Sunday, March 19, 2006

Word association game: Bush - incompetent

The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press has been conducting an interesting experiment for several years now. As a substitute for a poll they have tried to see what happens when you play word association games. In this case they mention a name and ask people what word they think of when they hear this name. And the name they have been using is George W. Bush.

When they first did this three years ago positive responses outnumbered negative numbers. Last year the ratio was almost equal. This year the negative responses were 48%, positive responses were 28%.

In the past the leading answer given by people was "honest". That has since slipped to 5th place. Now the number one answer is "incompetent".

A poll conducted by Pew also shows that American voters now prefer the Democrats and that Bush is dragging down his own party in the upcoming Congressional elections. Three out of ten voters said that they consider their vote this Fall as a way of expressing their displeasure with Bush. Only 18% said it was a way of showing they are happy with Bush. Half the voters said they were planning to vote for the Democrats and 41% said they would vote Republican with 9% saying they don't know or will vote for another party.

Republicans and Democrats are standing firm with their party. The real shift is among independent voters. Just over half of them say they will vote for the Democrats. Just under one third of them say they will vote Republican. In previous elections the Republicans had the lead among independents. When asked which party they prefer to handle specific issues the Democrats are now clearly in the lead. Even on taxes voters prefer them over Republicans by 46% to 35%. Bush has lost his advantage on the invasion of Iraq as well with 41% of voters saying the Democrats will do a better job and 38% wanting it run by Republicans. Democrats still fall behind Republicans when it comes to terrorism. So if Bush wants to see his party keep or extend its power he will need a major terror scare before the election.

Distrust of government is also rising. Now 65% of Americans say they trust the government sometimes or never and 34% say they trust government most of the time or always. People with the most faith in government are Republicans with 55% saying they trust the government most of the time or always. The rise in GOP big governmentalism is obvious. Only a majority of Republicans say the government should have the power to censor news stories. Almost two-thirds of Democrats and independents oppose such measures.