Americans Rank Iraq Information Sources
A recent Gallup poll examines which public figures Americans trust most for information on Iraq. It’s not pretty.
Essentially, this shows that Americans discount the views of active “partisan politicians” more than they do political appointees who they perceive as experts. Indeed, it’s surprising that Bush and Cheney rate as highly as they do, given their woeful standings in the opinion polls. My strong guess is that Pelosi and Reid would rank slightly lower if they were better known. Not because they are inherently untrustworthy but because they would be more tainted as “partisan politicians.”
We see that effect more strongly when we break it down by respondent party leaning:
The only people listed who have even as much as 40 percent “reliability” ratings by those on the other side of the aisle are the “non-political” appointees. And that’s with “somewhat reliable” — which definitionally means “somewhat unreliable” — included.
Unfortunately, this means it is virtually impossible to have an honest discussion of what is far and away the most important public policy topic. If the presumption is that elected leaders on the other side of the aisle are dishonest, there’s not much chance of changing minds.