Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Western Nebraska Votes on the Iraq War

by Kyle Michaelis
The website of the McCook Gazette recently ran a poll asking readers, simply, "What's your opinion on Iraq?" I first noticed the poll the day it was posted and made note of the then-incomplete results, which seemed to pretty well capture what I would have guessed of a thoughtful population rightfully torn by such a complicated issue.

On Thursday, Dec. 7th the poll indicated:
* Stay until the job is done.: 27.6% (24 votes)
* Gradually hand over control to the Iraqis.: 44.8% (39 votes)
* Get out now.: 27.6% (24 votes)

I refrained from discussing the poll at NNN while it remained open out of curiosity as to what ultimate results would prevail. Besides my single vote, I wouldn't have wanted the readers of this site to color the results.

Organized efforts to tilt these sorts of numbers have always seemed rather insulting to the general public who desire and deserve some easy means to gauge what their fellow citizens are thinking. While there was surely some tampering with the poll by those who care less about truth than controlling public perception, I trust that element was kept to a minimum considering its local character and appeal.

After running a week-and-a-half, the poll finally closed this weekend. With the above caveat as to its veracity, I think readers will still be interested in the final results:
What's your opinion on Iraq?

* Stay until the job is done.: 25.4% (96 votes)
* Gradually hand over control to the Iraqis.: 39.9% (151 votes)
* Get out now.: 34.7% (131 votes)

378 votes cast
If I had to guess, the "Get out now"-sentiments are probably a little over-represented by these numbers. It seems fairly reasonable to expect some skewing towards the extremes since the most polarized segments of the population are generally the most motivated to be heard and to see their opinions reflected.

Still, I could be wrong. Perhaps I've underestimated how much opposition - not just ambivalence - has really developed against the war in places like McCook.

I'd certainly be curious to know what my fellow Nebraskans think about that possibility.


Blogger john owens-ream said...

I've heard that the kleeb polling right up until the election showed Bush still above 50% in the 3rd. Obviously that has to do with partisan leanings of the district, but it's also realted to iraq. There's a strong relationship between support for bush and support for withdrawl, since Iraq is the signature issue of the year.

Still, McCook is one of the most free-thinking towns in the 3rd, and it has a strong branch of Nebraskan's for Peace.

Plus, this isn't a sample of McCook residents, it's a sample of people who read the webpage. Those people are going to be a) younger b) more news savy, c) some of them will be from all over the state.

Still, I bet this poll is a somewhat truthful reflection of the slow move to the left in Western Nebraska.

Check out the most recent SUSA Numbers:


Nebraska has moved faster to the left, even while still being in the most pro-bush 15% of the states, than all but a few other states in the last year. MyDD had a graph showing that NE, TX, SD, WY, and a few others have, based on SUSA ratings, had the president drop the most in popularity the fastest over the last year.

This makes sense, partially because Bush had just rediculously too high an approval in NE already. But still, it's a good sign.

This comment is WAY too long and rambling.


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