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Cube Jockey
There is a recent article from the AP that shows the lowest level of approval for the Iraq war yet, we are now in the upper 30's - story.
QUOTE
Americans' approval of President Bush's handling of Iraq is at its lowest level yet, according to an AP-Ipsos poll that also found fewer than half now think he's honest.

A solid majority still see Bush as a strong and likable leader, though the president's confidence is seen as arrogance by a growing number.

Approval of Bush's handling of Iraq, which had been hovering in the low- to mid-40s most of the year, dipped to 38 percent. Midwesterners and young women and men with a high school education or less were most likely to abandon Bush on his handling of Iraq in the last six months.

Ohio's house congressional district 2 recently hosted an election between Jean Schmidt ( R ) and Paul Hackett ( D ). As expected in this heavily republican district, Hackett lost. The surprise was the margin and his stance on the Iraq and his anti-Bush comments. This election saw a 4 point margin, the last election in 2004 saw a 44 point margin. In depth pre-election analysis can be found at the Cook Political Report.

Given the public perception of the Iraq war and Bush's steadily declining approval rating in addition to this surprising race in Ohio I submit the following questions for debate:
1. Will the Iraq war be the #1 issue in the 2006 elections?

2. Will the candidates (Democrat, Republican or 3rd party) taking an anti-war or a pull-out stance resonate with voters based on the evidence presented above? Why or why not?
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psyclist
Just to add a bit of background, Hackett was a vet of this war having served in the Marines and fighting in Fallujah. Schmidt won 52% to 48% in district 2 which as far as I know, is Ohio's must republican district.

I would like to think that the Iraq war should be the number 1 issue in 2006, but depending on the status of troop withdrawl, it may or may not. Honestly I think the republicans will do the most they can to skirt the issue of the war in Iraq. In the Hackett/Schmidt race Schmidt's commercials attacked Hackett's tax plan and avoided the Iraq war all together. Hackett (obviously) focused on his service and the Schmidt/Taft relationship.
Had this election occured a few days later after 10 Marines from Ohio (1 of which was a friend of mine down.gif God Bless You Mike) were killed in an attack, the outcome may have been different.


I can only hope we get some sensible anti-war candidates in there to get this mess over and done with.
Vampiel
I think it will be a hot topic so long as we have a large amount of troops in the country. Being an "anti-war" candidate I don't believe will give any type of extra sway, and I dont have any numbers to back this up, but I would hope that even if you are against the war most people know that we have to stay in the country to prevent it from becoming a full blown civil war. Most of the people, that I know at least that are against the war are not calling for a pull out, only a change in command. So even if it's another Republican and they are a swing voter then it would depend on how well they present themselve's as a person that would be able to handle the situation and not just "pull out". Anyone can do that.
Dontreadonme
1. Will the Iraq war be the #1 issue in the 2006 elections?
From all indications, the troop levels in Iraq may decline during the first half of next year. Many may decry this as a political move on Bush's part, but this viewpoint would negate the obvious trend in post-combat occupation strategy, that as a government, constitution and military/police force are stood up, the less need for foreign i.e. US troops. I believe the iraq war issue is the strongest one for the Democrats to run on, but they though it was a slam dunk in 2004, and we all know where that got them. I think that the Democrats will use it as the number on issue, but if I was in Dean's position, I would target corruption of the administration and lax border/port security.

2. Will the candidates (Democrat, Republican or 3rd party) taking an anti-war or a pull-out stance resonate with voters based on the evidence presented above? Why or why not?

Hackett ran on more of an appeal to patriotism campaign than an anti-war, and his commercials never or nearly never mentioned his political affiliation. This may be clever campaigning in a Republican district, but how true to your ideals can you be if you don't stand by the party that is supporting you? If he was not beholden to the Democratic party, he could have run as an independent with similar results. Schmidt was tied to unpopular tax raises by Gov. Taft. I think that this more than another issue was the reason for the close vote margin.
Factologist
QUOTE(Dontreadonme @ Aug 7 2005, 01:41 AM)

1. Will the Iraq war be the #1 issue in the 2006 elections?   
From all indications, the troop levels in Iraq may decline during the first half of next year. Many may decry this as a political move on Bush's part, but this viewpoint would negate the obvious trend in post-combat occupation strategy, that as a government, constitution and military/police force are stood up, the less need for foreign i.e. US troops. I believe the iraq war issue is the strongest one for the Democrats to run on, but they though it was a slam dunk in 2004, and we all know where that got them. I think that the Democrats will use it as the number on issue, but if I was in Dean's position, I would target corruption of the administration and lax border/port security. 
 
2. Will the candidates (Democrat, Republican or 3rd party) taking an anti-war or a pull-out stance resonate with voters based on the evidence presented above? Why or why not? 
 
Hackett ran on more of an appeal to patriotism campaign than an anti-war, and his commercials never or nearly never mentioned his political affiliation. This may be clever campaigning in a Republican district, but how true to your ideals can you be if you don't stand by the party that is supporting you? If he was not beholden to the Democratic party, he could have run as an independent with similar results. Schmidt was tied to unpopular tax raises by Gov. Taft. I think that this more than another issue was the reason for the close vote margin.
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To handle the insurgents we need 350,000 troops instead of what we current have in Iraq, until the border is secured the flood of terrorist will move as freely as the ILLEGAL ALIENS flooding the USA....If it were not for the 06 election and bush poll numbers.....there would be no mention of a draw down.......Bush went to IRAQ to Avenge his poppie, Seize oil and establish a site to protect Israel and monitor the flow of oil moving thru the middle east......Why else would we be building 14 new Military bases and a $1Trillion Embassy?
Factologist
QUOTE(Dontreadonme @ Aug 7 2005, 01:41 AM)
1. Will the Iraq war be the #1 issue in the 2006 elections? 
From all indications, the troop levels in Iraq may decline during the first half of next year. Many may decry this as a political move on Bush's part, but this viewpoint would negate the obvious trend in post-combat occupation strategy, that as a government, constitution and military/police force are stood up, the less need for foreign i.e. US troops. I believe the iraq war issue is the strongest one for the Democrats to run on, but they though it was a slam dunk in 2004, and we all know where that got them. I think that the Democrats will use it as the number on issue, but if I was in Dean's position, I would target corruption of the administration and lax border/port security.

2. Will the candidates (Democrat, Republican or 3rd party) taking an anti-war or a pull-out stance resonate with voters based on the evidence presented above? Why or why not?

Hackett ran on more of an appeal to patriotism campaign than an anti-war, and his commercials never or nearly never mentioned his political affiliation. This may be clever campaigning in a Republican district, but how true to your ideals can you be if you don't stand by the party that is supporting you? If he was not beholden to the Democratic party, he could have run as an independent with similar results. Schmidt was tied to unpopular tax raises by Gov. Taft. I think that this more than another issue was the reason for the close vote margin.
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I agree with you on that one......The Republicans are all in lockstep "Party is more important than principle"......That what wrong with the current political process!
Ultimatejoe
Factologist, please refrain from posting consecutively. Every time someone posts they have a 12 hour window with which to go back and edit their comments. If you wish to address a new comment, or respond to multiple posts, try to do it in one post, and please use the user posted image button to go back and make the appropriate changes.

As well, everyone, please try and keep this discussion constructive. Refrain from one-liners and aphorisms.
nemov
QUOTE(Factologist @ Aug 13 2005, 06:49 PM)
I agree with you on that one......The Republicans are all in lockstep "Party is more important than principle"......That what wrong with the current political process!
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I would suspect an ill-informed generalization fueled by ideological perspective of choice is also what is wrong with the current political process. If Republicans voted in lockstep it is not likely George H. W. Bush would have lost to Clinton who only received around 42% of the vote in 92. However, that is beside the point. The Economy is still the biggest issue to the average American voter. Iraq is a sore spot, and a source of constant bad news for Bush, but he’s not up for reelection in 2006 and most of the Congress voted for the war.

1. Will the Iraq war be the #1 issue in the 2006 elections?

As I stated above, it will not. 2006 is not a national election; it is a series of local elections. Among “likely voters” Bush’s approval ratings are about the same as they were a year ago. I would think the Gas prices are Bush’s biggest problem. It not something he can really control, but the perception is the president is responsible (Bush didn’t cut Clinton slack in 2000 on gas prices).

2. Will the candidates (Democrat, Republican or 3rd party) taking an anti-war or a pull-out stance resonate with voters based on the evidence presented above? Why or why not?
Things would have to get considerably worse in Iraq for this to happen (Vietnam 1968 levels). In 1968 Democrats lost 48 seats in the house (but only lost 4 Senate seats), but I am not sure all of that can be attributed to Vietnam. Johnson and the Democrat convention were also factors. Anyway, in 68 there was a Presidential election. 2006 does not fit that model (yet).
VDemosthenes
QUOTE(Cube Jockey @ Aug 5 2005, 09:44 PM)
1. Will the Iraq war be the #1 issue in the 2006 elections?

2. Will the candidates (Democrat, Republican or 3rd party) taking an anti-war or a pull-out stance resonate with voters based on the evidence presented above?  Why or why not?

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1.) I do not expect it to be. Many Americans are faithful that the war will run its course in due time- I do not expect the war to have such a huge bearing on the mid-term election. However, In 2,008 when we will be getting a new president and a new way of keeping house: I expect it to be a more highlighted issue.

2.) Not likely, I think most people have accepted the fact (though not spoken for by a highly non-scientific poll) that the war on terror will never end if we leave Iraq now.



Cube Jockey
A recent article in the New York Times suggests that many in the GOP are worried about the impact that Iraq will have on the '06 elections despite naysaying here.
QUOTE
Republicans said a convergence of events - including the protests inspired by the mother of a slain American soldier outside Mr. Bush's ranch in Texas, the missed deadline to draft an Iraqi Constitution and the spike in casualties among reservists - was creating what they said could be a significant and lasting shift in public attitude against the war.

The Republicans described that shift as particularly worrisome, occurring 14 months before the midterm elections. As further evidence, they pointed to a special election in Ohio two weeks ago, where a Democratic marine veteran from Iraq who criticized the invasion decision came close to winning in a district that should have easily produced a Republican victory.

Hmmm, pretty much exactly what I said... lets take a look at some quotes.

QUOTE
"There is just no enthusiasm for this war," said Representative John J. Duncan Jr., a Tennessee Republican who opposes the war. "Nobody is happy about it. It certainly is not going to help Republican candidates, I can tell you that much."

Representative Wayne T. Gilchrest, a Maryland Republican who originally supported the war but has since turned against it, said he had encountered "a lot of Republicans grousing about the situation as a whole and how they have to respond to a lot of questions back home."

QUOTE
Grover Norquist, a conservative activist with close ties to the White House and Mr. Bush's senior adviser, Karl Rove, said: "If Iraq is in the rearview mirror in the '06 election, the Republicans will do fine. But if it's still in the windshield, there are problems."

QUOTE
"Any effort to explain Iraq as 'We are on track and making progress' is nonsense," Newt Gingrich, a Republican who is a former House speaker, said. "The left has a constant drumbeat that this is Vietnam and a bottomless pit. The daily and weekly casualties leave people feeling that things aren't going well."

QUOTE
"If this continues to drag down Bush's approval ratings, Republican candidates will be running with Bush as baggage, not as an asset," Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center, said. "Should his numbers go much lower, he is going to be a problem for Republican candidates in 2006."


Now there are some people who are skeptical of this reasoning in the article of course, it is balanced in that manner. I'm just highlighting these statements because they could have easily have been said by a Democrat and yet they are coming from Republicans of varying prominence.

The fact that there is a disagreement here suggests that it will be an issue. It is true that midterm elections are supposed to be about local issues but as the OH-02 race proved you can do extremely well by running on national issues. This article also shows that Democratic candidates challenging big names like Chaffee and Santorum are already spinning up the war angle and forcing them to answer tough questions.
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nemov
QUOTE(Cube Jockey @ Aug 17 2005, 11:31 PM)
The fact that there is a disagreement here suggests that it will be an issue.  It is true that midterm elections are supposed to be about local issues but as the OH-02 race proved you can do extremely well by running on national issues.  This article also shows that Democratic candidates challenging big names like Chaffee and Santorum are already spinning up the war angle and forcing them to answer tough questions.
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This kind of reminds me of the Republican hopes in 97 and the Democrat fears during the Clinton scandal. Republicans are always worried it seems. Like a stated before in a previous post the situation in Iraq far from being Vietnam. Given the amount of gloomy negative coverage of everything in Iraq, it wouldn't take much "good news" now to turn the public's perception around. In Santorum case, he has bigger problems than Iraq. LOL
Cube Jockey
Yet more news on this front - it seems like several senators are making their positions known know in preparation for the 2006 and 2008 elections.

Chuck Hagel (R-NE) suggest we need to get out of Iraq:
QUOTE
Hagel, a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2008, responded that gasoline prices were likely to stay high for the foreseeable future because of rising world demand and the U.S. failure to develop new energy sources and conserve.

Earlier the same day in Lincoln, an elderly woman asked about Iraq. "Why are we there in the first place?" she asked.

~snip~

Hagel, a Vietnam veteran, acknowledged the U.S. military presence was becoming harder and harder to justify. He believes Iraq faces a serious danger of civil war that would threaten Middle East stability, and said there is little Washington can do to avert this.

"We are seen as occupiers, we are targets. We have got to get out. I don't think we can sustain our current policy, nor do I think we should," he said at one stop.


You can also hear the same thing coming from Russ Feingold:
QUOTE
Sen. Russ Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat, will call Thursday for the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq by Dec. 31, 2006.

Feingold, who is exploring a run for the presidency in 2008, told U.S. News: "I believe I am the first senator [to set a deadline]. It says: Here is the date by which we ought to finish the mission."


I'm sure that in the coming weeks we'll hear the same thing from all sorts of Democrats an Republicans with hope for re-election. They are setting their positions now in anticipation that Iraq will be the same or worse in 2006 and 2008.
nemov
QUOTE(Cube Jockey @ Aug 18 2005, 02:01 PM)
I'm sure that in the coming weeks we'll hear the same thing from all sorts of Democrats an Republicans with hope for re-election. They are setting their positions now in anticipation that Iraq will be the same or worse in 2006 and 2008. .
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It sure is nice to see optimism alive and well in politics. /sarcasm This seems like a logical step for those trying to insulate themselves from potential Iraq fallout. There is one drawback however, for those that take that stance and things end up stabilizing in Iraq they will be seen as being without resolve.

Sen. Hagel’s comments were about the connection over oil prices and Iraq. Much like the misconception about the connection of Iraq to the 9/11 attacks, Americans are blaming Iraq for the gas prices. Meanwhile the sales of gas guzzling SUVs continue to sore. I feel Bush deserves all he gets about gas prices after making it a political issue in 2000.

I was watching John Edwards on C-Span a few days ago. He was in New Hampshire of course. He is still running for President. He was shaking hands with people “on the street” and one gentleman told Edwards (paraphrasing) “I know President Bush could drop gas prices with one phone call, the prices are outrageous!” Edwards just grinned, listened, and said thanks for the support. It appears to me some time will pass before gas prices fall and if Americans continue to buy SUVs and drive more it will get worse before it gets better.
Cube Jockey
QUOTE(nemov @ Aug 18 2005, 11:27 AM)
Sen. Hagel’s comments were about the connection over oil prices and Iraq.  Much like the misconception about the connection of Iraq to the 9/11 attacks, Americans are blaming Iraq for the gas prices.  Meanwhile the sales of gas guzzling SUVs continue to sore.  I feel Bush deserves all he  gets about gas prices after making it a political issue in 2000.
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No they were not. I quoted that part of it but this section: "Earlier the same day in Lincoln, an elderly woman asked about Iraq. "Why are we there in the first place?" she asked." has nothing to do with gas prices and is completely disconnected from the previous paragraph. It has everything to do with the community feeling the pain of the Iraq occupation. I think that is pretty clear from the article, it is somewhat muddied I suppose because the article mentions gas prices as an issue also.

What I think a lot of congress-critters are going to find when they return to their home districts to campaign is that people are going to be asking these tough questions and it isn't going to matter whether they are Republicans or Democrats. The candidate that makes promises to end this nonsense is going to carry the day because it is the issue people care about right now. I think both parties are starting to realize that and you'll increasingly find Democrats taking this position and Republicans distancing themselves from Bush.
nemov
Just to clarify Zogby is a Democrat, but I guess he does work for Republicans and Democrats. This article explains why Democrats are not exactly benefiting from Bush's slide in the polls. Time is running out for the Democrats to come up with a message that will sell in 2006.

QUOTE
Independent pollster John Zogby says that although Mr. Bush is not doing well in the polls, the Democrats aren't doing any better.
    "The Democrats aren't scoring points in terms of landing any significant punches on Bush or in terms of saying anything meaningful to the American people," Mr. Zogby said.
    In a slap at his party, Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg said earlier this month that his surveys show that "one of the biggest doubts about Democrats is that they don't stand for anything."
    Mr. Greenberg found growing fissures among Hispanics on issues that could cut into the Democrats' vote next year.
    "Social issues, like abortion and gay marriage, create a modest crosscurrent in the Hispanic community that contributed, perhaps marginally, to the erosion of the Hispanic vote" in the 2004 presidential election, he said.
    Hispanics who voted Republican were "slightly more pro-life and slightly more favorable to pro-life groups," he said. His survey also found significant Hispanic opposition -- 34 percent -- to any new immigration.
Cube Jockey
QUOTE(nemov @ Aug 19 2005, 08:43 AM)
Just to clarify Zogby is a Democrat, but I guess he does work for Republicans and Democrats.  This article explains why Democrats are not exactly benefiting from Bush's slide in the polls.  Time is running out for the Democrats to come up with a message that will sell in 2006.
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I'm not trying to suggest they have gotten their act together on any other issue yet, because they really haven't, but it does look like Iraq is an important issue and those that take the right position on it will do well on election day.

I think that the strongest proof of that you are going to see outside of the actual election day returns is the OH-02 campaign. Yet again it is worth mentioning that this is one of the strongest Republican districts in the country and the previous Democrat who ran in 2004 lost by a margin of 44 points. Hackkett came in as an inexperienced politician and lost by only 4 points. That is huge.

The campaign wasn't defined by wedge issues like abortion or gay marriage or more traditional issues like the economy. The election was a referendum on Iraq.
nemov
QUOTE(Cube Jockey @ Aug 19 2005, 01:05 PM)
I think that the strongest proof of that you are going to see outside of the actual election day returns is the OH-02 campaign.  Yet again it is worth mentioning that this is one of the strongest Republican districts in the country and the previous Democrat who ran in 2004 lost by a margin of 44 points.  Hackkett came in as an inexperienced politician and lost by only 4 points.  That is huge.

The campaign wasn't defined by wedge issues like abortion or gay marriage or more traditional issues like the economy.  The election was a referendum on Iraq.
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From the same article.

QUOTE
Eager to show that they can be competitive in congressional races, Democrats are pointing to Paul Hackett, who received 48 percent of the vote in the Aug. 2 special House contest in Ohio's heavily Republican 2nd District.
    But analyst Stuart Rothenberg says Democrats have exaggerated the significance of the race, which Republican Jean Schmidt won.
    "Hackett's race may well be an aberration rather than a model for the future," he wrote in Roll Call. "Few serious GOP candidates next year will run efforts as inept as Schmidt's."


That race is practically worthless as any type of barometer for the 2006 election. Look at some of the special elections of 2003 that were supposed to foretell the 2004 election. Things are not quite so simple. If you really wish to know what is happening in Ohio read this article in the NY Times.
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