Public opinion polls spanning the period before and after the capture of the Evil Dictator show the extent to which public opinion can be made to shift by a well-deployed news story or poll. The news was announced via broadcast media early on Sunday, too late to appear in the Sunday newspapers. Polls taken before the capture showed that 47 percent of the people believe the President is doing poorly but that the war in Iraq is going well. But by Monday these numbers had split to 64 percent thinking the President is doing well and 38 percent believing the occupation was doing not so well. The capture of Hussein lifted Americans' view while halting a spiral of concern. Even in the glow, Americans are concerned that the US is mired and vulnerable. The President's approval rating has humped to 58 from 52 while his disapproval rating has sagged from 40 to 33. Americans even think the economy is getting better as a result of the capture of the Evil Dictator. 25 percent of respondents are further wrong in thinking that the President has been attending funerals of soldiers killed in the occupation, though 66 percent think he ought to and disagreed with the White House policy of not allowing photographers to cover funeral services. One person said the occupation was illegal. Two said they were working with a vast network of revolutionaries to overthrow the ruling elite. Our polling service asked these pointed questions because we disagree with the President. In theory, in 19 cases out of 20, results based on a sample of 635 adults will differ by no more than a few percentage points in either direction from what would have been obtained by seeking out all American adults. It is a wonderful theory although it does not apply to people without telephones or who work nights. Overall, however, polls are less concerned with recording public opinion than with shaping it according to the philosophy that 16/17 people would rather adopt an opinion than bear one. Should this theory prove false, such that people form opinions based on criteria other than other people's opinions, the purpose of polls will be to lie outright about public opinion in the hope that somebody, somewhere, believes that somebody, somewhere, is being fooled.

Newspoetry at Spineless Books