A just-released Washington Post/ABC News poll strongly suggests that American attitudes toward the war in Iraq have not been changed by the recent activities and exorbitant press coverage surrounding new anti-war idol Cindy Sheehan:
The survey also suggests, however, that Sheehan's anti-war vigil has failed to mobilize large numbers of Americans against the war. If anything, her opposition has done as much to drive up support for the war as ignite opponents, the survey found.
Eight in 10 Americans--including overwhelming majorities of Democrats, Republicans and political independents--say Sheehan's protest has had no impact on their attitudes toward Iraq. While one in 10 say she has made them less likely to support the war, the same proportion say she has made them more likely to back the conflict.
Yet, what is peculiar about this release is its absence from today’s Washington Post print edition. The results were posted at the WaPo website at 7:00AM eastern time, and, conceivably were given to the editors too late to make this morning’s paper. However, one wonders if these numbers had shown huge movements in public opinion as a result of Cindy and Company’s protests if this would have been headline news today. Moreover, it shall be interesting to watch how prominently these numbers are displayed in tomorrow’s paper if at all.
In addition, this article at the WaPo website suggests that more information from this poll will be released at 5 PM today. Curiously, ABC News is already giving more details at its site. And, they even seem more honest in presenting the results right from the get-go with their headline and opening paragraph:
Poll: 'Peace Mom' Has Changed Few Minds
Cindy Sheehan's Crawford, Texas, Vigil Wins Sympathizers, But Few Change War Stance
Aug. 30, 2005 - Anti-war protester Cindy Sheehan has won some sympathizers, but hasn't changed many minds: As many Americans say Sheehan has made them more likely to support the war as to oppose it, and the vast majority says she hasn't changed their views at all.
Compare that with WaPo’s headline and opening paragraph:
Slight Majority Say Bush Should Meet With Sheehan
Survey Suggests Mother's Actions Have Little Impact on War Views
By Richard Morin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 30, 2005; 7:00 AM
Slightly more than half of the country says President Bush should meet with Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed last year in Iraq, who is leading a protest against the war outside Bush's ranch in Crawford, Tex., according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Interesting disparity. Moreover, one of the most compelling findings of this poll that WaPo chose not to share with its readers – at least, not yet anyway – is how Cindy Sheehan’s efforts have actually made military families more in favor of the war, while doing little to change the minds of non-military families:
Twenty-two percent [of military families] say she's made them more apt to support the war, 17 percent say she's made them more apt to oppose it. That compares to 8 percent and 9 percent, respectively, in non-military households.
These polling results certainly contradict assertions made by many news agencies in the past week that Cindy Sheehan represents a tipping point in the anti-war movement akin to CBSNews broadcaster Walter Cronkite's anti-Vietnam war statements in 1968. As a result, it certainly deserves attention in the next 24 hours to see how both of these news agencies are going to disseminate these results, and how others in the media will as well.