You may have seen reports

You may have seen reports of this Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll, which shows President Bush holding steady at a 74% job approval rating. But there are some interesting data if you keep reading. One oddity is that Bush’s personal favorability rating has dropped rather suddenly from the upper 70’s to 69%. Maybe this is random variation; there is no obvious explanation. It seems noteworthy, however, that Bush’s job performance rating now may exceed his personal popularity. Another interesting data set relates to whether the respondent would be willing to “give up some of your personal freedom in order to reduce the threat of terrorism.” The current numbers are 64% yes, 21% no. This is down a little from October 2001, but is way up from May 2001, when 33% said yes and 40% said no, which is not surprising. What’s interesting is that in May of 1996, if the data are correctly reported, the numbers were almost the same as they are now– 60% yes, 30% no. I can’t remember what happened around May 1996 to generate so much concern about terrorism. But it is interesting that peoples’ willingness to give up personal freedom apparently fluctuates so widely. Presumably that reflects the fact that “giving up personal freedom” has virtually no meaning in the abstract. Also, this poll adds confirmation that the Democrats’ attack on the Administration has misfired, as hardly anyone blames Bush for the terrorist attacks. Generally, the poll data reflect a remarkable degree of good sense and considerable realism about the war.


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