Glass Half-Full Department, Part 2

The Investor’s Business Daily remains deliriously bullish about President George W. Bush. Two weeks ago, New York Times economics columnist Paul Krugman flagged to Chatterbox an IBD article headlined, “Bush’s ‘Gender Gap’ Is Narrowing With Kinder, Gentler Focus.” The implication was that women were giving Dubya more support. But a close reading of the article made clear that the poll, sponsored by IBD, really showed that men were giving Dubya less support, and that the president’s overall “leadership index” had dropped by a point and a half.

Today, Krugman alerts Chatterbox to a new IBD/TIPP poll in the July 31 paper. This time, the data are presented as a series of charts in a gray box running down the side of page A20. Once again, the copy is irrationally exuberant. The headline, “Bush’s Edge With Investors,” is followed by this summary: “Investors with $10,000 or more in stocks still give the president higher ratings than non-investors in monthly IBD/TIPP surveys.” What the pro-Bush IBD neglects to point out, though, is that investors don’t seem all that crazy about Bush, either. There are 14 charts depicting investor and non-investor ratings for Bush on a variety of topics–foreign affairs, taxes, the military, and so on. Thirteen of the 14 charts show a decline in Bush’s support among investors since May. (All 14 show a decline in Bush’s support among non-investors during that period.) If you just look at the period from June to July, seven charts (that is, half) show a decline in Bush’s support among investors; two show no change; and five show a very slight rise. Chatterbox can only hope that IBD crunches its numbers with greater care when investment dollars are at stake.