PUSH-POLLING THE WAR
Various elements of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy -- old veterans, mostly -- have come together to conduct and promote an Iraq War push poll. I don't think it'll work, but give them credit for persistence.
Here's Rupert Murdoch's contribution, in a cover story in today's New York Post:
AMERICA SAYS LET'S WIN WAR
POLL SUPPORTS KEEPING U.S. TROOPS IN IRAQ
In a dramatic finding, a new poll shows a solid majority of Americans still wants to win the war in Iraq -- and keep U.S. troops there until the Baghdad government can take over.
Strong majorities also say victory is vital to the War on Terror and that Americans should support President Bush even if they have concerns about the way the war is being handled, according to the survey conducted by Public Opinion Strategies....
OK, stop right there.
Public Opinion Strategies? It's the well-established partisan Republican firm that brought you the "Harry and Louise" ads during the debate over the Clinton health care plan. Charges of push-polling dog Public Opinion Strategies -- in Texas in the mid-'90s, for example, and in Vermont and Pennsylvania and New York State this past year. POS also conducted a push poll on Net neutrality in 2006, for Verizon.
This is a push poll because so much of it is right-wing talking points turned into questions. Example:
And, which one of the following would do most to hurt America's reputation as a world power... To pull our troops out of Iraq immediately ...or... To leave our troops in Iraq for as long as it takes to restore order?
And these "agree or disagree" questions:
Even if they have concerns about his war policies, Americans should stand behind the President in Iraq because we are at war.
The Democrats are going too far, too fast in pressing the President to withdraw the troops from Iraq.
I support finishing the job in Iraq, that is, keeping the troops there until the Iraqi government can maintain control and provide security for its people.
The Iraq War is a key part of the global war on terrorism.
A stable Iraq is the best way to protect America from the nuclear threat of Iran.
...Losing the war in Iraq would mean that the United States is no longer a superpower, but just another power.
Oh, and I left out one that must have been thrown in at the request of the "Victory Caucus":
Republicans in Congress have gone too far in their criticism of the war and the President.
(That got an "agree" number of 42%. Do you believe 42% of Americans think Republicans have been too critical of the war and Bush? That result alone calls the entire poll into question.)
The quoted questions come from a PDF of the poll results conveniently provided by James Joyner at Outside the Beltway -- who notes in the accompanying post (in small print, in a footnote):
*My wife is COO of POS. I got the information as part of a general press announcement of the data. Indeed, I'm told Rush Limbaugh had some of these results earlier today.
Indeed. And, indeed, Lucianne.com is promoting the Post article, as are a number of the big kahunas in the right blogosphere.
I understand that this may not fit the strict pollsters' definition of "push poll" -- as Mystery Pollster has said, "A push poll is not a poll at all but rather a form of fraud -- an effort to spread an untrue or salacious rumor under the guise of legitimate research. 'Push pollsters' ... only care about calling as many people as possible to spread a false or malicious rumor without revealing their true intent." But this is a different way of spreading untruths -- a legitimate-seeming poll with skewed results that are spread via the right-wing noise machine. Even if it doesn't work -- as seems likely -- it's clear these guys will never rest.
UPDATE: Steve Benen at the Carpetbagger Report had a very similar reaction to this poll.
UPDATE: I was wondering why Drudge wasn't in on the fun, but I see I missed his "flash," which went up yesterday.
More skepticism from Gawker (here) and the Rockford Rascal (here and here).