Poll: Americans Are Divided About The Afghanistan War in 2014

Poll: Americans are divided about the Afghanistan War in 2014

Image: "Afghanistan on the globe (Afro-Eurasia centered)" by TUBS, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.de
Image: “Afghanistan on the globe (Afro-Eurasia centered)” by TUBS, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.de

A new Gallup poll found that in 2014, Americans are approximately evenly divided on the Afghanistan War.

49 percent now think that it was a mistake to send troops, 48 percent think it was not a mistake.

This is a significant shift in popular opinion after twelve years of war.

In 2001, when Gallup asked the same question, only 9 percent thought sending troops to Afghanistan was a mistake while 89 percent did not.

Despite popular opinion, the Obama administration attempted to pressure Afghan President Karzai to sign an agreement allowing U.S. troops to stay in Afghanistan much longer and now considers waiting until Karzai leaves office to find a successor more friendly to U.S. plans of keeping a military presence in the country.

 

Most Germans Oppose More Military Interventions

Reichstagsgebäude (Berlin) kurz vor herbstlichem Sonnenuntergang. Jürgen Matern / Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-3.0 http://www.juergen-matern.de/ | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Reichstag_building_Berlin_view_from_west_before_sunset.jpg?uselang=de
Reichstagsgebäude (Berlin) kurz vor herbstlichem Sonnenuntergang. Jürgen Matern / Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-3.0 http://www.juergen-matern.de/ | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Reichstag_building_Berlin_view_from_west_before_sunset.jpg?uselang=de

Ursula von der Leyen, Germany’s new Minister of Defense under Chancellor Angela Merkel, recently argued in favor of more frequent military interventions by the German armed forces in the world. A demand to that regard has repeatedly been made by governments of other allied countries in military alliances like NATO, for instance the U.S.

However, the German population as a whole is not so keen on participating in more wars. According to a recent poll by German public TV network ARD, 61% are against sending German troops to crisis-stricken regions around the world, while 30% are for more such involvement.

Read more:

Germany to play bigger military role.” (The Local Germany, 2014/01/27)

Meinungsumfrage: Deutsche haben mehr Angst vor Überwachung durch Firmen als durch den Staat

Meinungsumfrage: Deutsche haben mehr Angst vor Überwachung durch Firmen als durch den Staat

Social Media Tag Cloud by daniel_iversen, used under the https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ license, Source: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/daniel_iversen/5440123405/sizes/l/in/photolist-9hJ4a8-9hM9Hs-8nmkDA-bn8M8i-bzawtz-bmfDH5-bmfkad-bmfk9A-aD5w7Y-btTTPU-aJVFED-99ZJrh/
Social Media Tag Cloud by daniel_iversen, used under the https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ license, Source: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/daniel_iversen/5440123405/sizes/l/in/photolist-9hJ4a8-9hM9Hs-8nmkDA-bn8M8i-bzawtz-bmfDH5-bmfkad-bmfk9A-aD5w7Y-btTTPU-aJVFED-99ZJrh/

Eine neue Studie des Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach ergab jüngst, dass die Deutschen statistisch gesehen mehr Angst vor der undurchsichtigen kommerziellen Verwertung ihrer persönlichen Daten durch Unternehmen haben als vor der Überwachung durch den Staat.

Wie der Stern berichtet, sehen die Deutschen in ihrer Mehrheit zwar durchaus Risiken im Internet, darunter Computerviren, die Überwachung der eigenen Internetnutzung oder Datendiebstahl.

Gleichzeitig spricht sich aber die Mehrheit der Deutschen für eine stärkere staatliche Kontrolle der Inhalte von Websites aus. Nichtsdestotrotz glauben sie jedoch nicht, dass einzelne Staaten das Internet effektiv regulieren können.

Nur knapp die Hälfte der Befragten war der Meinung, dass eine solche staatliche Überwachung ein Risiko für die Freiheit bedeutet.

Ich persönlich halte die 51% der Deutschen, die laut der Studie kein Problem mit einer verdachtsunabhängigen staatlichen Überwachung ihrer Internetnutzung haben, für zu optimistisch beziehungsweise geschichtsvergessen. Denn eigentlich ist die Frage nicht, ob eine Informationsasymmetrie missbraucht wird, sondern nur wann. Und wenn der NSA-Skandal des Jahres 2013 eines gezeigt hat, dann dass alles, was technisch möglich ist, letztendlich auch gemacht wird—because we can.

Mehr lesen:

DIVSI Studie zu Freiheit versus Regulierung im Internet.” (Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach / Deutsches Institut für Vertrauen und Sicherheit im Internet, 03.12.2013)

 

Poll: Americans Drink Less Beer, Turn Towards Wine And Liquor

Poll: Americans Drink Less Beer, Turn Towards Wine And Liquor

Americans are slowly turning away from beer as their alcoholic beverage of choice, a Gallup poll from July 2013 finds.

As the Atlantic reports, the last twenty years have seen a decline in the popularity of beer and an increase in the popularity of both liquor and wine among both black and white Americans.

Beer is not as popular among Americans as it was twenty years ago. A collection of rare beer cans. Beer Cans-1 By Visitor7 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons; https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ABeer_Cans-1.jpg
Beer is not as popular among Americans as it was twenty years ago. A collection of rare beer cans. Beer Cans-1 By Visitor7 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons; https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ABeer_Cans-1.jpg

Here are some of the Atlantic’s explanations for the trend:

  • A general higher awareness of healthy living.
  • The (white) working class is suffering from the economic crises in the early 2000s and since 2008.
  • Since the late 1990s, liquor ads have been shown on television.
  • Americans are discovering affordable and tasty wine while the exports of American wines are increasing.

Read more:

U.S. Drinkers Divide Between Beer and Wine as Favorite.” (Jeffrey M. Jones, Gallup, 2013/08/01)

Why Are American Drinkers Turning Against Beer?” (Derek Thompson, The Atlantic, 2013/08/05)

A Mere Two Days Until the 2012 American Presidential Election

On Tuesday, November 6, the 2012 presidential election will finally be decided. What is the latest state of affairs? The prospects of the incumbent, President Barack Obama, seem to increase towards the finishing line of this election cycle.

How Likely Is It That the Current POTUS (President of the United States) Will Also Be the Next?

The Princeton Election Consortium has calculated a 98.2 percent chance for Obama to be re-elected.

Statistician Nate Silver at the New York Times has calculated a 83.7 percent chance for Obama to win the Electoral College (November 2, 2012).

Nevertheless, polls do not amount to anything if voters do not show up at the voting booth or cast an absentee ballot. So what are the odds here? According to Gallup, voter turnout will be slightly lower than in 2008 and in 2004 (October 30, 2012).

Meanwhile…Robo-Calls, Commies Love Obama, and Voting Machine Software

While the chances of the Romney campaign are decreasing, there is no shortage of election shenanigans that may or may not be directly connected to said campaign (in some cases they are clearly not). Here are some examples of dirty campaign tricks of late:

Robo-Calls:

In Massachusetts, voters reported robo-calls encouraging them to vote on the wrong date, i.e. one day after the election.

Red Cross Annoyed By Romney Disaster Relief Campaign Stunt:

The Red Cross was not amused about the Romney campaign’s window-dressing of a rally as disaster relief effort through busing in canned goods in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy.

Abe Lincoln’s GOP Loves Black Voters:

A recent Super Pac ad tries to persuade African Americans to vote for Romney because the Republican Party freed the slaves—in the nineteenth century. While that is technically correct (Abraham Lincoln was a Republican), a quick glance at a quality American history textbook will reveal the historic realignments that have taken place in the American party system. Especially since the 1960s, the GOP, along with Southern Democrats (Dixiecrats), who soon joined the GOP, has deployed the Southern Strategy: appealing to white racism to peel off voters from Democrats. In short, the Republican Party of 1865 is not the Republican Party of 2012.

(Dead) Latin American Socialists and Communists For Obama:

In Florida, one of the important battleground states, the Romney campaign attempts to appeal to older anti-communist Cuban American voters in a Spanish-language ad by associating Obama with Fidel Castro (via his niece, who says she would vote for Obama), Ché Guevara (via a background picture from an EPA email featuring the famous portrait), and Hugo Chavez (who said that he would vote for Obama if he were American). In reality, the relationship between the actual socialist President of Venezuela, and Obama, who has been called a socialist by political opponents, has never been that cozy. Since July of 2010, there is no US ambassador in Caracas and no Venezuelan ambassador in Washington, respectively, because Chavez did not accept Washington’s appointee, due to his previous anti-Chavez remarks.

Voting Machines Get ‘Experimental Software Patches’:

In Ohio, another important swing state, Secretary of State Jon Husted plans to install “experimental software patches” on voting machines, which, due to a legal loophole, do not have to be certified in any way. Civil rights groups are worried about the potential for manipulation.

Vote For Romney Or Face Eternal Damnation:

All these prior arguments in favor of Romney may or may not help him win against Obama on Tuesday. But if that is not enough, there is still the biggest gun of American politics: the Christian God.

Not associated with the Romney campaign, but in support of him, are some clergymen. Their argument: Vote for Romney or face God’s wrath. Of course, they are not telling their flock whom to vote for—that would, in theory, endanger their tax-exempt status as a church. But their hints are not all that subtle either.

In September, Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of Springfield, IL, wrote in an email to his parishioners that voting for a Democrat might “plac[e] the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy.”

In late October, another Roman Catholic Bishop, David L. Ricken of Green Bay, WI, wrote in an email to his parishioners that voting for a party supporting “intrinsically evil actions” including “homosexual ‘marriage'” (which Democrats support) “could put your own soul in jeopardy.”

Also in late October, former Republican presidential candidate and Southern Baptist minister Mike Huckabee narrated an ad framing the upcoming election as a “test of fire” wherein “[y]our vote will affect the future and be recorded in eternity.” You can watch it here:

Desperate times call for desperate measures, I suppose.

You can find more background information on the 2012 presidential election in my previous posts, for instance here.

 

 

October Halftime: And Now For Something Completely Similar

In the press landscape, the Biden-Ryan debate last week (October 11, 2012) was for the most part counted as a strong comeback for the Obama campaign, following the president’s lackluster performance against Mitt Romney the week before (October 3, 2012). Biden pointed out the glaring factual flaws of his opponents arguments. You can find some links detailing these in my last post here. So what is left for the Romney campaign between now and the second presidential debate tonight in Hempstead, New York (October 16, 2012)? For one thing, it is damage control. In an attempt at portraying himself as a compassionate conservative, as opposed to the long-time follower of Ayn Rand that he is, Paul Ryan went to a soup kitchen in northeast Ohio for a photo op showing him and his family cleaning some dishes. That did not go so well, as the artificiality of the whole maneuver was quite apparent:

Charity president: Paul Ryan “did nothing” at soup kitchen photo-op.” (CBSNews, 10/15/2012)

Charity president unhappy about Paul Ryan soup kitchen ‘photo op’.” (Washington Post, 10/15/2012)

According to the head of that apolitical charity, Ryan entered the soup kitchen without permission. And here is how he characterized what followed:

He [Ryan] did nothing. He just came in here to get his picture taken at the dining hall.

On top of that, the pots and pans Ryan and his family ‘cleaned’ for the photo op “did not appear to be dirty.”

As of October 13, 2012, Ohio leans slightly towards Obama (51% versus 46%), according to a PPP poll.

[Infographic] Here you can find the electoral map from the New York Times.

American Voters’ Priorities in 2012 (Gallup Poll)

A Gallup/USA Today poll from July 30, 2012 found that American voters overall see the following issues as top priorities (rated ‘Extremely/Very Important’) in the upcoming presidential election:

  1. jobs (92%)
  2. reducing corruption in the federal government (87%)
  3. reducing the federal budget deficit (86%)
  4. dealing with terrorism and other international threats (86%)
  5. securing Medicare and Social Security in the long term (85%)
  6. improving public schools (83%)

The full list is longer and features more items.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment has declined slightly since 2010:

July 2008: 5.8%
July 2009: 9.5%
July 2010: 9.5%
July 2011: 9.1%
July 2012: 8.3%

When in the US, Dress Like a Nurse, When in Germany, Be a Firefighter!

*'''Description:''' Rettung von Verletzten bei einer Einsatzübung der Freiwilligen Feuerwehr Dußlingen (Baden-Württemberg), LIZENZFREI, fotografiert und freigegeben von Alexander Blum (www.alexanderblum.de) *'''Source:''' German Wikipedia, original upl
Firefighters: The most trusted professional group in Germany.

That is the conclusion you could draw from reading two recent polls, one from Gallup asking Americans,1 and a second one from GfK asking Germans 2 about their trust in various professional groups.

 

The five most trusted professions
United States Germany
Nurses (84%) Firefighters (98%)
Pharmacists (73%) Medical doctors (89%)
Medical doctors (70%) Post office workers (86%)
High school teachers (62%) Police officers (85%)
Police officers (54%) Teachers (84%)

The five least trusted professions:

The five least trusted professions
United States Germany
Members of Congress  (64% ‘Very Low’ or ‘Low’) Politicians (91% ‘Distrust)
Lobbyists (62%) Corporate Managers (80%)
Telemarketers 53%) Advertising executives (67%)
Car salespeople (47%) Marketing executives (62%)
Labor union leaders (41%) Journalists (56%)

Conclusion

If you were a shameless impostor who wants to gain the the local population’s trust quickly (which I am certain you are not), you might go for the nurse outfit (in the US) or the firefighter look (in Germany). As an alternative, you could also consider wearing a white lab coat and/or a stethoscope (works in both countries). A police uniform might also help, although I do not recommend this—it is likely to be illegal. If you, American traveler, would like to enchant Germans, why not try post office chic? In both countries, If you carry around a few textbooks, you could pass for a teacher. People may like you for it.

Whether you walk the streets of Berlin or Washington, avoid looking like a person who just walked out of Congress or the Bundestag. And to you, German tourist, do not even think of starting the casual conversation by trying to sell a car!

  1. Jones, Jeffrey M. “Record 64% Rate Honesty, Ethics of Members of Congress Low.” Gallup. 12 Dec. 2011. Web. 3 June 2012.
  2. GfK. “Vertrauen in Verschiedene Berufsgruppen.” Statista. June 2011. Web. 24 May 2012.