Lambro selectively cited poll data to downplay Democratic public support


Washington Times chief political correspondent Donald Lambro selectively cited data from a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll to claim that Democrats "aren't doing any better" in the polls than Republicans. In a November 10 column, Lambro argued that the Democratic "attack strategy" will not help the party in the 2006 elections, and cited one piece of data from a Washington Post/ABC News poll indicating Americans believe Republicans have "stronger leaders." However, the single piece of data Lambro cited stands against a preponderance of data in the poll indicating that Americans feel more in touch with Democrats, place more trust in Democrats than Republicans to handle most issues facing the country, and would like to see Democrats assume control of Congress in 2006.

From Lambro's November 10 Washington Times column:

But that was then, this is now -- two months before the start of the 2006 election season when the Democrats think this new and much more aggressive attack strategy will put them back into control of Congress.

But as weak as Mr. Bush and the Republicans may seem now, according to all the polls, the Democrats aren't doing any better.

"The public sees the Democrats as disorganized, lacking in clear ideas or a positive alternative to the GOP agenda, and bereft of appealing leaders," The Washington Post reported Sunday in a story about their latest party preference poll.

When The Post's poll asked which party has stronger leaders, respondents chose Republicans over Democrats by 51-35 percent. That's a convincing reason why the Democrats need to spend more time developing a national security agenda and less time playing political war games.

According to the Post/ABC poll*, conducted October 30-November 2, 53 percent of respondents would vote for the Democratic candidate from their congressional district if elections were held today, versus 36 percent who would vote for the Republican candidate. Overall, 49 percent of respondents trust Democrats "to do a better job in coping with the main problems the nation faces over the next few years," as opposed to 37 percent who trusted Republicans. With regard to specific issues facing the nation, higher percentages of respondents expressed more trust in Democrats than Republicans on almost every issue (percentage for Democrats listed first): the economy (56-34); Iraq (48-37); education (55-32); Social Security (56-29); gasoline prices (47-26); health care (54-29); taxes (48-38); the federal budget (48-34); and ethics in government (42-36). Democrats and Republicans drew equal support (48 percent each) on "the U.S. campaign against terrorism." The poll data also demonstrated that pluralities of respondents believe that Democrats better represent their own personal values (50 percent); are more concerned with their needs (56 percent); and are more open to the idea of people who are political moderates (60 percent).

* According to the Post: "The margin of sampling error for overall results is plus or minus 3 percentage points, and plus or minus 4 percentage points for results based on the subsample."

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