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.98

Topics: George Bush , Iraq

You rarely see media pollsters cite correlation coefficients in their reports. On the other hand, you rarely see a correlation as strong as the one ABC News Polling Director Gary Langer cites in his tour de force summary of public attitudes on the State of the Union:

The root of Bush's problems can be summed up in three words: Iraq, Iraq and Iraq. It drives his unpopularity. Among people who oppose the war, a mere 10 percent approve of Bush's job performance; among war supporters, three-quarters approve. The correlation between attitudes on the war and on Bush is a near-perfect .98.

The extraordinary polarizing effect of the Iraq War explains more than Bush's problems. It is also the lens through which Americans currently view much of our national politics. While pollsters have been making that point since the 2004 elections, the dominance of the Iraq War on our politics has obviously intensified. Right now, for better or worse, it's all about Iraq.

Typo corrected

 

Comments
Mark Lindeman:

Huh? 0.98? I figure more like 0.66 (depending on the relative number of war supporters and opponents).

I'm too sleepy really to think about this, but there's a difference (not a contradiction) between saying that the war drives Bush's unpopularity and saying that it has had an extraordinary polarizing effect. I tend to agree with both, more or less, although of course a single correlation doesn't provide much support for either.

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