"Bi-Pollster Disorder:" An American Epidemic
By Bonnie Chernin Rogoff
Founder, Jews For Life
November 1, 2001
The mainstream media is taking its poll on us, and President Bush is paying a price.
The results of a recent CBS/NY Times poll have indicated some very significant changes in the public's perception of the way the government is handling the war. In particular, harsh criticism has been directed toward President Bush regarding his job performance and handling of the crisis, and the new numbers reflect a precipitous drop in support among Americans for the President.
According to the new poll, President Bush's disapproval rating, which was only 7% early in early October, has now risen to 8%, an unsettling increase of 1%. Worse, the President's approval rating has plummeted a full three points, from 90% to 87%. This suggests a reversal in the President's momentum, a disastrous turn that can spell a voter backlash against the Republicans in the upcoming mid-term elections, and doom for President Bush in 2004.
The unexpected poll results have the Republican Party and their supporters voicing alarm, and running for cover.
Said Dan Rather of CBS News:
"This is the worst single digit drop in the history of the poll, and is unprecedented during a war. If anything, President Bush's positive approval rating should have risen to at least 500%."
Peter Jennings agreed.
"Our own ABC polls show a similar trend, and the anthrax situation doesn't improve matters, either. Since we run our polls on a daily basis, it is expected that by the 2002 mid-term elections, the Republicans will be in big trouble."
Mr. Jennings noted that with only three years left until Election Day, 2004, should current trends continue, President Bush's approval ratings will be well below zero. No President has ever been re-elected with a less than zero approval rating.
In Brooklyn, U.S.A., where Democratic loyalties run high, the reactions were predictable at the Democratic Diner.
"I could have told you!" said Ethel, a registered voter, Democratic fundraiser, volunteer and former Gore supporter. "President Bush can't handle a war. If he could, why wasn't bin Laden captured yet? Why are there still terrorists in the world? Why is there anthrax? Why isn't the war over yet? It seems like it just started and it's almost two months already!"
Other diners readily agreed with Ethel's assessment. The continual media reports of anthrax and potential bio-terrorism have patrons worried. This mirrors responses to the CBS/Times poll, which states that although 94% of Americans are following the anthrax reports, less than 50% believe the government is telling what it knows.
"How can I even open the envelope if it's got anthrax in it? Don't blame the terrorists, it's Bush's fault!" diner Bernie exclaimed. "It's a right-wing extremist group that's sending the anthrax. The President should end all mail delivery in the United States until they find out who is sending the anthrax."
When asked to provide a source documenting right-wing extremists being behind the terrorist attacks, Bernie said:
"I don't know what you mean. I saw it on television. Is that a source?"
The poll further states that most people surveyed claim they are more careful when handling their mail, a fact not missed by regulars at the Democratic Diner.
"Whenever I get a letter from dirty politicians asking for money, I wash my hands of it!" one customer remarked.
The CBS/Times survey also indicated people are less likely to fly, more likely to be nervous, and are having trouble sleeping at night. When asked about this phenomenon, an unnamed Professor of Psychiatry suggested the polls are to blame. According to the Professor, the symptoms of "Bi-Pollster Disorder" typically include restlessness and an exaggerated fear of both parties in the federal government, Republicans in particular. If unchecked, it can be America's next epidemic.
"The most frightening item ever found in a U.S. mailbox was an IRS form stating taxes were owed to Uncle Sam, which could be blamed on Democrats who are responsible for our increased tax burden. Now, people dread waking up and finding anthrax in their mail. Added to the tax burden, this pervasive anxiety results in less sleep at night for susceptible individuals," the Professor noted. "The polls publicizing the increasing fear of anthrax adds to the clinical aspects of "Bi-Pollster Disorder."
As for voter support for Republicans and Democrats, well, it can go both ways.
This observation is evidenced by the respondents' level of trust in government. "While trust in government is higher than before the attacks, it is lower than that recorded in some polls just a few weeks ago," CBS News relates on their website.
One positive result showed that Americans were spending more time with family and friends. According to the poll, "women are more likely than men to have spent more time with families and friends since the September 11 attacks, 40 percent to 29 percent."
Feminists from the National Organization of Women are furious.
"This is a sneaky attempt by CBS and the New York Times to try and publicly humiliate and subordinate women to men by portraying them as feeble, dependent and unable to fend for themselves. Women are just as likely to tell their family and friends to get lost as men are," a NOW member fumed.
One woman insisted the change in the poll numbers reflected the Republicans monopolizing the spotlight in which ex-President Bill Clinton stood.
"Voters will hold George W. Bush accountable for stealing Bill Clinton's thunder," she said. "Bush is lucky to have this war. It's a shame it didn't happen under Clinton."
Another Clinton supporter agreed, and was especially furious by the continuous news briefings held by Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary for President Bush.
"All we ever see on TV is that Fleischer guy and rich Republicans like Rumsfeld and Cheney and Trent Lott," she complained. "These guys are dishonest, and have all the money to get the protection they need. Republicans are using the war to their advantage, to gain public support and future votes. Just once, I'd like to see an honest Democrat interviewed who doesn't have a vested political interest in this war. Can someone please tell me why there hasn't been a single Democrat on TV or in the news lately that we can trust?"
Congressman Gary Condit was unavailable for comment.
Copyright 2001 by Bonnie Chernin Rogoff. Not to be reproduced in any fashion, in whole or in part, without written consent from the author. All rights reserved.