You know the conventional wisdom from DC consultants which says that Democrats from "tough" and "rural" districts have to avoid talking about the war? Seems like this new bipartisan poll shatters that BS meme entirely.
Here are they key excerpts:
"A new national poll indicates rural Americans are no longer reliably Republican, and the Bush administration's conduct of the war in Iraq seems mainly to blame...The poll was commissioned by the non-partisan Center for Rural Strategies, a Whitesburg, Ky., group trying to attract candidate attention to rural issues. Republican political consultant Bill Greener of Greener and Hook also participated in the design and analysis of the survey...The numbers reflect a plunge in Republican support among rural voters...Concern about the war in Iraq seems to be the reason for the decline in Republican support, according to respondents in the new poll. Three-fourths of those surveyed know someone who is serving or has served in the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan...Forty-one percent named the war in Iraq among their two top issues for the president and Congress. Half agreed with the statement that 'the current course [in Iraq] cannot bring stability, and we need to start reducing the number of troops.' Half also agreed with congressional attempts to reduce troop levels in Iraq...These responses show a complete reversal from earlier surveys of rural voters, where clear majorities favored the president's approach."
Again, this cuts directly against the conventional wisdom that is spewed inside the Washington Beltway. As just one example, let's remember pollster Fred Yang, who said that Democrats' recent move to give President Bush a blank check for his Iraq policy was "obviously a good move" - yet according to the actual data, it was only "obviously a good move" if Democrats' goal was to alienate voters.
Of course, these pollsters tend to cite their concern for political prospects in "red states" as the reason why they tell Democrats not to oppose neoconservative foreign policies. And very often, we find out that such prescriptions are idiotic, and not just on Iraq as this new poll shows, but on other security issues as well.
You may recall that it was Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) who said his concern for "red states" was why he was telling Democrats to not oppose reauthorization of the Patriot Act. He said this at exactly the time red state Democrats were using their opposition to the Patriot Act to make inroads with conservative voters.
Let's hope this new poll breaks through the Beltway echo chamber - and gets Democratic politicians to stop listening to their insulated, cliche-driven consultants who play into the Fox News meme of "supporting the war means you are strong on national security" - a meme that most Americans do not believe.