Sunday, October 31, 2004

Bin Laden hurts Bush

Watching the So-Called Liberal Media (TM), some people are getting the impression that the Bin Laden tape helps Bush. Three points, the most important last:

1) The pundits have no clue as to whether or not what they say conforms to reality. Pundits simply repeat scripts, and their pre-digested script tells them that the Bin Laden tape is good for Bush, because any reminder of terrorism is good for Bush. But this assumption is entirely without evidence. Remember: they said the same thing about Iraq, that any focus on foreign affairs AT ALL favored Bush. They were wrong.

2) The Bushites don't seem to think that it necessarily helps. Keep in mind that they have pointedly avoided mentioning Bin Laden's name for months. And especially keep in mind that they tried to prevent the airing of the tape in the first place.

From AP:
"The State Department on Friday urged the government of Qatar, which finances Al-Jazeera, not to broadcast a videotaped speech by Osama bin Laden, a senior State Department official said."
3) The polls actually SHOW OTHERWISE. From the intrepid Josh Marshall:

"It's interesting to look at the results of last night's post-gift polling.

First, the four tracking polls released today and thus including roughly one-third of calls after the release of the OBL tape ...

In Zogby's, Kerry moved up one point.

In Rasmussen's, Kerry moved up one point.

In WaPo/ABC, Kerry moved up two points.

In Tipp, Bush moved up two points.

Two other national polls were released (at least that I've seen), Newsweek and Fox.

One third of the Newsweek poll was done last night. And in their poll Bush was up over Kerry by 50% to 44%. That's four points better than the Newsweek poll the previous week that had Bush over Kerry 48% to 46%.

Look, though, at the Fox poll.

Fox did one poll Wednesday and Thursday night. And then they did another poll with calls Thursday and Friday night. So the common denominator is that both polls had calls Thursday night. And half the calls in the second poll were done post-gift.

The first Fox poll had Bush up 5% (50% to 45%) and the second had him up 2% (47% to 45%).

Now, does this mean the bin Laden tape is giving a boost to Kerry? Of course, not. These are tiny changes. And it's altogether possible that this small shift is simply the result of statistical 'noise' -- numbers wobbling around within the polls' margins of error.

But it should put at least some damper on the notion that the release of the OBL tape would lead to some sudden Bush surge.

At least if the pundits are listening. "

Should the subject come up, one question should be asked: why is he still alive? He is still alive because George W. Bush decided he would rather occupy Iraq than deal with Osama Bin Laden. He is still alive because George W. Bush was "not that concerned about him."

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