February 9, 2006


Poll: Surveillance Wins Some More Backers (KATHERINE SHRADER, 2/09/06, Associated Press)

President Bush's campaign to convince Americans that the government's eavesdropping program is essential to the war on terrorism has made an impact: Last month people disapproved, 56 percent to 42 percent. Now it's basically 50-50.

Bush has been particularly successful at making his case to core supporters, including Republicans, white evangelicals and suburban men. Support in each category grew more than 10 percentage points in the last month. [...]

Support for the program grew by 9 percentage points among men, but it dropped 8 points — to 30 percent — in the Northeast.

Some noteworthy trends from Bush's political base:

_Fifty-eight percent of suburban men support the program, up 13 percentage points.

_Fifty-six percent of Southerners support the program, up 12 points.

_Republican support for the program jumped 14 points to 82 percent. Independent support is up 17 points, to 53 percent.

_White evangelical support grew by 11 points, to 71 percent.

Pretty worthless since they've worded the question so that it's just up or down on George Bush, which has been a 50-50 question since 2000: 1. Should the Bush administration be required to get a warrant from a judge before monitoring phone and internet communications between American citizens in the United States and suspected terrorists, or should the government be allowed to monitor such communications without a warrant?

Ask it more generically and it's 70-30. Not that it matters, since it's settled by the Constitution, not a question for popular opinion.

Still enough to make the non-suicidal Democrats fold though, Agreement Reached on Patriot Act Changes (DAVID ESPO, 2/09/06, AP)

A band of Senate Republican holdouts reached agreement Thursday with the White House on changes in the Patriot Act designed to clear the way for passage of anti-terror legislation stalled in a dispute over civil liberties.

Sen. John Sununu, R-N.H. said the changes, quickly endorsed by at least two Democrats, would better "protect civil liberties even as we give law enforcement important tools to conduct terrorism investigations."

The White House embraced the deal even before Sununu and a few other senators outlined it.

This kerfuffle was always going to end with the holdouts pretending to have made a point and the White House letting them.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 9, 2006 8:12 PM

It's still not right.

"Monitor" means what? The question is designed to encourage the subject to substitute "eavesdrop," or "listen to" for "monitor."

If the survey asked whether the government should, without a warrant, scan for communications to and from foreign, suspect destinations and origins, the approval rate would be much, much higher.

Given the semantically misleading question, the support for the administration is very strong.

Take back the language.

Posted by: Lou Gots at February 9, 2006 8:42 PM

Or even better, "Should the government try to intercept communications between known Islamic terrorists located outside the United States and people located inside the United States, even if it cannot get a warrant?"

Posted by: David Cohen at February 9, 2006 8:47 PM

somewhere, a japanese whaler is waiting for sunnunu (sounds like a teletubbies character).

Posted by: toe at February 9, 2006 9:25 PM

Well I've seen polls that say otherwise. Arooooooouuuuuuuuuuugggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Posted by: Dr. Dean at February 9, 2006 10:52 PM