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Evaluating the George W Bush Presidency 2009 Conference

Evaluating the George W Bush Presidency 2009 Conference

Published in: Education, News & Politics
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    • 1. “The Impact of the Bush Presidency ON Public Opinion: Partisanship and Polarization” Kathleen A. Frankovic Evaluating the George W. Bush Presidency UH-Hilo July 29-31, 2009
    • 2. OVERVIEW • Presentation will examine: – Polarization between parties and partisans in the 21st century – Changes in the structure of opinion and voting • The major questions: 1) whether these changes are directly attributable to the Bush Presidency or are part of longer-term developments in American society, and 2) whether they continue
    • 3. WHY EXPECT POLARIZATION? We often assume there has been polarization in the last decade, whether elite or general public – Changes in media environment: 24-hour news cycles, assumption that news outlets are not objective, point-counterpoint debate – Accusations of bias in the media comes from both sides (though in the last 20 years mostly from the right) – The 2004 electoral strategies
    • 4. MOMENTS OF INCREASED PARTISANSHIP • 1990’s: Thomas nomination, Clinton impeachment, rise of talk radio • Disputed 2000 election • Development of more sophisticated partisan spin apparatus • 2004 election focus on mobilizing the “base”
    • 5. MEASURES OF POLARIZATION • During the Bush Presidency, polls increasingly came under attack – Polls have always been attacked by those who disagree but… – The criticism increased during the 1998 Clinton impeachment – It may even have been exacerbated by exit poll concerns and criticisms in the 2000 and 2004 elections
    • 6. Partisan Criticism: NOT NEW “The whole scheme is one of fraud and debauchery, and may be taken as the first step to do away with popular elections under the law, and place the molding of public opinion in the hands of millionaires and corporations.” -- Chicago Democratic Party, 1896
    • 7. PARTISAN POLARIZATION IS MAINLY ABOUT LEARNING • Americans have learned how they are supposed to respond in elections and to pollsters • They have also learned how to respond to information that challenges their expectations • The media environment encourages rapid response as the 24-hour news cycle requires point-counterpoint behavior and political figures supply it
    • 8. DID THE BUSH PRESIDENCY INCREASE POLARIZATION? IS POLARIZATION STILL INCREASING?
    • 9. Polarization: PARTISANSHIP IN ELECTIONS 17 23 18 24 27 32 31 1984 1988 1992 1996 2000 2004 2008 NUMBER OF STATES Number of States Outperforming Either Party’s National Average by More than 5 Points 1984 17 2008 31
    • 10. Evidence: CHANGES IN PARTY- LINE VOTING 1992-2008 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 Republicans Democrats 1992 1996 2000 2004 2008 WITHIN-PARTY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN VOTE FOR OWN PARTY AND OPPOSING PARTY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES (CBS NEWS Exit Polls)
    • 11. PARTISANSHIP AND VOTING: 3-CANDIDATE RACE 1992 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Republicans Democrats Clinton Bush Perot Difference = 63 Difference = 67 REP-DEM % DEM–REP % REPERCENTAGING WITHOUT PEROT, POLARIZATION STILL REMAINS BELOW LEVEL IN LATER ELECTIONS
    • 12. PARTISANSHIP AND VOTING: 2-CANDIDATE RACE 2004 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Republicans Democrats Kerry Bush Difference = 87 Difference = 78 REP%-DEM % DEM%–REP %
    • 13. PARTISANSHIP AND VOTING: 2-CANDIDATE RACE 2008 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Republicans Democrats Obama McCain Difference = 79 Difference = 81 REP%-DEM % DEM%–REP %
    • 14. Polarization: APPROVAL SOURCE: Pew Research Center
    • 15. Polarization: APPROVAL 25 25 46 38 45 51 61 NIXON CARTER REAGAN BUSH CLINTON BUSH OBAMA BETWEEN-PARTY PERCENTAGE DIFFERENCES EARLY IN ADMINISTRATIONS
    • 16. Polarization: PARTISANS LEARNED WHAT TO SAY IN POLLS 6/92 GHW Bush 34% APPROVAL RATING Republicans 55% Democrats 18% REP-DEM APPROVAL: 37 pts. 3/06 GW Bush 34% APPROVAL RATING Republicans 74% Democrats 6% REP-DEM APPROVAL: 68 pts. CBS News/NY Times Polls
    • 17. OPINION STRUCTURE: Party and Ideology HAS PARTISAN DISTRIBUTION CHANGED? Republican Democrat 1/2001 23% 35 +12 1/2005 31% 34 + 3 12/2005 28% 32 + 4 1/2007 25% 36 +11 4/2009 21% 38 +17 7/2009 23% 35 +12 CBS News/NY Times Polls
    • 18. OPINION STRUCTURE: Party and Ideology HAVE PARTISANS BECOME MORE IDEOLOGICAL? REPUBLICANS: LIBERAL CONSERVATIVE 1/2001 13% 47 +34 1/2005 5% 59 +54 12/2005 5% 60 +55 1/2007 6% 53 +47 4/2009 9% 51 +42 7/2009 7% 53 +45 CBS News/NY Times Polls
    • 19. OPINION STRUCTURE: Party and Ideology HAVE PARTISANS BECOME MORE IDEOLOGICAL? DEMOCRATS: LIBERAL CONSERVATIVE 1/2001 31% 22 - 9 1/2005 34% 19 -15 12/2005 31% 16 -15 1/2007 40% 17 -23 4/2009 40% 16 -24 7/2009 32% 19 -13 CBS News/NY Times Polls
    • 20. OPINION STRUCTURE: Party and Ideology IDEOLOGICAL CONSISTENCY ROSE WITH INCREASING NUMBERS • Republicans became more ideological in the Bush first term (post-9/11) • Democrats became more ideological as they increased in numbers in the second Bush Administration (post-Schiavo and post-Katrina)
    • 21. PERCEPTIONS OF POLARIZATION PARTY RATINGS NOT FAVORABLE – FAVORABLE 6/2001 6/2009 Republicans’ Views of Democrats 40 56 Democrats’ Views of Republicans 57 77 CBS News/NY Times Polls
    • 22. PERCEPTIONS OF POLARIZATION DO MEMBERS OF THE OTHER PARTY SHARE YOUR NON-POLITICAL VALUES? Yes No Republicans on Democrats 7/2005 56% 40 3/2007 43% 53 Democrats on Republicans 7/2005 47% 49 3/2007 46% 51 CBS News/NY Times Polls
    • 23. SOURCES OF POLARIZATION WHEN DID THE CHANGES EMERGE? • The Clinton impeachment brought some polarization, though there was less division in traditionally non-political areas HOW DO THE CHANGES DEVELOP? • New areas of partisanship – beyond traditional areas of party differences (economics, social issues) -- as public learns the expected poll responses
    • 24. Polarization: APPROVAL PARTISANSHIP CONTINUES EVEN IN HISTORICALLY LESS PARTISAN AREAS FOREIGN POLICY APPROVAL TOTAL REP. DEM Clinton 5/99 55% 41% 79% +38 Bush 6/01 47% 73% 28% -45 Bush 1/05 42% 78% 15% -63 Obama 6/09 53% 26% 78% -52 CBS News/NY Times Polls
    • 25. Polarization: OTHER ISSUES Was U.S. military action against Iraq the right thing to do? 1991 2003 2006 Total YES 70% 69% 41% Republicans 84% 87% 71% Democrats 59% 50% 20% PARTY DIFFERENCE 25 37 51 CBS News/NY Times Polls
    • 26. Polarization: NATIONAL SECURITY WHAT SHOULD BE DONE WITH GUANTANAMO? 6/09 Rep Dem Continue to operate 60% 29% Close 26 60 CBS News/NY Times Polls
    • 27. Polarization: JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS SHOULD THOMAS BE CONFIRMED? Yes No Not Sure Before Hearings Republicans 32% 6 58 Democrats 19% 14 61 After Hearings Republicans 77% 18 6 Democrats 46 42 11 CBS News/NY Times Polls
    • 28. Polarization: JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS SHOULD … BE CONFIRMED? First Impressions Yes No Not Sure Roberts (8/05) Republicans 46% 4 46 Democrats 13% 16 67 Sotomayor (6/09) Republicans 17% 22 56 Democrats 56% 2 40 CBS News/NY Times Polls
    • 29. TODAY’S ENVIRONMENT • Americans have learned what they are supposed to believe • While party distribution has changed little, party divisions have increased • Partisan polarization is high, giving rise to the notion of a culture war and reaffirming the prevalence of the Red State/Blue State concept • Other divisions reinforce party differences: religion and religiosity, race, urbanity • Consequently, when partisans are on the same side it becomes news
    • 30. THE IMPACT OF POLITICAL ATTACKS ON POLLS • The political nature of the attacks reduces belief in polls’ “precision” • Attacks are magnified by the “echo chamber” of news shows and internet blogs -- from BOTH sides – and matter more in intense campaigns with polarization between the parties • BUT… EVEN PARTISAN ATTACKERS OFTEN RAISE IMPORTANT METHODOLOGICAL QUESTIONS: WEIGHTING, QUESTION WORDING, INTERVIEWER BIAS
    • 31. THE IMPACT OF THE BUSH PRESIDENCY • Overall, there has been little change in either party distribution or ideological composition • Some items continue to show long- term partisan divisions, while others suggest easing of party differences • Partisans are now educated on their expected reactions on nearly all subjects
    • 32. THE IMPACT OF THE BUSH PRESIDENCY • Increased polarization and partisan attacks increase the scrutiny of polls – probably a good thing, even when the criticism is unfair or wrong. • So…the long-term effect of the Bush Presidency on public opinion may not be known for a while
    • 33. “The Impact of the Bush Presidency ON Public Opinion: Partisanship and Polarization” Kathleen A. Frankovic Evaluating the George W. Bush Presidency UH-Hilo July 29-31, 2009

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