I guess I’m one of the 15%. If someone asked me those questions that is precisely the way I’d be inclined to answer. I might not actually answer that way because I tend to answer surveys to give a message to politicians, corporations etc, but that’s probably just me. If I were to answer honestly I’d answer that way. And I’m in no way a string Bush supporter.Those sorts of discrepencies are just an inherent part of the way surveys are conducted.
Let me see if I can explain.
I certainly don’t think the war in Iraq been been well handled since the first few weeks and the initail victories. I dispprove thoroughly of the Guantanamo detentions, Abu Ghraib abuses, the ‘manufacture’ of evidence to support the invasion, lack of any clesr signs of a move towards stability and independence etc. There is no way on Earth that I could say the current administration has handled the war at all well ro the last 18 months at least. I’ll admit now that I have never supported the invasion even before it was decided, but even if I did support it in principle couldn’t honestly say it has been well handled. So of course I answer “no” to that question.
Now they ask me whether I approve of the way Bush has handled the “War on Terror”. Now the war on terror is a very nebulous concept. it’s not a real war with real enemies, it’s just a set of somewhat co-ordinated activities designed to control terrorist attacks against the US. When someone asks me that question I immediately ask myself “What is the alternative, what would Kerry/Clinton have done differently”.
And realistically I can’t think of anything. Let’s not start a debate on whether they would have been different, but to me there would have been no obvious difference. Maybe the Patriot Act/Homeland Security would have been stronger or weaker in some areas. Maybe more resources would have been allocated or the jobs would have gone to he FBI rather than some new organistation or vice versa. But to me that’s window dressing. From my perspective the current administration has taken sensible steps to fight terrorism and prevent future attacks. IMO they’ve stripped a few to many rights and liberties in the process but overall they seem to have struck a good balance between what is practically required and what is idealistically desirable.
So I can’t say that I disapprove of Bush’s tactics in fighting terrorism. And I say that because I can’t think of anything important that he’s done that Kerry/Clinton would have/should have done or wouldn’t have/shouldn;t have done in the same position. For me that amounts to approval. That’s the closest most politicians will ever come to winning my approval, they’ve managed workable solution that doesn’t suck any worse than anyother workable solution. So I have to answer “yes” to that question.
You’ll notice here that I’m effectively making a distinction between Iraq and the War on Terror sup[/sup]. That’s because I don’t see the invasion of Iraq as having anyhting to do with the War on Terror. However even if I did see them as linked I’d still not make the connection if a pollster asked me those questions. The fact that they are asked seperately somehow makes me think I’m not meant to consider Iraq in the WoT question. That may be intentional or it may be accidental, but that’s the way I read it.
If you asked me if I support the way the WoT has been handled factoring Iraq into the calculations I’d have to say “hell no”, but as the questions are presented I’d have to answer “yes”.