Iraq as the political third rail?

It’s a killer issue, right? Support the war in Iraq, and you lose an election. That’s the increasing vibe that seems to be distributed as we get closer to election day.

But Michael Barone says “not so fast.”

Consider these results from the University of Cincinnati’s most recent poll in Ohio. Ohio is a pretty good bellwether: It voted 51 to 49 percent Bush in 2004, while the country as a whole voted 51 to 48 percent. And if there is any Bush ’04 state in which the Republicans are in trouble this year, it’s Ohio.

Barone is way smarter than me when it comes to politics, and I acknowledge that he may be right here. But he may be wrong too. It’s dangerous to assume that one poll that says something one may be inclined to agree with, is the data that’s correct.

That said, it’s not correct to dismiss the University of Cincinnati poll out of hand if one is not inclined to accept it in the first place.

I do know this: something doesn’t feel “right” about the “prevailing wisdom.” Of course, prevailing wisdom seldom feels right to me. But as we get closer to Election Day, my gut says there’s something out there that nobody — no media, no blogger, no candidate, maybe even no voter — has picked up on the antenna.

Or maybe it’s just Twins fever.

  • Bill

    First, the congressional race won’t be decided nationally, but in concentrated swing districts in certain areas of the country (northeast and midwest, mostly). Most of these areas are less conservative than Cincinnatti, I think.

    Second, the details of poll do show that while a majority are explictly unhappy with the war, very few are willing to give it full support anymore. And the poll doesn’t really talk about whether or not voters are willing (or eager) to tie the Republicans to Iraq problems.

    So, I think Iraq is still going to be a big issue this year. Though if this Foley story stays on the front page …

  • commentariat

    Shouldn’t that be “smarter than *I*”?

  • Bob Collins

    Ah, that reminds me of an argument I got in with a former news director here once because I, in fact, did change a reporter’s copy to “I” becuase — my theory went — if you continue the sentence by adding “am”, it would be “I am,” not “me am.”

    It seemed like a good theory at the time.

    Apparently I was wrong although I don’t remember the parameters of the conversation other than the citation of Lord Byron’s letter of 2 November 1804, “Lord Delawarr is considerably younger than me.”

    When they start citing Byron, I usually pack it in.

    The easiest fix is just to rewrite the sentence but I will leave that to writers who have more energy than me.