In an unrelated unscientific poll, a whopping 71.17% think Bush is annoying. Ouch.
With only 20% believing we're winning in Iraq, the Republicans find themselves heading into an election that proving to be a referendum on the war. As a result, 52% of likely voters say they'll vote Democrat, while 33% of respondents said they'd vote for a GOP candidate. I really can't see the GOP closing a 19-point lead in the time they have left.
The GOP has been trying to make some headway with John Kerry's gaffe, but this is miscalculation -- it's hard to talk about Kerry's comments without being drawn into a discussion of Iraq. In fact, the whole thing seems to be dying out -- not that it won't be echoed in the talk radio echo chamber from now until the end of time. But at this point, the only people rightwing talk radio influences are the base. No one really cares what the cheerleaders for the other team do anymore, the game's on the field. I'm guessing that Republican focus groups and polling are telling candidates to shut up about Kerry -- it's doing more harm than good.
So it's back to 'Democrats are going to raise taxes' -- eek! But, since the New York Times/CBS poll shows that only 2% of voters think taxes are a priority, it's hard to see that closing an almost 20-point lead. In fact, the war in Iraq is the priority for 39% of all voters, with 'other' being the only other issue that reaches two digits at 15%. And that's polling an open ended question -- i.e., interviewers asked respondents, "Of all the problems facing this country today, which one do you most want the new Congress to concentrate on first?" without offering options. Respondents answered off the top of their heads.
Also, according to the poll, "By a slight margin, more respondents said the threat of terrorism would increase under Republicans than those who said it would increase under Democrats." Republicans are losing nearly every argument, in the court of public opinion, at least.
The only bad news I could find in the poll was post-election bad news -- people seem to have an unrealistic view of what a Democratic congress will be able to do.
Nearly 75 percent of respondents — including 67 percent of Republicans and 92 percent of Democrats — said they expected Americans troops would be taken out of Iraq more swiftly under a Democratic Congress.
Forty-one percent of respondents said they expected troop levels in Iraq would decrease if Democrats win, while another 40 percent said the party would seek to remove all troops. Forty-one percent said they expected troop levels to remain the same if Republicans win, while 29 percent said they thought the United States would send more troops in if the Republicans continue to control Congress.
Those findings cut across party lines, but the poll found that Democrats were more likely to say Republicans would fortify American troop strength there, while Republicans were more likely to say Democrats would remove all troops.
A lot of people are in for a big disappointment. Unless Bush turns around on Iraq, it's hard to see how dems can end it. And the Decider's such a pigheaded boob that he'll probably just act like he's got the congress and the people behind him. I seriously can't see him saying on Nov. 8, "I say to the american people,' I hear you -- and I see I've been wrong.'" We'll still be on a runaway train, but at least the train will have a brakeman.
In one final bit of news, Bush says he'll renew his push to privatize Social Security after the elections. If you wanted to seal the deal for Democrats, this is exactly what you'd do -- short of sacrificing a live baby on the altar of Satan. Social Security deform wasn't very popular last time around.
Unfortunately, he seems to believe that this is the sort of thing he'll be able to get done. "I'm willing to listen to anything, but I recognize that it's going to take a bipartisan approach," Bush told Reuters and other wire services in an interview.
Is this the gecko's tail -- the issue he'll sacrifice to slow congress down with gridlock? Maybe, but I doubt it. I think Bush, always obsessed with history, wants at least one positive accomplishment on the books. He wanted to be Lincoln, but he'll settle for LBJ. In the end, he could wind up as Nixon -- sans China.
Technorati tags: politics; poll; Republican; the midterm congressional elections are about Bush and Iraq -- But Bush doesn't seem to know this