THE BLOG
06/16/2007 11:32 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Re: Pardon?

An update to my post yesterday on speculation about how a
pardon of Scooter Libby might affect the Bush job rating: The amazingly
responsive analysts at the Gallup organization sent this update, which answers
the question I posed above by and shows how reactions to the notion of a Libby
pardon back in March mesh with the Bush job rating at that time.

Among Republicans -
March survey:

  • 31% Approve Bush job / Favor pardon
  • 35% Approve Bush job / Oppose pardon
  • 9% Approve Bush job / DK-Ref on pardon
  • 3% Not Approve Bush job / Favor pardon
  • 16% Not Approve Bush job / Oppose pardon
  • 5% Not Approve Bush job / DK-Ref on pardon
  • 100% Total

As of March, only 3% of Republicans favored a Bush Libby pardon
but did not approve of the job George Bush was doing as President. Meanwhile,
roughly five twelve times as many (35% 16%) opposed a pardon but approved of Bush.

Looking at it another way, roughly nine out of ten of those
who favored a pardon in March already approved of Bush's performance.

Of course, two big caveats are in order. First, as John
Dickerson pointed out via email, a lot has changed in the Libby case since
March. He has been sentenced to a term that especially angers his supporters and
asked to serve his time immediately. We also now have three presidential
candidates (Thompson, Romney and Giuliani) making the case for a pardon. So we
might see different reactions among Republicans the next time pollsters ask the
pardon question.

Second, commenter Chris G has a point when he argues that
figuring out "the influence of a big media event like the pardon" requires "so
much more than voters simply hearing a single sentence that's analogous with
what polling interviewers [ask]." Using survey data to measure current
attitudes or reactions is one thing. Using it to try to predict the future
attitude is inherently speculative.

PS: Good catch twc -- sorry for the oversight