Help me make sense of these poll results...

I’m not sure if this is worthy of GD, but I have a feeling this would end up here anyway…

Check out this Bloomberg article regarding a Pew Research Center poll:

Kerry Overtakes Bush in Swing States, Nationwide

This is is the paragraph that has my stymied:

How, for the love of chocolate and all that is decent, is the collective We coming to these oxymoronic conclusions?

I’m not at all sure which “conclusions” you are suggesting are oxymoronic. The poll is simply suggesting that Kerry is favored on some issues while Bush is favored on others. I think if you look closely, you will see that most of the issues are pretty close.

Yeah, I think you need to clarify precisely what stymied you about that paragraph. It seems clearly written to me.

That reads like Americans like the GOP for pushing the Gay Envelope.

Maybe the Log Cabin Republicans have managed to convert more children to the Agenda than HRC, or something.

Crazy day around here, and I threw the OP together in a flurry before I ran off to a meeting…

“health care, education, the environment, Iraq, foreign policy and gun control” are all morally saturated issues, and Iraq, foreign policy, and gun control can be correlated to terrorism, the reported poll results just struck me as somewhat contradictory.

Perhaps I’m just balking at a poorly executed poll. If they literally asked polsters questions like, “Which candidate do you favor with respect to morality?”, that’s one thing. But if they did some sort of analysis (as I suspect they did) to come up with those categories and results, I don’t see how Kerry could lead with respect to the majority of the morally saturated issues, while Bush leads in overal morality.

OHh, I thought that might be what you were refering to. I didn’t want to go off on a rant without checking though.

Basically, all you are seeing here are different uses of the word “morality”. You are right that the issues in which Kerry polled ahead of Bush are “morally saturated issues”. However, that is not the sort of thing people think of when asked “Which candidate will handle the issue of ‘morality’ better”. As I used the word question in that question, people make all sorts of assumptions about which morality they are talking about. Those assumptions do not necessarily match the particular moral principles they might use to judge candidates possible performance on other issues like the health care or education.

For instance, when you ash about the “issue of morality” many people think of church attendance or school prayer. However, when you ask about education, few will quote the bible or even their local minister.

The point I’m trying to make (in my confused and round about way) is that while ““health care, education, the environment, Iraq, foreign policy and gun control” are all morally saturated issues”, morality itself is a political issue and it is not necessarily related to the others. At least not in the way you might think.

Did you whoosh me, or did you really not understand that the poll was showing that many people are actually in favor of the ban on gay marriage

It seems clear to me. A majority of the people polled apparently believe that Bush is best able to deal with the issues of morality, homosexuality and terrorism. Not that he is for or against them, but that he is best able to deal with them.

Now whether it’s a stupid poll is another issue. IMO, it is. I don’t see how it’s possible to make sense of the results; it really sounds like gut reactions to vague questions.

I’ve gotta say, though - how anyone could believe that Bush is better able to deal with the issue of terrorism is beyond me.

IIRC, the Pew Research Center makes their studies easy to get your hands on. For example, the study currently under discussion is quite handy. Then one can check the questionannaire & detailed demographic tables oneself, in addition to the methodology. Additionally, one can also view the more detailed discussion that Pew offers, which will most likely be far more informative than a news article.

Thanks for the link. Talk about your incongruous results… More people thought the Democrats could do a better job on Iraq AND on foreign policy, yet more people thought that the Republicans could do a better job on terrrorism.

Oh, and I was wrong about the “homosexuality” question. The article failed to mention that it was worded differently than the other questions, so it was asking if people’s views agreed with the party, not just how they thought the party could handle it.

That’s what I’m screamin’…ok, typing.

And another thanks to js_africanus for the nitty gritty.


It’s one of those things I’d like to keep tabs on just to see what new stuff they’re coming out with, and one of those things I always forget about until someone says something like the OP wrote. I am amazed at the level of access the internet gives us. E.g., in The Annals of Improbable Research there is an article by a guy at NASA who did a spectral comparison of apples & oranges. I wondered if he actually did the analysis or just made it up for the humor content. I actually found the guy’s email at NASA and he answered me! (He did do the analysis.*)

Iraq & foreign policy vs. terrorism doesn’t seem so incongreu…incongr…incongruous to me: I bet many people feel that a soft touch is needed in Iraq and foreign policy—not to mention the talk of BushCo. being perceived by many as unilateralist—whereas terrorism needs a hard-ball response—IIRC, most Americans support Israeli policy in the occupied territories, the expansion of colonies…er…“settlements,” and so on.
*Hey, if the equipment is sitting idle, why not analyze fruit in his free time?

Interesting that the Iraq War has nothing to do with “morality” … nor does “honesty”, I suppose.

I’m sure this gives cause for homosexuals across the country to rejoice. America thinks Republicans are the best choice to “deal with” them.