August 15, 2010

AP Writers Package Months-Old Polling Data As Currently Relevant News

APgfkRoperLogosMemo to Alan Fram and Trevor Tompson of the Associated Press and two other writers who contributed to this report (“AP-GfK polls show Obama losing independents”): You should have taken the weekend off.

When I saw a shorter, earlier version of the referenced AP report this morning, it didn’t mention when AP’s polling arm AP-GfK Roper had done their work. When I went to the polling home page and found that the most recent entries were from June 9-14, I figured I’d come back later and give the group time to post fresh underlying details.

Little did I know that AP’s gaggle of writers were treating the June 9-14 “Poll Politics Topline” as fresh.

It gets worse. It turns out that Fram, Tompson et al wasted about 875 words on a report based on polling data that gave equal weights to results from mid-June, mid-May, and mid-April.

Considering the primary topic of discussion, independents’ take on the Obama presidency and performance of Congress, this AP report is laughably irrelevant — unless its primary purpose, especially given that earlier versions of the story didn’t identify when the polling took place, was to present data that making readers and listeners think that things are better than they really are right now, i.e., in mid-August and not mid-April, for Democrats heading into the midterm elections.

Here are selected paragraph from the bylined AP pair’s non-punctual piece:

Independents who embraced President Barack Obama’s call for change in 2008 are ready for a shift again, and that’s worrisome news for Democrats.

Only 32 percent of those citing no allegiance to either major party say they want Democrats to keep control of Congress in this November’s elections, according to combined results of recent Associated Press-GfK polls. That’s way down from the 52 percent of independents who backed Obama over Republican Sen. John McCain two years ago, and the 49 percent to 41 percent edge by which they preferred Democratic candidates for the House in that election, according to exit polls of voters.

Independents voice especially strong concerns about the economy, with 9 in 10 calling it a top problem and no other issue coming close, the analysis of the AP-GfK polls shows. While Democrats and Republicans rank the economy the No. 1 problem in similar numbers, they are nearly as worried about their No. 2 issues, health care for Democrats and terrorism for Republicans.

Ominously for Democrats, independents trust Republicans more on the economy by a modest but telling 42 percent to 36 percent. That’s bad news for the party that controls the White House and Congress at a time of near 10 percent unemployment and the slow economic recovery.

… Both parties court independents for obvious reasons. Besides their sheer number – 4 in 10 describe themselves as independents in combined AP-GfK polling for April, May and June – they are a crucial swing group.

To try winning them over, Republicans say they will contrast Obama’s campaign promises of change with the huge spending programs he’s approved. Democrats say they will warn independents that a GOP victory will revive that party’s efforts to cut taxes for the rich and transform Social Security into risky private investment accounts.

… Independents trust Republicans far more than Democrats for handling national security, but give Democrats a 42 percent to 36 percent edge for dealing with health care – a potential sign that distrust over Obama’s signature issue is receding.

Hope is not lost for Democrats.

The AP-GfK polls show a narrow 44 percent to 41 percent overall preference for a Democratic Congress. The party is holding its 2008 edge among women and urban residents, and still splitting the vote of pivotal suburbanites and people earning $50,000 to $100,000.

Let’s look at just a few relatively current data points from elsewhere relating to the Fram’s and Tompson’s topics:

  • Trust on health care — The antiquated AP-GfK report cites a 49-39 average Democratic edge among all voters across April, May and June (at Page 26 of detailed report; not in AP’s story). A Rasmussen report based on late June polling data shows Republicans with a 51-40 edge. Even that was six weeks ago. Since then we have learned that Team Obama is arguing in court that ObamaCare’s health insurance purchase mandate is a tax after telling the country for months before the legislation’s passage that it wasn’t. There have also been instances where abortion coverage was found in high-risk pool plans in several states, which were only eliminated when the Department of Health and Human Services issued regulations doing so. This exercise proved, as if proof was really needed, that the pro-life Executive Order that supposedly won over the Stupak Stooges — er, the Stupak Six — was nothing but a charade.
  • Trust on the economy — AP-GfK shows a 45-42 average Democratic advantage (again at Page 26 of detailed report). The same Rasmussen report noted previously is 48-39, advantage GOP. Given the wave of weak economic news in the past six weeks, it would be not surprising to see that the Republican advantage here has increased since then.
  • Preference in who controls Congress — AP-GfK cites a 44-41 Democratic edge. This question has been a virtual dead heat in a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll all year. The latest result based on August 5-9 polling showing a one-point Democratic lead.

No AP poll would be complete without a bit of cooking. In this instance, the AP-GfK poll’s average Democratic ingredient outweighed the GOP’s by 44%-40%. Gallup’s most recent poll on the topic, admittedly a reversal from most of its results during the past several months, shows the GOP with a 2% edge in party affiliation, including “leaners.”

It appears that AP-GfK polls on the topics presented every month. It would thus be reasonable to assume that it has data for July, and that in a few days it will have data for August. Thus, it’s odd that the wire service wouldn’t have simply waited a few days to give us fresher information. Or maybe someone has seen that info, and would prefer not to have to report it at all.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

IBD on ‘Obama’s New America’

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:50 pm

Yep:

Obamanomics has done more than just keep unemployment high during a modest recovery. It may also be keeping high joblessness permanent by raising the costs to businesses of hiring new workers.

… Obama’s New America (is) … a government-run economy, with special benefits for unions and plenty of government jobs, but few private ones.

Businesses today face rising burdens — from ObamaCare, the financial overhaul, the expiration of tax cuts for entrepreneurs, the threat of new energy taxes or the surge in growth strangling regulations on business — that discourage hiring.

“The real threat to a robust recovery on the labor side,” Gary Becker, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, warned recently, “has come from employer and entrepreneurial fears that once the economic environment improves, a Democratic Congress and administration will pass pro-union and other pro-worker legislation that will raise the cost of doing business and cut profits.”

It’s never been costlier to hire and keep a worker employed. And as ObamaCare kicks in and Bush’s tax cuts expire — not to mention the huge tax hikes that will be needed to make Social Security and Medicare solvent — businesses will simply quit hiring.

Becker’s statement is in bold because it rings true. In Ohio a while back, Ted Strickland and Ohio’s unions and leftists wanted to put a mandatory employee-leave law on the ballot, but decided not to — not because it’s a lousy idea that would make the Buckeye State even less competitive than it already is, but only because the economy was so bad that they knew it wouldn’t fly. If the economy recovers, and as long as Democrats have significant power in the state, they’ll be back. The “employer and entrepreneurial fears” Becker has cited are real, and justified.

It can’t be emphasized enough that during the 1930s, the last time all-stimulus, all-the-time, Big Labor-Big Government-Big Company approach to things was chosen, the unemployment rate never fell below 12%, while Europe’s was never above that. Except that the figure might be a still completely unacceptable 8% or 9% instead of 12%, what reason is there to expect that things will be any different this time if the administration doesn’t change course?

More Ground Zero Mosque Imam Terrorist-Supporting/Terrorist-Sympathetic Connections

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:41 am

Via PJM’s Madeline Brooks (links are in original):

… Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf seems to have an irresistible attraction to extremists and terrorists, in spite of frequent declarations that he is a peacemaker and a “bridge builder.” He has stated that the Islamic community center and grand mosque he wants to build would be “about promoting integration, tolerance of difference, and community cohesion through arts and culture.”

So what was he doing at a 2007 conference in Indonesia of an international terrorist group seeking a global caliphate?

Hizb-ut Tahrir al Islami (Islamic Party of Liberation) … is a dangerous group. It is alleged to have attempted coups in Jordan, Syria and Egypt, which were defeated, fortunately. As we see in these photos, Rauf looks quite relaxed and happy at the Hizb-ut Tahrir conference, as do the other participants with him. In fact, there is a feeling of celebration in these photos. The language in the text accompanying the photos is Malay. Although the conference was held in Indonesia, there were many Malaysians attending, including Rauf, who has lived for a great part of his life in Malaysia. An English language website promoting the caliphate states that 100,000 people attended the conference.

Hizb-ut Tahrir is similar ideologically to the Muslim Brotherhood. Both seek worldwide Islamic supremacy and the imposition of Islamic law to replace the Constitution and democracy. But Hizb-ut Tahrir differs by also espousing Marxist-Leninist methodology, and is entirely open about its ambition to dominate the world, unlike the more discreet Muslim Brotherhood.

… What would life be like for Jews living in the caliphate? Well, there probably wouldn’t be many left after a while — Hizb-ut Tahrir’s anti-Semitism is predictably strong. Ata Abu-Rishta, the international head of Hizb-ut Tahrir, is said to have “whipped the 100,000-strong crowd” at the August 2007 annual conference in Jakarta, Indonesia, “into a frenzy … by calling for a war on Jews.” Rishta has also declared that it is “permissible” to kill Jews in Israel, and by extension, everywhere: “There can be no peaceful relations with the Jews: this is prohibited by Islamic law.”

Hizb-ut Tahrir posted an article on its website in 2000 citing a well-known hadith calling for the wholesale murder of Jews: “The stones and trees will say: O Muslim, O Slave of Allah. Here is a Jew behind me so come and kill him.”

Longtime readers of this blog might recall a certain imam who was selected in the fall of 2007 to run a mosque in Cleveland abandoning his appointment and leaving town with his tail between his legs after he was exposed as having sermonized on the aforementioned hadith at his former post in Omaha (posts are here, here, here, here, and here).

Oh (thanks to Patrick Poole for the original reference), I forgot to mention that the aforementioned hadith is in Article Seven of the 1988 Hamas Covenant, and that carrying it out is “the realisation of Allah’s promise, no matter how long that should take.”

“The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).

Back to Ms. Brooks:

… The literature of Hizb ut-Tahrir cites the Koran to validate using terrorism to spread Islam. They see Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Jama’ah Islamiyah as legitimate Islamic movements, not as terrorists. This may explain why Rauf refused to denounce Hamas as a terrorist organization on Aaron Klein’s radio show on June 20, 2010.

There’s much more at the PJM link.

It is not possible for Muslims like Rauf who won’t renounce the clear meaning of the hadith or who won’t repudiate an organization whose very mission is to carry out the hadith’s intention to legitimately claim to be “moderate” or interested in “dialog.”

Anyone who doesn’t see the Ground Zero Mosque as an in-your-face to the United States in particular, and to Western civilization and the non-Muslim world in general, either doesn’t have his eyes open or is genuinely sympathetic with the expressed outlook of the Ground Zero Mosque’s mastermind and his circle of associations.

Which is it, Mr. Obama?

Positivity: Former President George W. Bush joins SLANT 45 kids to greet troops at D/FW Airport

Filed under: Positivity,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 6:55 am

From Dallas/Fort Worth:

05:04 PM CDT on Thursday, August 12, 2010

A planeload of troops returning from war duty got a special treat this week: A personal welcome home from the former commander-in-chief.

Former President George W. Bush and wife Laura greeted the troops when they disembarked Wednesday at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

The visit was part of an event put on by the Super Bowl host committee’s SLANT 45 education and community service initiative. The former president and first lady are honorary committee co-chairs, staying mostly behind the scenes.

The Bushes, however, were hands-on participants on Wednesday, meeting the Collin County Patriots youth football team at the airport to help the Welcome Home a Hero program greet troops.

Diane Ratley, a Flower Mound resident who regularly volunteers to welcome troops, said Bush greeted and had his picture taken with each of the roughly 120-145 troops as they came down the greeting line.

“That was wonderful to watch,” Ratley said. “Numerous soldiers stopped and saluted President Bush and he saluted them in return. They were all just thrilled to get to shake his hand.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.