Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Public opposes immediate withdrawal

Both Jessica McBride (e.g., aggregating the vote outside of Madison and Shorewood) and John McAdams (comparing pro-withdrawal vote to Kerry's numbers in the same communities) make valid points about the results of the withdrawal referenda.

Of course, however the numbers came out, this was always a stunt. We know what the public large thinks of an immediate and orderly withdrawal from Iraq. We know because an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll just asked that very question.

The public opposes such a withdrawal. 66%-30%. That a bunch of activists can cherry pick some towns in Wisconsin and get a different result doesn't change that.


Jay Bullock said...

Way to cherry-pick your data from that poll, Rick. You have a surgeon's hands, I tell you what.

Consider, the question you cite immediately follows the question, "Do you think that the United States should maintain its current troop level in Iraq to help secure peace and stability, or should the United States reduce its number of troops now that Iraq has adopted a constitution?" 31% say maintain, 61% say reduce. Then your question, (note the transition), "More specifically, do you think that we should have an immediate and orderly withdrawal of all troops from Iraq, or not?"

Also, note the numbers above that: 51% say the war was "not worth it"; 50% of voters are more likely to support a candidate who "favors withdrawing all American troops from Iraq in the next twelve months"; 61% disapprove of the job the administration is doing in Iraq.

Also, while the question you cite does ask about "immediate withdrawal," not all of the referenda around the state used that language; some just called for an immediate start to drawing down troop levels.

In short (too late now, eh?), the "immediate withdrawal" thing is typically a Republican canard, Madison referendum notwithstanding. Consider what they did to John Murtha, for example, who introduced a proposal to begin drawing down troops with a far-out (at that time) completion date. Hastert & co. rewrote it and demanded the House vote on a proposal for immediate withdrawal fo all troops, which is not what Murtha asked for. Your post is kind of more of the same.

Seth Zlotocha said...

It depends on the phrasing of the question.

In the NBC/WSJ poll, the question asked about "an immediate and orderly withdrawal of all troops" from Iraq. The key words there are "immediate" and "all."

The only referendum questions to ask about bringing all of the troops home immediately were six of the thirty-one referenda: Ladysmith, Evansville, Madison, Mount Horeb, Monona, and Whitefish Bay.

When asked about whether the current troop level should be reduced, 61% of respondents in the NBC/WSJ poll answered "yes," which is the exact same percentage of Wisconsinites who voted "yes" in all of the referenda combined yesterday.

So it's clear a withdrawal is desired by a majority of Americans, but whether or not it means bringing everyone home immediately is another question.

Seth Zlotocha said...

Sorry for the duplication. It looks like Jay just beat me to the punch.

Rick Esenberg said...

I don't know how many used the word "immediate" although I do know that I just saw Luxembourg's ballot on Fox News and at it least it, in addition to the ones Seth mentions, used the term.

Many set a deadline of December 31. For all intents and purposes, I suspect that it is tantamount to immediate. I doubt that you could orderly withdraw the troops much before then.

If all the referenda asked about is withdrawal, they'd be meaningless. Everyone wants eventual withdrawal.

Jay, I know the poll shows dissatisfaction with Iraq. I have dissatisfaction with Iraq. But the supposedly bellweather Wisconsin referenda don't ask about that. They ask about immediate or damn quick withdrawal.

And with all apologies to the good people of the metropolis of Casco (wherever that may be), there is not widespread support for that.

Because it'd be irresponsible.

Seth Zlotocha said...

The problem is the word "all." You can want immediate withdrawal of some troops without wanting all of them out right away.

The NBC/WSJ poll question you cite in your post asked about bringing all of the troops home immediately, whereas the majority of referenda simply called for starting to withdraw troops without specifying how many.

In terms of simply starting to withdraw troops immediately, the majority of the NBC/WSJ poll (61%) were in favor.

Rick Esenberg said...

Seth, you're trying too hard. Every referendum made used the word "immediately" or "now". It's true that only some (including Madison and Whitefish Bay) referred to "all" the troops. The remainder simply said that the United States should withdraw "its troops."' In the absence of some qualifyier (like a few, some, or most) which existed in none of the referenda, the common sense reading of this would be that it refers to all of the troops. If you tell me that you are going to withdraw your money from my bank or pull your business from my firm, I expect you to take it all. If you are now claiming that the referenda were about micromanaging troop levels, demanding that some should come home some time, then they were even less significant than I think they were.

Seth Zlotocha said...

I'm trying too hard? Have you read the posts by Jessica McBride and John McAdams on the referenda results?

The fact is the majority of Americans want to see a troop withdrawal from Iraq, as do the majority of Wisconsinites who voted in the referenda a couple days ago.

What's more, according to a Zogby International poll taken just two months ago, an even wider majority of current American troops serving in Iraq (72%) think the US should exit the country within the year.

Quite frankly, I'm glad to see that the majority of Wisconsin voters and Americans in general agree with the majority of the troops.

Dad29 said...

Aside from the Madistan and LaX crowds...

It's long been a well-known fact of life that the corridor along Hy. 51 (I-39) northbound from Madison is chock full of nuts, when you get away from the major towns (Wausau, e.g.)

Evidently most of the UW-Madison hippie leftists of the late '60's moved up there for some reason...

Anonymous said...

The important point is "if we leave too soon the terrorists will come after us" (Sen. McCain).
The public understands.

Anonymous said...

Why do the right wing people posting here feel it necessary to call the opposition names? Look, right wing people - - your point of view lost these elections, no matter how you twist or play with the numbers. I'm sure if you had won most of them, you be crowing about how important the voting was, etc. etc.

Rick Esenberg said...


Nobody can be sure that the Zogby poll is valid. See, for example, here. Given that a wealthy opponent of the war commissioned a pollster who is an opponent of the war to do the poll at least raises some question. The fact that, as far as I know, no one can know if the sample is representative raises more.

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