Ankle Biting Pundits has an excellent analysis of the Washington Post poll that is generating a lot of comment today. Among other things, the poll purports to show declining support for the Iraq war. In addition to the excellent points made by the Pundits, the poll also over-sampled women. I also liked this comment by professional pollster Robert Moran:
Please keep in mind that most media produced polls are not very good, are done by the lowest bidder in the cheapest possible way, and are generally biased in their wording and flow. The best polling is the polling done for private clients that is never released, because this polling is done to find where voters really are and to make campaign decisions, not advocate a position or add juice to a story.
That it consistent with our experience; we sometimes have access to polling done by campaigns, and it always turns out to be more reliable than newspaper polls.
Having said that, it shouldn’t be a surprise that lots of people (whatever the right number may be) don’t think the Iraq war is worth the cost. Why would they? Anyone who relies on the newspapers believes that 1) we went to war only because of Saddam’s WMDs, and 2) there weren’t any WMDs. Further, the casual news consumer never hears about Iraq except when there is an explosion. There was an increase in support for the war following the elections in January, but that was the last time most people heard any good news.
If I were a liberal, I’d be frustrated that so many Americans continue to support the war, despite a near-blackout on the reasons for doing so.