Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Polls that encourage and polls that terrify

The most recent polls in Virginia are good news unless you are a big government Republican. With one week before the election the race between former Reagan official Jim Webb, the Democrat, and George Allen, a big government Republican enamoured with George Bush has not just narrowed. It’s been doing that for months. But the last poll says Webb now has a slight lead.

This is a major reversal. In March Allen, according to Rasmussen polls, had a whopping 24 point advantage over Webb. Their most recent polls had the two in a dead heat with only one point between them favoring Allen. But an poll by Opinion Research says that Webb currently has the support of 50% of the voters while Allen has support from 46%. A second poll was also done which also showed that Webb has a slight lead, this time it was 48% to 46%.

A Republican consultant has dismissed the poll because some of it was conducted over the weekend. He claimed: “Any survey conducted Fridays and Saturdays, everybody knows they’re skewed toward Democrats.” Everybody knows this? Really? I suspect not.

Another poll, however, indicates some real dangers to civil liberties from Republicans. Zogby International asked Republicans, Democrats and independents whether they would support various measures in the “war on terror”. Republicans were hard pressed to find anything they would not allow the government to do.

Public video surveillance was supported by 87% of Republicans, over two-thirds said they would support random searches of handbags, briefcases, backpacks, etc “anywhere” not just at airports. Regular roadblocks to search cars were supported by 62% of Republicans but only 38% of Democrats. Sixty percent of Republicans said they supported random searches of cars but only 37% of Democrats did. Government monitoring of phone calls was supported by 56% of Republicans but only 20% of Democrats. And even 49% of Republicans said they were fine with the government opening private mail.

The same poll shows that Republicans, by a two to one margin still believe the claims that Saddam Hussein had something to do with the 9/11 attacks. Surely this indicates they are total morons. The president said Saddam had nothing to do with it. The vice president has said Saddam was not involved. The investigations into 9/11 said Saddam was not involved. But two thirds of Republicans still believe the original lie that Bush told even though Bush himself no longer makes this claim. It is scary to think that Republicans are so out of touch with reality.