Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Military Times Poll: Spin or Substance?

"The majority of the nation no longer supports this w- the way this war is being fought; nor does the majority of our military; nor does the majority of Congress."
-Senator Jim Webb, D-Virginia, SotU Democratic Response

There's much buzz about on what basis Senator Webb makes the claim "the majority of our military" no longer supports the way this war is being fought". If you listen carefully, Senator Webb almost said "the majority of the nation no longer supports this war"...but caught himself, and said instead, "the way this war is being fought." (you can listen to it yourself here....3 minutes, 49 seconds into it). Why do you suppose that is? Because disagreement with the way the war has been waged is not the same thing as disagreement with the war itself.

There's a recent military poll out that the lefties are giddy over; and perhaps it is the basis for Senator Webb's claim.

Polls are a tricky business. As one person said, he can make you draw whatever conclusion he wants you to by how he chooses to frame the question.

If you examine the article, conclusions drawn from the poll are not so concisely neat and clearcut as laying claim that "the majority in the military no longer supports this war". Take for instance, the following:
While approval of Bush’s handling of the war has plunged, approval for his overall performance as president remains at 52%.

The poll also found that while the personnel believe the public has a positive view of them, they are convinced the media do not — only 39 % said they think the media have a favorable view of the troops.

“Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of those surveyed said the senior military leadership has the best interests of the troops at heart. And though they don’t think much of the way he’s handling the war, 48 percent said the same about President Bush… And only 23 percent think Congress is looking out for them.
I e-mailed CJ about his soldier's perspective on this; here's his response back:

I honestly don't believe that the majority of troops are against the war. I think the majority of the troops are against the WAY the war is being fought. The administration has recently lifted a lot of what was preventing us from doing our job. In the past two years, the insurgents and terrorists have been able to regroup and rearm because of our policies following everything that happened with Abu Ghraib and Haditha. While I was against the surge initially, now that I know we don't have as many restrictions, I think it will help in the long run. But, I digress.

I think a lot of the negative opinion about the war has to do with two factors: 1)media and political opinion and 2) battlefield restrictions. The media and left has done a SUPERB job of making this war a political hot potato and lost cause. Our politicians have done NOTHING to encourage the American people with facts and the Soldiers hear this from all angles. It's no wonder the troops don't feel we can win this when their own politicians are saying so. They say they support the troops yet don't have the confidence in us to believe we can win.

Patriot wrote a little about this, but didn't go into too much detail at the time for some reason. My thought is that poll is being misinterpreted to think that the troops are anti-Iraq war, and I don't think that's accurate.

One of the poll questions asks "Should the U.S. have gone to war in Iraq?" O
f the 944 troops polled, 199 either had no opinion or declined to answer. 390 said yes, while 355 said no. So, if you look at it with the raw numbers, the media's claim that "only 41 percent of the military said the U.S. should have gone to war in Iraq in the first place" in not correct. In actuality, almost 52% of that answered think we should have gone in the first place. we can't speculate on what the 109 respondents would have said had they answered.

When asked "We currently have 145,000 troops in Iraq and Kuwait. How many troops do you think we should have there?" only 121 answered "0". Yet, surprisingly 363 of the 584 troops (62%) said that we need more troops in Iraq. Only 125 said we need between between 1 and 144,000.

Those numbers weren't touted in the media. I wonder why. For the record, I got all this information from the publicly available raw data. Here's something else staggering. Under many columns, there were a lot of soldiers who simply didn't answer at all. However, under the "how does the media view the military" question, only 14 of 954 left that question empty. Of those, 207 said that the Media views the military VERY UNFAVORABLY while only 57 said that the Media views the military VERY FAVORABLY. So, when you only factor in those extreme opinions about the media, over 78% of them think the media is against us. That's very telling.

I know this was long and boring, but there is a lot in the raw data that wasn't covered and analyzed. And I think I've said enough.
Well said, CJ.

Hat tip: MDConservative (who also reminds that The Military Times is NOT the military) for putting me on the path to posting on this; and Marie's Two Cents for getting bent out of shape by Senator Webb. Lol.

Another Military Times poll of note: Service members' job satisfaction still high

6 Comments:

Blogger MDConservative said...

Congress thinks they are looking out for the troops? Why is it that the President gets 48% for looking out for them while the saviors of the day Congress is only getting 23%? Funny congress is always talking about listening to the troops, and yet the troops don’t think that congress cares all that much… but the actual CINC DOES! Wouldn’t the military be the right people to ask about this?

Excuse me, us military types are too stupid to know what is in our best interests… thanks Kerry.

Thursday, January 25, 2007 1:40:00 PM  
Blogger airforcewife said...

The media doesn't want to talk to military folk who want to win this war, they are only interested in us if we ask for their help in claiming to be victims.

I've mentioned before often that the WAY we are fighting this war, with both hands tied behind our backs, is what I am against. I think we should fight to win.

Webb was truly a military hero in Vietnam. I wish he hadn't chosen to use and abandon those of us in the fight now. I don't know what his son's political views are, and maybe he supports his dad's use of his name and active duty status. But as for our family...we can speak for ourselves, thank you very much. Why doesn't he actually listen?

Thursday, January 25, 2007 2:48:00 PM  
Blogger Marie's Two Cents said...

That's the beef I have with Webb, he seemed to mince his words, he left the American people with the impression that the Majority of the Military is against the war itself. It has to be gone over to find "The Way the war is being fought".

But when you listen to the initial response it doesnt come off that way.

Leaving the American people somewhat decieved.

I agree the Military has had thier hands tied behind thier backs for way to long, but they dont now. And maybe if the Democrats would quit harping and crying like a bunch of little sissy's the Military can finish this mission and hold thier heads up high and not Retreat-In-Defeat like the left for whatever reasons want to see.

I just found that to be the most pathetic Dem response to the SOTU I have ever heard.

Thursday, January 25, 2007 4:32:00 PM  
Blogger Gayle said...

It was a pathetic response, and I think it was way out of line! It's the sort of rhetoric that absolutely feeds the enemy and Webb should be ashamed of himself but we all know he won't! Just like Marie's Two Cents, as the wife of a retired military man, I am incensed by this. But even if my husband wasn't retired or active military I think I'd feel the same way.

Great post, Wordsmith, as always.

Thursday, January 25, 2007 9:14:00 PM  
Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

Wow!!!!!! This is an excellent post. Great work!! I will have to link to this.

By the way--totally cannot stand Webb for so many reasons. I knew my blood pressure couldn't handle his response so I didn't even bother to watch it.

Thursday, January 25, 2007 9:15:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

mdconservative...the Bush-bashers love citing the President's low approval numbers. For a while, it seemed like they were doing a poll a week. So what else is new? I'm beyond caring. If his poll numbers are up, he must be doing something wrong. If he's pissing off liberals, not endearing himself to "world opinion", and killing terrorists, then I know he must be doing something right.

Congress can explain why their poll numbers have been in the tanker, as well, while they gloat over Bush's approval rating.

afw wrote:

I've mentioned before often that the WAY we are fighting this war, with both hands tied behind our backs, is what I am against. I think we should fight to win.

Besides the "surge", isn't there also a change in policy regarding the rules of engagement? Are the gloves coming off?


Webb was truly a military hero in Vietnam.


It is mystifying to me, how the man who wrote this, is now on the other side of the fight.

marie...the anti-war left would love nothing better than to be able to claim that they are for the troops, and that they know what's in the best interest of the troops, and that the troops support their world view.


gayle and chatterbox, thank you! CJ should be thanked for the intellectual legwork...but he didn't even make a post on it! Lol! Patriot made a post at the beginning of January. But in light of Senator Webb's SotU rebuttal, and given that lefty bloggers are citing from the military poll to support their quagmiring ways, I think CJ's analysis is important to get out there.

Thursday, January 25, 2007 11:36:00 PM  

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