May 20, 2003


Posted by Arcane Gazebo at May 20, 2003 2:08 PM I heard that the terror advisory was back to orange, and I started thinking about Bush's job approval rating. Specifically, if he gets a boost from starting a war, does he get a smaller boost from things like terror alerts? I was able to find time series data for the job approval rating, and the answer is no - or at least, not observably.

Actually, the data itself is quite interesting. First, the statistical spread between the polls is so high - on the order of 10% - that only very large changes can be seen. One can also see the biases of the individual polls pretty clearly.

Only two events have a noticeable effect - obviously, 9/11 and the Iraq war. Between these two, the downward trend (the subject of an earlier post, before I saw this plot) is stunningly linear. It seems that Bush alienates people at an approximately constant rate over time, which is encouraging. (Encouraging, except that it gives him motivation to start more wars.) Tags:

You missed the true cynic's interpretation of the elevated terror status- to divert attention from the chaos in Baghdad and the absence of discovery of WMD, of course.

Thanks for the static link.

Posted by: Jeremiah Spur | May 21, 2003 8:06 AM

This interpretation didn't really occur to me, mainly because I don't see these issues getting much attention anyway. (That statement may be more a reflection of my own priorities than actual media coverage, but it seems like we heard a lot more about less significant matters, like the "Top Gun" photo op and its critics.)

In a way the terror advisory draws attention to an unpleasant reality about the end of the Iraq war - namely, that we are not any safer now.

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | May 21, 2003 11:48 AM


We've stomped the ant hill but I'm not sure we've killed many ants.

Posted by: Jeremiah Spur | May 21, 2003 11:56 AM
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