 conducted a poll for Daily Kos gauging public attitudes about San Francisco, New York City, France, and Europe in general. Both San Francisco and New York both enjoy broad favorable numbers, but I was especially interested in the other parts of the poll.

* "Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the country of France?"

Overall, 61% of Americans have a favorable impression of the U.S. ally, including majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. The favorable impression was strong in the Northeast, West, and Midwest, and the only constituency with an unfavorable opinion of France was Southerners.

* "Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the continent of Europe?"

Similarly, 63% have a favorable impression of Europe, which also spanned every party. Again, the only group who doesn't have a favorable opinion of the continent is Southerners.

Question: is it too late to let the South secede from the Union?

Okay. So Cons have struck out on polarizing, bad for the economy and Europe is icky, but surely we can all agree with Dick Cheney that America is totally less safe with a dirty yellow Dem in office:
Last month, former Vice President Dick Cheney complained that President Obama’s policies “raise the risk…of another attack” in the U.S. Since then, numerous government officials — including Gen. David Petraeus and Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) — have spoken out against Cheney’s remarks. Now, a new CNN poll shows that the American public also view Cheney’s claim with disregard. According to the poll, 72 percent “disagree with Cheney’s view that some of Obama’s actions have put the country at greater risk with 26 percent agreeing with the former vice president.”
Nope. But we're in accord on "Dick Cheney is a dick."

But, y'know, socialism, now, that'll surely be different. No way Americans can like socialism!

Maybe the smears didn't connect because people don't think "socialism" is all that bad.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 20% disagree and say socialism is better. Twenty-seven percent (27%) are not sure which is better.

Adults under 30 are essentially evenly divided: 37% prefer capitalism, 33% socialism, and 30% are undecided. Thirty-somethings are a bit more supportive of the free-enterprise approach with 49% for capitalism and 26% for socialism. Adults over 40 strongly favor capitalism, and just 13% of those older Americans believe socialism is better.

Specifically, Rasmussen asked respondents, "Which is a better system -- capitalism or socialism?" A narrow majority (53%) supported capitalism as the superior system. One in five backed socialism, and a surprisingly high 27% weren't sure.

You just can't have an effective red scare with numbers like these.


Wait... taxes! Of course Americans don't like taxes!

But these are the numbers I was especially interested in.

Almost three-quarters of Americans think it is a good idea to raise taxes on people making more than $250,000 per year. In fact, two-thirds of Americans think the tax code should be changed so that middle-class Americans pay less than they do now and "upper income" people pay more. [...]

Fifty-seven percent of Americans say they are willing to pay higher taxes in order to provide all Americans with health care coverage.... Asked which domestic policy area the president and the Congress should focus on other than the economy, thirty-five percent said health care, the top choice.

Something for lawmakers to keep in mind. Fox News, Limbaugh, and far-right bloggers may be outraged by a progressive agenda, but the public in general seems to think it's a good idea.

Noooooo! It can't be! Americans hate taxes - this country was founded because people got pissed off about taxes! Surely it's not just the tea baggers who're angry!

In its annual Economy and Personal Finance poll, Gallup has found that Americans view of income taxes are the second most positive they’ve been since 1956, with 48 percent saying that the amount of federal taxes they pay is “about right.” Forty-six percent say they’re “too high.” According to Gallup, the more positive sentiment — which increased among both lower- and middle-income Americans, but not upper-income Americans — is likely due President Obama’s stimulus and budget plans:

The slightly more positive view this year may reflect a public response to President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus and budget plans. He has promised not to raise taxes on Americans making less than $250,000, while cutting taxes for lower- and middle-income Americans. The latter has already begun, as the government has reduced the withholding amount for federal income taxes from middle- and lower-income American workers’ paychecks.

The poll also found that 61 percent of Americans “regard the income taxes they have to pay this year as fair,” a view that has not changed much in the past six years.

I think we can stop right there. The evidence is clear: whatever the Con talking point is, you can bet the clear majority of Americans think exactly the opposite. It would be sad if it wasn't so damned funny.

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