Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Poll Driven President

The President's message on the Iraq War earlier this week was crafted in part by an expert on public opinion polling. The Washington Post offers this analysis:

"The White House recently brought onto its staff one of the nation's top academic experts on public opinion during wartime, whose studies are now helpingBush craft his message two years into a war with no easy end in sight."
The administration's relying on work by Duke University political scientists Peter D. Feaver and Christopher F. Gelpi. They've published work on public opinion about Iraq and past wars.

Dr Feaver served on the staff of the Clinton administration's National Security Council. He joined the Bush White House about a month ago.

They argue the key to political victory for the President is to convince the American people the US is in Iraq to win. That image of resolve can be more important to maintaining public support for the war than an actual strategy to win the war. Polling trumps policy.

That goes a long way to explain why the President's address to the nation earlier this week was long on rhetoric and short on substance. (WashPost)

1 comment:

Chris Woods said...

What bothers me most about this move is not that fact that they're trying to lead by polling (its necessary sometimes, hell, even Clinton did it) but its the fact that for so long the White House and Bush claimed they didn't need to follow pulls and that they were governing from the gut.

So, we see that desperate times call for desperate measures, even if it means doing the opposite of what you said you were doing.