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News :: DNC
NINE out of 10 Democratic delegates think the United States should not have gone to war in Iraq
25 Jul 2004
NINE out of 10 of the Democratic delegates gathering in Boston this week think the United States should not have gone to war in Iraq and say the gains from the war were not worth the loss of American lives, a New York Times/CBS News poll shows.
Delegates Lean Left And Oppose the War


NINE out of 10 of the Democratic delegates gathering in Boston this week think the United States should not have gone to war in Iraq and say the gains from the war were not worth the loss of American lives, a New York Times/CBS News poll shows.

The delegates are much less supportive of the war than the public is over all, than Democratic voters generally are, and than is reflected by the more nuanced positions of Senators John Kerry and John Edwards, whom they will nominate this week for president and vice president.

Still, nearly 9 in 10 delegates described themselves as supporting Mr. Kerry enthusiastically, with the rest split about evenly between those who were supporting him with reservations or only because he is the likely party nominee.

The war, Iraq and terrorism are not seen by the delegates as the most important issues in their states, the poll shows. Only one in six cited them as most important. Half of the delegates, on the other hand, said the most important issues were the economy and jobs, and one-third of all voters agree.

The delegates think of themselves - and Mr. Kerry, for that matter - as politically moderate.

But on divisive social issues like abortion, the death penalty and gay marriage, the delegates are not only much more liberal than voters in general but substantially more liberal than typical Democratic voters. At every Democratic convention, the delegates hold more liberal positions than rank-and-file Democrats, just as Republican delegates are always more conservative than their voters. That is the nature of political activists.

On many issues, though, the Democratic delegates are more or less in harmony with the general public. On the environment, for instance, 62 percent of the delegates and 52 percent of all voters say the government must protect the environment even at the cost of lost jobs. And 67 percent of delegates and 69 percent of all voters maintain that "trade restrictions are necessary to protect domestic industries."

The poll of 1,085 of the 4,322 Democratic delegates, selected at random, was conducted by telephone, fax and e-mail from June 16 to July 17. The national poll of 955 adults, including 823 registered voters, was conducted by telephone from July 11 to July 15. Both polls have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Even given the expected disparities between delegates and other Democrats, the delegates' position on the war seems especially wide. Only 7 percent say "the United States did the right thing in taking military action against Iraq," while 86 percent say the United States should "have stayed out."

By contrast, 21 percent of Democratic voters and 46 percent of all voters believe going to war was right, while 75 percent of Democratic voters and 51 percent of all voters say it was wrong.

In an answer to a corollary question, only 3 percent of delegates, compared with 12 percent of Democratic voters and 36 percent of all voters, feel "the result of the war with Iraq was worth the loss of American life and other costs of attacking Iraq."

Sally LaSota, 54, an Indiana delegate who is a county elections official, seemed to be speaking for many others in Boston. "Our troops are dying for what?" Ms. LaSota asked. "For a new government? All of a sudden, we're running it."

She added, "Is it for oil, as everybody seems to think it is?"

The position on Iraq taken by Mr. Kerry and Mr. Edwards, and set forth in the party platform the delegates will adopt on Tuesday, is that President Bush acted rashly by going to war based on faulty intelligence with insufficient support from allies and an inadequate plan for occupation after the war.

But Mr. Kerry and Mr. Edwards voted to give the president the authority to use military force in Iraq, and unlike some other Democratic senators, they have refused to say they would have voted differently if they knew then what they know now.

The delegates, half of whom are women, are older, wealthier and better educated than most Americans. Four in 10 have annual incomes over $100,000 and about half hold post-graduate degrees.

The delegates are less likely to describe themselves as evangelical and more likely to be Catholic or Jewish, although a plurality are Protestants. Only a third think presidential candidates should discuss the role of religion in their lives, compared with half of all voters who feel this way. But nearly 6 in 10 delegates, about the same as voters generally, say religion plays a very important role in their daily lives.

Eighteen percent of the delegates are black and 12 percent are Hispanic, about the same proportion as all voters. But the delegates are somewhat more likely to be union members - one-fourth, compared with 15 percent of Democratic voters and 13 percent of all voters.

Aside from the war, the issues on which the delegates are most at odds with rank-and-file Democratic voters and with voters in general are the social, philosophical and economic issues that have divided the political parties for decades.

For example, three-fourths of the delegates say abortion "should be generally available to those who want it," and only 2 percent say it should never be permitted. But only a third of all voters believe it should be generally available, and one-fourth say it should not be permitted. The rest of the delegates and the voters take the position that abortion should be available "under stricter limits than it is now."

Four-fifths of the delegates say "the government should do more to solve national problems," compared with about half of Democratic voters and two-fifths of all voters.

Gavin Brown, 21, a Florida delegate, said the government should do more to lower the cost of prescription drugs. Mike Marsico, 41, a Pennsylvania delegate, said the government should provide more money "for infrastructure and education" and do more to fight discrimination.

Only 4 percent of the delegates say cutting taxes is a better way to improve the economy than reducing the deficit. About one-fifth of Democratic voters and a third of all voters feel this way.

On an issue that is part of the presidential campaign for the first time this year - gay marriage and civil unions - 44 percent of the delegates favor marriage and 43 percent favor unions. Only 5 percent say that "there should be no legal recognition of a gay couple's relationship."

Tina McKinnor, 39, an auditor from California, said this was "the hardest thing I've had to struggle with" as a delegate, and she came down on the side of civil unions.

"Through my Christianity, I define marriage as between a man and a woman," she said. "But I think these people should have the same rights for retirement benefits and medical benefits with their partner."

By contrast, one-third of Democratic voters and two-fifths of all voters would permit no recognition.

A large majority of the delegates say it is a good idea to hold the convention in Boston. But about one-fourth say they fear a terrorist attack while they are there.

Sunday 25th July 2004

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Demand Dennis
25 Jul 2004
It looks as if the majority is with Dennis...who the hell is behind Kerry?