Thursday, February 24, 2005

Paradigm Shift

"An opinion poll released just as [Bush] arrived [in Germany] suggests that more Germans trust Russian President Vladimir Putin than the U.S. President." BBC News. "US and Germany Bury Differences."

Isn't that astonishing?


Anonymous Noumenon said...

There is so often spin in these little factoids that I went looking for the original poll, hoping it wouldn't be in German. I didn't find it but I did find out a little more about the question they asked at

The Wednesday edition of Die Welt is going to carry a poll that says Germans trust Russian President Vladimir Putin more than Bush. If it came to a vote today (which would require a terrifying turn of events), 29 percent would vote for Putin, and 24 percent for Bush. Neither number is exactly overwhelming, but the situation is more interesting when you focus on formerly Communist eastern Germany, where Putin's numbers swell to 37 percent, and Bush's drop to just 16 percent.So who would the other 47% vote for? Kodos, the BEM from the Simpsons? Myself, when a news article says a poll "suggests that more Germans trust Russian President Vladimir Putin than the U.S. President," I assume the poll asked them who they trust more, not some hypothetical election question. Maybe what it really suggests is that more Germans think Putin would raise unemployment benefits, if elected.

With both being strong, right-wing leaders, it seems to me that the relevant differences in a hypothetical election would be

1) Putin stands for the government controlling corporations (Yukos), Bush for the reverse (Halliburton).

2) Putin just paid off his IMF loans, Bush is a more generous deficit spender.

3) Bush is about 35% closer to the center on issues of press freedom and military aggression.

For Germans, I'd think 1) would favor Putin and 2) and 3) would favor Bush. [For me, 2) favors Putin, 1) and 3) strongly favor Bush.] I don't know, I am surprised too that it is a close call for them -- Western values should trump anti-Americanism any day of the week, just like I hope Americans would vote for Chirac over Hu Jintao.

12:42 AM  

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