Friday, April 23

The L.A. Times Is Worth Buying Today

In other words, you won't do what Steve Martin did in "Roxanne" - drop a quarter in the newspaper machine, open the door, take the paper, scream at the front page, drop another quarter into the machine, open the door and throw the paper back IN.

Today's front page has a four-column wide top-of-the-page shot of the flag-draped caskets from the Memory Hole and a huge story (with additional pic) about the posting of said photos.

Just beneath that, still above the fold, is this:

Bush Approval Hits a Low Point in State
His handling of Iraq gets poor marks. California would back Kerry, even with Nader in the race.

President Bush's popularity in California has dropped to the lowest level of his presidency amid rising public concern over his handling of Iraq and the economy, according to a new Los Angeles Times poll that found dislike of Bush driving support for his Democratic rival.

At a time of mounting American casualties in Iraq, the survey found a sharp turnaround in attitudes toward Bush's management of the war: 56% of California voters disapprove, up from 44% in July.

Most say the war is worth neither the lost lives of U.S. troops nor the cost to taxpayers. A solid majority of California voters believe Bush has no clear plan for Iraq. Two-thirds are concerned it will become another Vietnam.

The surge in public dissatisfaction with the Republican president on Iraq is among the starkest findings of a survey that illustrates the difficulties that Bush faces in trying to win California in the contest with Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kerry in November.

The poll affirmed the state's continuing tilt toward Democrats at a time when the country as a whole is almost evenly split between the two major parties.

Capturing the breach between California and Bush was poll respondent Roger Sack of Palo Alto, a Democrat who described himself as "uniformly negative" on the president.

"He represents a cultural kind of strain that I don't like — call it Texas, call it born-again, call it Southern — while at the same time, coming out of a country-club Republican background, and I think he's incompetent on top of all of that," Sack, a 62-year-old computer marketer, said in a follow-up interview.

Overall, the survey found, 54% of California voters disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job, while 44% approve.

On the economy, 53% disapprove of Bush's performance and 42% approve.

Bush's best showing came on his handling of terrorism — there, voters were split, but as in the other categories, his approval ratings slumped from past polls.

If the election were held today, the poll found, California voters would choose Kerry over Bush, 53% to 41%, in a two-way race. [...]

If Bush's news conference on Iraq last week was meant to buttress his position, it did the opposite among California voters, the poll found. Nearly two-thirds caught Bush's presentation, but 59% of them say he did not clearly explain his reasons for going to war. Also, 38% say the president's remarks made them view him less favorably, 14% say more favorably, and just under half say it made no difference.
Yes, I know it's a poll a full six months before the election, but if perception is reality to the casual reader, I'll take this wisdom of the California voters any day, thanks.

Spread the word.