NYT poll: Vast majority trusts military’s Iraq judgment over that of Bush and Congress

posted at 8:30 am on September 10, 2007 by Allahpundit

Good news for Petraeus, bad news for American democracy. Hard to imagine how much deeper the crisis of confidence in the country’s political leadership can get if we’re seeing numbers like these when we know that the public doesn’t much trust the generals either:


A few other quick data hits as we wait for the hearing. 65% in question 57 say they want the U.S. to remove either some or all U.S. troops right now; the Times follows that up with the killer dilemma, but leaves the language just vague enough to get the right answer. Sub in the words “cleansing” or “genocide” and let’s see how this one shakes out:


Now comes the first surprise. Bush is counting on an optimistic progress report to shore up support for extending the mission, but as usual, he may have miscalculated. The better we’re doing, the more inclined the public is to declare victory and go home. The worse we’re doing, the more inclined they are to commit:


Yet, if that’s true, explain this next one to me. The poll results run 28 pages and I assure you, you won’t find a more startling or depressing data set in all of it than the following. Again, per question 57, 65% want to at least start withdrawing now presumably because they believe, come what may for the Iraqis, it’s in our own national interest not to be there anymore. Right? Er … no:


I don’t know how to square that circle except to say maybe to emphasize the distinction within that 65% between the 30% who want full withdrawal and the 35% who only want to remove some troops. Maybe the latter group has a Baker-Hamilton scheme in mind, where most troops leave by some stay behind semi-permanently to target AQ? Regardless, we’ve got 82% here acknowledging that Bush is right, that withdrawal very well may mean abandoning Iraq to Al Qaeda — and yet a majority want to withdraw anyway. Stare at those numbers again, then go read Matthew Dowd’s greasy paean at HuffPo to the “wisdom of crowds.” Indeed.

Exit question mind boggler: Among Bush, Congress, and the media, which of the three does the public trust most to tell them the truth about Iraq? Click and scroll down to questions 73-75 to see.

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NYT poll: Vast majority trusts military’s Iraq judgment over that of Bush and Congress

Ummm allow me to be first to say, not a surprise at all?

NYT pollsters are really earnin those paychecks.

What’s next, “NYT poll: Vast majority think puppies are more adorable than both Bush and Congress”?

e-pirate on September 10, 2007 at 8:33 AM

I am quite sure that the order of the questions may have framed the picture the statistics are showing. I only say this because the not-so-logical order of the questions in the polls mirror the same illogical decision making process of almost all of the pundits and politicians regarding this issue.
1st-Assess the situation
2nd-if it’s not perfect, how can we get it perfect in 30 minutes or less
3rd-oh, you mean there are consequences to our actions?

I am willing to bet that a polled citizen, even one who frequently watches Oprah would respond differently IF the order of the questions mirrored sound decision making.

ColdBore76 on September 10, 2007 at 8:56 AM

Wait, wait. People trust the boots on the ground more than the trust the overfed governmental idiots who sent them there??? Wow, the NYT are kind of being Captain Obvious here.

e-pirate, I think the survey should be something about how people think ice cream tastes good on a hot day.

mjk on September 10, 2007 at 9:13 AM

Of course, I don’t think the overfed government idiots who sent them there should have an opinion (or vent it so well)without being there for a while. Or maybe they should let the military take the kid gloves off and actually fight the war instead of having to be so concerned about what the “press” will think.

A war fought obsessed with popular opinion is not a war at all.

mjk on September 10, 2007 at 9:15 AM

Our military is our most honorable institution and it is disgusting that wormy little pukes like Rom Emanuel can degrade people like General Petraeus. Emanuel isn’t fit to carry water for Petraeus or any of our brave soldiers.

rplat on September 10, 2007 at 9:26 AM

There are quite a few depressing results in that poll.

What I find really interesting is that the vast majority trust the military commanders’ judgments on Iraq. Cool. That is great.

But – the NYT goes on to ask a number of questions that require judgments that, as a logical conclusion of people trusting the military commanders, those people should not be/are not qualified to/can’t be trusted to answer accurately.

So, it seems to me that with an MSM-conducted poll like this, which gauges public opinion on things such as whether the US should set a timetable for withdrawal in 2008 – public opinion I might add that is gleaned from and formed by the MSM (as per questions 73-75 that Allah points out) – it seems to me that while people have said that they trust the commanders, the MSM elevates public opinion even above that. And because that opinion is formed, at least in large part (q.75), by the MSM, it all seems a bit masturbatory.

nailinmyeye on September 10, 2007 at 9:58 AM

Ahead of the news cycle with nothing to show for it…

Theworldisnotenough on September 10, 2007 at 9:59 AM

What’s up with the steady 5 or 6% that say President Bush is making things sound worse then they really are?

BadgerHawk on September 10, 2007 at 10:13 AM

The American people know who is getting the job done on the ground in Iraq and it’s not those pompous bastards in Washington.

Yakko77 on September 10, 2007 at 10:38 AM

I have given up on following the comments of or listening to ANYONE not military on this issue. Pundits, editorialists, and yes, blog snobs are anathema to me these days.

MNDavenotPC on September 10, 2007 at 10:56 AM

Speaking of polls, does this one ring true to anyone?

It seems to fly in the face of conventional wisdom… I can’t help but think that maybe the sample was poorly chosen or something. Iraqis saying that during the surge virtually every aspect of their lives has gotten worse?

Just a couple of months ago, that global attitudes survey showed Iraqis to be among the most optimistic in the world regarding their future, and now this poll shows that like 70% think their lives will be worse in a year. Somebody is wrong.

DaveS on September 10, 2007 at 11:11 AM

If we’re more successful, let’s leave so Al-Qaeda can establish their base in Iraq. Quick, man!

(that makes my head hurt…makes my head hurt bad)

Miss_Anthrope on September 10, 2007 at 11:36 AM

Miss_Anthrope on September 10, 2007 at 11:36 AM

Love the sarcasm! After my last comment, you may be a ray of hope.

MNDavenotPC on September 10, 2007 at 11:39 AM

I don’t know how to square that circle

Most likely, neither do the people giving those answers. But here’s a hypothesis: They want to do the easy thing and not think about the consequences, as we did in the 1990s.

Karl on September 10, 2007 at 12:26 PM

Followed immediately by another ground breaking revolutionary poll that found out SHOKYA that:

Americans by large margin trust Licensed/Seasoned Surgeons more to successfully conduct open heart surgery on stroke victim than professional politician.

The fact this was ever even a question short the pansies, LLL’s, and NYT’s staff is idiotic.

C-Low on September 10, 2007 at 1:23 PM

True. But it was President Bush who pushed for the surge when Robert Gates, his defense secretary, was reluctant.

If this works, Bush deserves a lot of credit for it. One of those “great Presidential decision” moments.

Christoph on September 10, 2007 at 4:36 PM

Who sat down and answered all of those questions?

Harpoon on September 10, 2007 at 5:47 PM