Sunday, October 31, 2004

Scary Ignorance

This article is from PIPA's website ( This is the article that the next post in this blog is supposed to link to (but doesn't).

Bush Supporters Still Believe Iraq Had WMD or Major Program,Supported al Qaeda

Agree with Kerry Supporters Bush Administration Still Saying This is the Case

Agree US Should Not Have Gone to War if No WMD or Support for al Qaeda

Bush Supporters Misperceive World Public as Not Opposed to Iraq War, Favoring Bush Reelection

Even after the final report of Charles Duelfer to Congress saying that Iraq did not have a significant WMD program, 72% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq had actual WMD (47%) or a major program for developing them (25%). Fifty-six percent assume that most experts believe Iraq had actual WMD and 57% also assume, incorrectly, that Duelfer concluded Iraq had at least a major WMD program. Kerry supporters hold opposite beliefs on all these points.
Similarly, 75% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda, and 63% believe that clear evidence of this support has been found. Sixty percent of Bush supporters assume that this is also the conclusion of most experts, and 55% assume, incorrectly, that this was the conclusion of the 9/11 Commission. Here again, large majorities of Kerry supporters have exactly opposite perceptions.
These are some of the findings of a new study of the differing perceptions of Bush and Kerry supporters, conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes and Knowledge Networks, based on polls conducted in September and October.
Steven Kull, director of PIPA, comments, "One of the reasons that Bush supporters have these beliefs is that they perceive the Bush administration confirming them. Interestingly, this is one point on which Bush and Kerry supporters agree." Eighty-two percent of Bush supporters perceive the Bush administration as saying that Iraq had WMD (63%) or that Iraq had a major WMD program (19%). Likewise, 75% say that the Bush administration is saying Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda. Equally large majorities of Kerry supporters hear the Bush administration expressing these views--73% say the Bush administration is saying Iraq had WMD (11% a major program) and 74% that Iraq was substantially supporting al Qaeda.
Steven Kull adds, "Another reason that Bush supporters may hold to these beliefs is that they have not accepted the idea that it does not matter whether Iraq had WMD or supported al Qaeda. Here too they are in agreement with Kerry supporters." Asked whether the US should have gone to war with Iraq if US intelligence had concluded that Iraq was not making WMD or providing support to al Qaeda, 58% of Bush supporters said the US should not have, and 61% assume that in this case the President would not have. Kull continues, "To support the president and to accept that he took the US to war based on mistaken assumptions likely creates substantial cognitive dissonance, and leads Bush supporters to suppress awareness of unsettling information about prewar Iraq."
This tendency of Bush supporters to ignore dissonant information extends to other realms as well. Despite an abundance of evidence--including polls conducted by Gallup International in 38 countries, and more recently by a consortium of leading newspapers in 10 major countries--only 31% of Bush supporters recognize that the majority of people in the world oppose the US having gone to war with Iraq. Forty-two percent assume that views are evenly divided, and 26% assume that the majority approves. Among Kerry supporters, 74% assume that the majority of the world is opposed.
Similarly, 57% of Bush supporters assume that the majority of people in the world would favor Bush's reelection; 33% assumed that views are evenly divided and only 9% assumed that Kerry would be preferred. A recent poll by GlobeScan and PIPA of 35 of the major countries around the world found that in 30, a majority or plurality favored Kerry, while in just 3 Bush was favored. On average, Kerry was preferred more than two to one.
Bush supporters also have numerous misperceptions about Bush's international policy positions. Majorities incorrectly assume that Bush supports multilateral approaches to various international issues--the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (69%), the treaty banning land mines (72%)--and for addressing the problem of global warming: 51% incorrectly assume he favors US participation in the Kyoto treaty. After he denounced the International Criminal Court in the debates, the perception that he favored it dropped from 66%, but still 53% continue to believe that he favors it. An overwhelming 74% incorrectly assumes that he favors including labor and environmental standards in trade agreements. In all these cases, majorities of Bush supporters favor the positions they impute to Bush. Kerry supporters are much more accurate in their perceptions of his positions on these issues.
"The roots of the Bush supporters' resistance to information," according to Steven Kull, "very likely lie in the traumatic experience of 9/11 and equally in the near pitch-perfect leadership that President Bush showed in its immediate wake. This appears to have created a powerful bond between Bush and his supporters--and an idealized image of the President that makes it difficult for his supporters to imagine that he could have made incorrect judgments before the war, that world public opinion could be critical of his policies or that the President could hold foreign policy positions that are at odds with his supporters."
The polls were conducted October 12-18 and September 3-7 and 8-12 with samples of 968, 798 and 959 respondents, respectively. Margins of error were 3.2 to 4% in the first and third surveys and 3.5% on September 3-7. The poll was fielded by Knowledge Networks using its nationwide panel, which is randomly selected from the entire adult population and subsequently provided internet access. For more information about this methodology, go to


Political Animal by Kevin Drum

Washington Monthly
October 21, 2004
PIPA have yet another interesting report out. The primary gist of the report is that when
it comes to foreign policy, Bush supporters have a much worse grasp of factual
matters than Kerry supporters. It's worth reading, and yes, it's sort of scary,
but I have a sneaking hunch that exactly the opposite might be true on some
domestic issues. So I'm going to leave that alone for now.
Instead, take a look at this table that deals not with factual matters, but with whether Bush
and Kerry supporters even understand their own candidate's positions:

1. Labor and environmental standards in trade agreements. (Oct.)
Bush: opposes Bush supporters who correctly perceive Bush: 13%
Kerry: supports Kerry supporters who correctly perceive Kerry: 81%
2. Participation in Land Mines Treaty.
Bush: opposes Bush supporters who correctly perceive Bush: 20%
Kerry: supports Kerry supporters who correctly perceive Kerry: 79%
3. Participation in treaty that bans the testing of nuclear weapons.
Bush: opposes Bush supporters who correctly perceive Bush: 24%
Kerry: supports Kerry supporters who correctly perceive Kerry: 74%
4. Participation in the International Criminal Court. (Oct.)
Bush: opposes Bush supporters who correctly perceive Bush: 38%
Kerry: supports (*) Kerry supporters who correctly perceive Kerry: 65%
5. Participation in the Kyoto agreement on global warming.
Bush: opposes Bush supporters who correctly perceive Bush: 39%
Kerry: supports (*) Kerry supporters who correctly perceive Kerry: 74%
6. Building a missile defense system. (Oct.)
Bush: build now Bush supporters who correctly perceive Bush: 47%
Kerry: research only Kerry supporters who correctly perceive Kerry: 68%
7. Defense spending.
Bush: Expand Bush supporters who correctly perceive Bush: 57%
Kerry: keep same Kerry supporters who correctly perceive Kerry: 43%
8. Who should take the lead in Iraq on writing a new Constitution and
building a democratic government.
Bush: the US Bush supporters who correctly perceive Bush: 70%
Kerry: the UN Kerry supporters who correctly perceive Kerry: 80%
(*) supports in principle but wants to negotiate terms for US involvement.

That's pretty remarkable. There are only two issues on
which even a majority of Bush supporters know Bush's actual position. As the
PIPA report puts it, "Apparently in the absence of evidence to the
contrary, Bush supporters assume Bush feels as they do."
That seems to be at least partially true, and it's been the essence of George Bush since 2000. He won the primary and the
election that year by being the friendly face of movement conservatism, a guy
who seemed much more moderate than he really was. And now, even four years
later, he still looks to his supporters much more moderate than he really is. If
the electorate understood just how conservative Bush really is, he wouldn't have
a snowball's chance of winning the election this year.
What's more, this goes beyond George Bush: it's actually one of conservatism's greatest
weaknesses. On a wide range of issues — the environment, Social Security,
Medicare, abortion, and so forth — conservatives are unable to get support for
their actual positions, so they're forced to couch their conservative policies
in surprisingly liberal terms. We're environmentalists! We want to save Social
Security! We're tolerant of gays!
In the long term, though, this is disastrous, since eventually they'll either have to surrender and adopt genuine liberal policies or else come clean about their conservatism and get swamped at
the polls.
But that's for the future. In the meantime, the compassionate
conservative schtick is working pretty well. I wonder how much longer they can
pull it off?


Saturday, October 30, 2004

Life After Baseball

Yakult secured second place behind the Dragons. That means that the Giants slipped to third, and that is the only reason why I'm happy with second.

The Dragons went on to lose the final two games of the Japan Series at home. The Seibu Lions walked all over them in the final game--very similar to the ease with which the Sox dismantled the St. Louis offense in game 4 the other day. There are now sales as far as the eye can see at Seiyu (same parent company as the Lions), so I'm happy with the result. The win brings badly needed attention and revenue to the Pacific league.

There's only one more game this year. I paid five thousand yen for a nose-bleed seat at Tokyo Dome when the American All-Stars make it over here next weekend. My prediction is that the Japanese team will wipe the floor with the Americans. I imagine that Ichiro, Matsui and a couple of the guys who played in the World Series will have good showings, but aside from that there won't be a whole lot to write home about.


Wednesday, October 13, 2004


It's been drizzling all day long, and the Yakult--Yokohama game got cancelled again. I think it's the third time that they've had to reschedule this game.

I spent all day in the studio again today doing another extra's job. This time it was for NTT Flet's, and they kept us there way longer than was necessary. We're going to get cut out of just about every scene anyway, so I figure that we spent at least two hours too long doing the same scenes over and over again. My goal for next year is to increase the number of print jobs that I land. I want to keep beefing up my portfolio.

More rain slated for tomorrow.


Sunday, October 10, 2004

Near Miss

The typhoon hit eastern Tokyo yesterday evening. We got some strong gusts, and plenty of rain, but no damage that I've noticed so far. Apparently there was a lot of destruction out towards Chiba. It seems like the typhoon travelled right up the bay, drilling Yokohama, Disneyland and the Funabashi area in the process.

The biggest typhoon to hit Tokyo in more than a decade was just a bad storm from our vantage point. I hope that there wasn't too much flooding around the Yamanote loop!


Saturday, October 09, 2004

Typhoons and Stuff

Haven't experienced the true force of a typhoon before. T-minus one hour and counting... The electricity is probably going to go soon, so I thought I'd get one of these fired off before that happens. The news says that this is one of the more powerful ones to ever bear down on Tokyo. Oh, joy.

The Swallows are in second and battling to hold off the stupid Giants. There are a few games left, so it could go either way.

Not too long ago I heard 'no' on about three or four auditions in a row. However, things have picked up again. I just got the last two jobs that I tried out for. The law of averages is a wonderful thing.

The misinformation campaign has entered its final stages, and the American people are probably very used to getting lied to by now. Whether or not that means that their instincts to ask more difficult questions, and demand straight answers, have been sharpened has yet to be seen. My ballot should be arriving in the mail shortly. Not that it matters. I'm from Vermont. Back home, phrases referring to something that 'swings' are usually descriptions of people's dating styles.