Political Animal


WHO LETS THESE PEOPLE VOTE, ANYWAY?….One more quick observation about some weirdness in those exit polls: among people who thought only Gore had the knowledge to be president, 5% voted for Bush. Likewise, among people who thought only Bush had the knowledge to be president, 4% voted for Gore.

What the hell is up with that?

BUSH AND TAXES….I was surfing

BUSH AND TAXES….I was surfing around the Web last night and happened to come across the exit polling data for the 2000 election, and it was pretty interesting to look at it two years into the Bush presidency. It’s not that there was anything all that startling in the breakdowns, just that it clarified a few home truths a little more forcefully than usual.

In particular, the exit poll results really crystallize the political imperatives behind Bush’s economic plan:

  • People who thought the economy was going to get worse voted for Bush 52%-45% and people who thought that being trustworthy “mattered most” voted for him by a whopping 80%-15%. Worriers who put their faith in someone are likely to turn like jackals if they feel mislead or lied to, so he really has to appear to be doing something if he wants to keep from losing the votes of these people. Thus the necessity for a “bold,” “much bigger than expected” economic program.

  • Among people who thought taxes were the most important issue in the election, 80% voted for Bush. No other issue even came close to dividing the electorate this strongly for either candidate.

  • As the chart shows, Bush’s support rose linearly with income level. So: a big economic program that emphasizes tax breaks and aims them disproportionately at the well-off makes perfect sense. In a way, he didn’t really have any other choice if he wanted to avoid wholesale defections among aggrieved core supporters.

And Pickering and affirmative action? Well, Bush won a majority of the popular vote in only one region: the South. Enough said.


WWII VETS AGAINST THE WAR….Here’s some interesting poll information: the age group that most opposes war with Iraq is that aged 77 and up, Tom Brokaw’s famous “Greatest Generation” of World War II veterans.

In a Los Angeles Times Poll last month, support for sending U.S. ground troops to Iraq was 58% among all 1,305 respondents compared with 35% among the World War II generation. A poll of 4,469 Americans by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press in the fall indicated that 60% of Americans favored taking action in Iraq to end Hussein’s regime, but that only 41% of participants 75 and older supported such action.

Their main complaint seems to be that Bush has not yet made a good case for war, a telling criticism from a generation that has heard successive presidents trying to justify their various wars for over 50 years and probably has a pretty good ear for whether this one’s war talk is more like FDR’s or LBJ’s. As one respondent put it, “I’m willing to be convinced either way, but if there’s some darned good reason for going to war, I haven’t seen it yet.”

But Colin Powell promises that later this month we’re all going to hear ? something. Not a “darned good reason,” perhaps, but at least “a persuasive case.” That does seem to be the very least we could expect from them, doesn’t it?

FROOGLE….Here’s an intriguing new item

FROOGLE….Here’s an intriguing new item that I just noticed (although it’s been around for a few weeks): Google is beta testing a new comparison shopping service called Froogle. So I tried it.

The test subject was a Nikon Coolpix 4500 digital camera. Enter the search terms and you get the screen on the right, which returned 5,847 results. Yikes!

There doesn’t appear to be a “sort by price” option, but by entering a price range and lowering it step by step I eventually found one place that sold the camera for $404 and two others that sold it for $450. Not bad. But how does it compare to other product comparison sites? Pretty well, it turns out.

I tried the same search on NexTag, which doesn’t sort by price either, but since it returned only 39 results it was easy to scan them and see that the lowest price on offer was $472.

AskJeeves returned 67 results and it even sorted them by price. However, the lowest price it found was $500.

So, based on one quick test, it seems like it has potential. The comparison information wasn’t as good as its more established competitors, but on the plus side it returned a lot more hits and found a much lower price. It’s worth a look, especially since it will undoubtedly get better when it goes live after the beta testing is finished.

UPDATE: Alex Salkever tried it out too and wasn’t as impressed. His report is here.