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A Peek Inside Bush's Terrible Poll Numbers

Byron York has an interesting article out that examines why President Bush's poll numbers are so bad. Here's what he found:

So Bush is losing support among those who have supported him for years. Why?

A look inside the latest numbers suggests several reasons, but it appears the president's stand on immigration is the biggest drag on his support among Republicans--even more damaging than the disapproval caused by rising gas prices.

Of several issues specifically covered by the Gallup poll--the economy, foreign affairs, the situation in Iraq, terrorism, immigration, and energy policy--immigration is the only area in which more Republicans disapprove of the president's policy than approve. And they disapprove by a significant margin: 52 percent of Republicans in the survey disapprove of Bush's immigration policy, versus 40 percent who approve.

Although immigration is the worst, the president's approval rating among Republicans is at best lackluster on a number of other issues. On the economy, 72 percent of Republicans approve of the president's performance, while 26 percent disapprove--a strikingly high disapproval number given recent reports of high growth and low unemployment.

On foreign affairs, 72 percent of Republicans approve of the president's performance, versus 25 percent who disapprove. On the situation in Iraq, 71 percent of Republicans approve, versus 28 percent who disapprove. On terrorism, 88 percent approve, versus 11 percent who disapprove. And on energy policy, 49 percent approve, versus 45 percent who disapprove.

Read the rest of the article. It's quite interesting.

I am part of President Bush's base that the media keep referencing. This my take on the issues:

I am very supportive of President Bush on the war on terror, the war in Iraq, and the economy. On all three of these issues, he has made decisions I understand and support. The economy is on fire because of the tax cuts he pushed. I support their being made permanent.

I'm ambivalent toward President Bush on energy. I don't blame him for oil prices because they're not his fault. But I didn't like his comment that we are "addicted to oil." Our consumption of oil isn't the problem. It's the consumption of foreign sources of oil that's at issue here, particularly oil from the Middle East. We should be drilling for our own oil in ANWR, off the coast of Florida and California. This won't get us completely dependent of foreign sources of oil, but each barrel of oil we can drill ourselves is one fewer barrel we have to purchase from a tyranical dictator.

The issue that I do not and can not support President Bush on is immigration. He seems to have more concern for the illegals who broke the law to get into this country than he does for the American citizens who are required to support them. President Bush's policies encourage more immigrants to illegally cross the borders, yet he refuses to close the borders. I could begrudgingly accept some kind of guest worker program, but only after we have closed the border and dealt with the illegal aliens currently in the country, which President Bush won't do. This is the issue that has me and the rest of his base really angry.

(Jay Tea adds: Will Franklin, Wizbang Guest Poster Emeritus, has looked at the demographics of those polled in the most recent AP/Ipsos survey, and compared them to those folks who actually voted in November 2004 -- and it is amazing how little the two resemble each other. Ankle Biting Pundits also has it in a clearer, less sarcastic form.)


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference A Peek Inside Bush's Terrible Poll Numbers:

» The Unalienable Right linked with NY Times poll: 79% of respondents are economic illiterates

» A Blog For All linked with What Do They Mean?

Comments (36)

That is the thing that real... (Below threshold)

That is the thing that really pisses Me off as well, although He should be much aggressive on pushing the use our own oil thing. This immigration stance is angering the base a great deal..

Part of the President's low... (Below threshold)

Part of the President's low appoval numbers also come from his inability to communicate. I, too, think that he's made the right decisions in the War on Terror and on the economy, but he's done a terrible job in promoting his positions or defending his decisions. He let's the MSM trash his successes, and assumes that the country can see through the noise and understands what he's done.

This is the best economy in years. Kids coming out of college are reporting that the jon market is great. But no one else knows it, or they assume that it's pure luck.

The War on Terror is really a war against Islamic fundamentalism. He started out with the right ideas and made good progress. Now it's all slipping away. The US will not finish the fight: we've lost our nerve. Having won all the battles, we will withdraw from the Middle East, leaving the battlefield to the bad guys.

In my book, he gets a C on the economy and a D for the War on Terror. On immigration he and his party get an F: they are toast.

He has to lead, and he's not getting the job done. The Democrats are going to pull his teeth, and they will lead us straight down the drain.

Because Latinos supported t... (Below threshold)

Because Latinos supported the President in the last election, Bush feels he has no choice but to support something akin to Amnesty for illigals. In making such an assumption, he is so wide of the mark it is staggering.

The Latinos who vote Republican are, by-and-large, middle class. Because they are not dependent on hand-outs, they vote on their core issues: family, education, and self-determination.

On none of these issues do the Democrats lead. The core issues for Latinos who vote for Democratic candidates are profoundly Hispano-centric:

1) Generous public aid packages, 'bilingual education' (a euphemism for Spanish-only instruction), and continuation of the economic status quo.

2) Labor Unions and Socialist/Communist organizations like SEIU, International A.nN.S.W.E.R., La Raza and MECCHA as their compatriots.

3) They resent more affluent Latinos, and prefer to live amongst their own.

4) They are urban, unskilled, and are unlikely to ever comprise part of the middle class. They are a "poverty class" in ever sense of the phrase.

If the Republicans want to recover from the hit they've taken on this issue, they must realize the above and articulate it loudly and clearly.

President Bush and the GOP must start saying how NAFTA was an act of generosity, entered into in good faith in the belief that economic opportunities would begin to erase the disparities between Mexico's wealthy and its working class. Their failure to act on those opportunities is their own fault, and we owe them nothing further. This is Mexico's mess, and we will not prop up their unfair, inflexible system to the detriment of our own nations economic and social well-being.

Tax cuts without an equal r... (Below threshold)

Tax cuts without an equal reduction in govt. spending are meaningless. Good article in The Atlantic this month about the tax cuts and what they really mean to the economy when there is no significant reduction in govt. spending.

I agree with the ass... (Below threshold)
Charles Bannerman:

I agree with the assessment of Bush's performance on the war on terror/Iraq/ Afghanistan. I also agree with his performance economically.

I have supported Bush wholeheartedly since he was first elected but he has done several things I can't support; his stance on immigration is rediculous. We should be closing both borders as fast as we can and supporting the Minutemen, not telling the Mexicans where they are.

I read yesterday that we are going to start providing direct humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. That is assinine. We should starve them into submission.

In the area of energy he is no more responsible for the current situation than past presidents. In fact, the current situation is directly tracable to Jimmy Carter.

I don't think the problem of his poll ratings has anything to do with communicating better. The things that are bothering Republicans are bad policies. The old saying that you can't polish a turd holds true on his immigration policy and on feeding the Palestinians.

These things said, it could be a whole lot worse- we could have John Kerry or Al Gore as president.

Oh. I forgot. Cheroff is a joke and was a terrible pick.

KimYou & Byron the... (Below threshold)


You & Byron the Boob are just pissing in the wind and, with the wind that is brewing for November, there is going to be one helluva blowback.

In 1956 when the Repubs had rammed thru Taft-Hartley, the blowback drove the Repubs out of Congress in hordes. Picking thru the Bushpig's poll ashes, with delusionary analysis ain't going to make this Phoenix rise again.

Don't remember whether it was you or Jay talking about almost becoming a Wal-Mart serf last week, but if that's the kind of economic strata from which you come, you're nuts raving about the Bushpig economy. Since 2001, 80% of American workers have seen their pay remain stagnant or decrease in purchasing power. It's only the Bush "Haves" and "Have Mores" who have thrived in this Republican economy. And the piddly fraudulent Repub Middle Class tax cuts won't fill more than one or two tankfulls.

Credit interest rates continue to climb w/ each Fed raise & consumer purchasing power dwindles as a result. The consumer buying spree of the last 6 years, facilitated thru mortgage refinancing and equity tapping, will wither w/ higher interest rates. And those who refinanced w/ A.R.M.'s are going to face financial crisis.

Only 13% approve of Bushpig's energy policies and, when the summer tropical depressions begin and the Oil gougers start goosing up oil futures w/ every named storm, that approval rate is going to become 0.

When energy inflation begins to penetrate every economic sector in the next months and inflation is raising its ugly head, Bushpig's economic approval will sink further.

And then there's the matter of Republican "Family Values" and their Forni-gate chickens that are just beginning to come home to roost.

The Repubs can try to manipulate the immigrant issue as a hot button and try once again to corral their crypto-racist base at the polls. That will work in the Crimson-Scarlet States, but you already had them.

The November Political Hurricane that's a-comin' is going to be a Cat 5. All the conventional wisdom about incumbent durability is about to be stood on its head.

You can stick it w/ a fork-this Republican duck is done.

Suggestion to Wizbang moder... (Below threshold)

Suggestion to Wizbang moderators: Can we ban people like Mak44?

Not just because he/she hasn't anything to say, but for the principle of using derogatory names for people when we are having a civil discussion of an issue.

"Only 13% approve of Bushpig's energy policies ... (t)he Repubs can try to manipulate the immigrant issue as a hot button and try once again to corral their crypto-racist base at the polls. That will work in the Crimson-Scarlet States, but you already had them."

It's offensive, and just takes up valuable space. And before Mak44 cries on about discimination against contrary opinions, it's not about going against the grain of the conversation: it's about doing it in a tedious, crypto-articulate and rude manner.

I voted for GWB twice, even... (Below threshold)
Bob Arthur:

I voted for GWB twice, even volunteering to work phones and walk precincts for the 2004 election. I would vote for him again in a heartbeat, against almost anyone.

However, if asked in an approval poll, I would be one of those who disapprove of his performance.

As a social scientist, I use survey research in my work. It is acknowledged that surveys and polls cannot be taken at face value, and their interpretation is difficult. Presidential approval polls use poor methodology, because they ask overly-general questions that do not adequately probe all the dimensions of the question at hand. However, they sell; to a person marketing poll results, the sales potential is more important than scientific validity.

An example is my dilemma. Clearly, I am a person who supports the president. Yet, I would be counted as disapproving. Why? I would answer that way because I am truly disappointed in some decisions he has made. By "voting" my disapproval in a poll, I can send a message in a way that a phone call or letter to the White House would never do. Am I the only Republican who is steering their survey answers to "send a message"? I hardly think so.

Opinion surveys are excercises in psychology. The people answering them rarely take them at face value, and those interpreting them should not either.

I'm like Bob Arthur, I'd st... (Below threshold)

I'm like Bob Arthur, I'd still vote for him over known alternates, but I think he and his administration have really screwed the pooch on a number of important issues.

Also, domestic drilling will increase the global pool of oil, lowering prices (and by extension, giving the tyrants less money relatively speaking) but it won't allow for a one to one reduction in foreign v domestic purchase.

just a few things...<... (Below threshold)

just a few things...

kevino...were you referring to the expected World Cup surge in prostitution when you mention the surging jon market? (I know, it was a typo...just trying to be funny)

langtry...in the last election latinos voted 44% Bush, 53% Kerry, so, while I guess your statement that they supported him is technically true, they supported his opponent more. As for the middle class latinos, I'm not sure what your point is or how you arrived at it...everyone from 50K up voted more in favor of Bush in '04 (heavily skewed to M. Kerry under 30K, a meaningless 1% difference between them for the 30-50K group). I'm not sure what your point would be. I'd like to see your sources for my own enlightenment, I find this stuff interesting.

liberal mouthpiece: "You & Byron the Boob" is not a way one starts any sort of statement that one wants anyone with any sort of education to pay attention to. But we don't expect any better from people that recycle liberal blog talking points and couple them with toilet humor insults. Well done, you just keep on reminding us that we need to get out and vote mid-term in case the unthinking decide to turn out for a change.

Bob: have to agree with you...I have been polled recently about politics and didn't blindly give Bush stellar ratings on everything (Harriet Miers, for crying out loud?!), but they never bothered to ask if, given the chance, I would vote for someone else either in the past or future. I think they miss something critical by not asking that question. I'm sure they're afraid of the answer, but they can just bury it and not report like like anything else they want to hide. the best people like me can do is say we approve (not strongly approve) but vary responses to particular issues. Very imprecise and frustrating. "no i'm not terribly happy with Bush right now, but I'd vote for him or someone like him over the frenchman or hillary in a heartbeat" "strongly approve"

Tim: why not? wouldn't it ... (Below threshold)

Tim: why not? wouldn't it be cheaper for our local refiners to buy more local oil? again, not a huge impact on prices, but potentially a bit?

Opinion surveys are exce... (Below threshold)

Opinion surveys are excercises in psychology. The people answering them rarely take them at face value, and those interpreting them should not either

I agree regarding taking them at face value but, IMHO, the trends are telling -- assuming the polling methodology stays consistent.

Besides, no one at this web site was finding fault with the polls when Bushy was "king of the world" now, were they?

Wizbang! Example -- "Polls showing Bush leading Kerry":

Like a nationwide Times poll released Wednesday that showed Bush ahead, 49% to 46%, the state surveys underscore Kerry's difficulty in converting a general desire for change into support for his candidacy.

So survey's "underscore" when they support Wizbang! positions, and suck when they don't? No surprise there! The site replaces reason with rhetoric and politics.

"So survey's "underscore" w... (Below threshold)

"So survey's "underscore" when they support Wizbang! positions, and suck when they don't? No surprise there! The site replaces reason with rhetoric and politics." You're high at this very moment, aren't you? You're going to compare a poll of likely voters near an election to demonstrably skewed opinion polls where a quarter of the people are unlikely voters? Nice try, but pitiful in execution.

Falze = the "no surprise th... (Below threshold)

Falze = the "no surprise there" potion of my comment...

Langtry,I k... (Below threshold)


I know how you feel. However, I'm not a big fan of banning commenters unless they REALLY cross lines and become personally offensive. I thought a bit less of Michelle Malkin when she stopped taking comments on her site despite some of the vile things that people posted about her.

Best thing to do it skim and skip if the posts look too crazy. And remember one cardinal rule:


Sharing your frustration,


It is indeed no surprise th... (Below threshold)

It is indeed no surprise that the readers of this site, unlike those that fall under a different political persuasion, would actually look at the background of two polls before calling them equally representative. No surprise at all. Too much effort for ya, little fella?

When I want the opinion of ... (Below threshold)
Drew E.:

When I want the opinion of a Republican conservitive i talk to my dad. His hero was, remains Goldwater.

He is actually disgusted on a level I have never seen. His attitute is simple.."We need to pay for this war and rebuild a major U.S. city by raising taxes." (I have never heard my dad say "raise taxes") "We need to match the physical sacrifice of our troops with our pocket books." "Spending worse than Democrats" He is also bothered by Homeland Security and the 4th Amendment. He is also bothered by what he calls "ultra-religious hijacking our party." He is calling Bush "Reagan's stable boy"

We are actually talking politics for the first time in decades.

no surprise that the rea... (Below threshold)

no surprise that the readers of this site, unlike those that fall under a different political persuasion, would actually look at the background of two polls

Show me the background that you looked at before you started your little troll dance Falze.

When the president is ask w... (Below threshold)

When the president is ask what he considers the high point of the past 5 years, and he answers "Catching a perch", you've got to be surprised that his numbers are as high as they are.

FROM TODAY'S TORONTO STAR..... (Below threshold)
viet vet:


WASHINGTON--A prominent Republican pollster has delivered his own message to Canadians who are searching for parallels in the governing styles of George W. Bush and Stephen Harper.
"The Canadian and U.S. leaders could not be more different," Frank Luntz said yesterday. "Stephen Harper is a genuine intellectual, brilliant in his understanding of issues.

"I think I'll leave it at that."

Luntz, an oft-quoted American pollster who's in demand in other countries, made his comments yesterday after meeting Harper, an old acquaintance, and delivering an Ottawa speech to an organization with close ties to the Harper government.

So, it seems it isn't just "skewed" polls that are causing the Monkey in Chief problems....

Really , i thought His resp... (Below threshold)
Al Shopton:

Really , i thought His response would have been more along the lines of " whipping the pants off of Mr French".

Who the hell would read the... (Below threshold)
Dick Morrass:

Who the hell would read the Toronto Star?

LangtryDon't know ... (Below threshold)


Don't know how much you scan this blog, but the typical comments about Clinton, Carter, the Kennedy's, moonbats, pinko lefties, socialists etc are all too often bleated to excess by your herd of sheeple. The Limbaugh thread was beyond belief as were the multiple threads on Iran along w/ the slander directed at Clinton or Carter. Any slurs I post are simply in response to the tone that I see on this site on a regular basis.

Most of the posters on this site haven't the slightest idea of the meaning of socialist other than to use it as a slur against anyone opposed to tax cuts for the very rich.

And as to crypto-racist, look at some of the under-riding themes of the posts about the immigration problem and, even more so, most of the far-right extremist radio talk shows, of course headed up by the likes of Michael Savage and Glenn Beck, the latter two too far gone for even a rabies vaccination.

As to the other poll-dissectors above: if you think the polls are skewed, check back w/ their accuracy leading up to the election of 2004 instead of irrationally dumping on CBS because they were first to note the downward spiral of this, the worst president in history. Unfortunately for you bleating sheeple, that is increasingly the judgement of a vast majority of Americans. Make like an ostrich if it makes you feel better, but a president getting these numbers is beginning to approach Nixon level... and the s... hasn't even begun to hit the fan yet.

Guess you didn't care much for the image of fingering thru the ashes of this Presidency, hoping for the Phoenix.

Yes Langtry, the taste of ashes in the mouth is bitter.

Duh, for starters you could... (Below threshold)

Duh, for starters you could read the links from this very post, cnn's extensive poll coverage of 2004's election, and the, get this, link you put right in your very own comment. I actually clicked on it, wonder of wonders, and that's a poll of likely voters. Go to will's site and abp's site for the links to the original sources. Like I said, too much effort for you?

I wouldnt worry to much Mak... (Below threshold)
Dick Morrass:

I wouldnt worry to much Mak? Your hatefilled fantasies about beating frat boy will sadly never be realised for He is not running again!!

MoreAss- how appropos... (Below threshold)

MoreAss- how appropos

You wrote: He is not running again!!

With any Karmic justice this Fall, it may be more of an issue of what he's running from--like a light trained on his actions, committed during the 1st 6 years of his regime.

The NY Times/CBS Poll fi... (Below threshold)

The NY Times/CBS Poll finds that 68% of the American people say that the country is worse off than when Bush took office 6 years ago.

Hey WBers- this can't be explained away by parsing the polls as some have done above. This is not a matter of "forced choice" questions or disaffected Bushies trying to square a poll response w/ a question, but still determined to vote for Bush "again in a heartbeat."

This isn't some kind of "psychology" that fails to underscore real beliefs or attitudes.


You just can't dance around the fact that 68% of the nation feels that this country is worse of in the 6 years that Bush has been president than before he usurped office.

Your constant references to... (Below threshold)

Your constant references to established bastians of liberalism i.e NYTimes/CBullS does not convince anyone to look beyond Your obvious bias.

Who cares!

Now Falze, you're being a b... (Below threshold)

Now Falze, you're being a baaad little troll. You say you found the info when you clicked on the link I provided, but that isn't true.

Show me the words "likely voters" in that post, Falze.

Key Midwest Swing States Are Leaning Toward Bush

It can't be from all the glowing media coverage.

Key Midwest Swing States Are Leaning Toward Bush

WASHINGTON � President Bush is leading Sen. John F. Kerry in three hotly contested Midwestern states, despite continued doubts about the country's direction and the administration's policy choices, new Times polls have found.

Bush has opened small leads � within the surveys' margin of error � in Ohio and Wisconsin, states where the presidential race was closer in Times polls taken in June. The new Times survey also finds Bush ahead in Missouri, though by a narrower margin than in June.

The three states, with a combined 41 electoral votes, are among those both sides view as critical to the outcome of the race.

In Missouri, Bush leads among registered voters, 46% to 44%; in Wisconsin, he leads 48% to 44%; in Ohio, the president holds a 49%-to-44% advantage, the surveys found.

Like a nationwide Times poll released Wednesday that showed Bush ahead, 49% to 46%, the state surveys underscore Kerry's difficulty in converting a general desire for change into support for his candidacy.

Despite the LA Times spin, this is very good news for Bush.

And if you click on the link in the post, it's an expired link - a dead end - no info - nada.

Falze said:
"and the, get this, link you put right in your very own comment. I actually clicked on it, wonder of wonders, and that's a poll of likely voters."

It doesn't say likely voters. Bad little troll. Go to your room!

Like I said earlier: survey's "underscore" when they support Wizbang! positions, and suck when they don't? No surprise there! The site replaces reason with rhetoric and politics.

...and trolls.

So survey's "underscore"... (Below threshold)
Bob Arthur:

So survey's "underscore" when they support Wizbang! positions, and suck when they don't? No surprise there! The site replaces reason with rhetoric and politics.

I'll leave determination of motivation up the the individual reader, but I should point out that you are comparing surveys that are measuring different concepts.

I was referring specifically to "approval" polls. Approval is a hazy concept, highly subjective in definition. A single question is not sufficient to operationalize this concept, and reflects poor methodology. Even if trends are measured, they are not meaningful because the measurement is not valid, even on its face.

Making the problem worse is that "approval" measurements are usually interpreted as "support" measurements. Approval and support are two different concepts, both subjective. Measuring one does not provide indication of the other.

Like I said, I'm sure that the competent survey methodologists at polling companies are perfectly aware of this, yet they keep asking these questions because they sell. I'm sure that internal polling run by candidates themselves use more valid instruments.

Returning to Lee's comments, he was referring to vote projection polls, which follow a much more valid methodology. They do not measure subjective opinion, but measure intent of a near-term behavior (voting). Assuming the sample population reflects likely voters, vote projection polls can be very valid and accurate, as Rasmussen consistently proves.

The House passed the Bush t... (Below threshold)

The House passed the Bush tax cut for ricj pigs. Here's how they think they'll recover. There war on the Middle Class tax cut provides a walloping:

$9 to people earning 20-30K
$110 to people earning 50-75K
$1388 to people earning 100-200K and to the good ole rock solid Republican hogs earning over
$1,000,000 receive $42,000

Nice work boys-looks like more Republican Family Values for the top 5% of Americans. That's how you recover in the polls.

BTW JLawsonThe so-... (Below threshold)

BTW JLawson

The so-called "confiscatory tax rate" of the 1970's was pretty much in place when Carter became president. He didn't levy it as you imply.

If you want the Presidential Suite w/ personal butlers at Trump Towers, would you call the rack rate of $10K to $15K or so a nite confiscatory because it was so much higher than a standard room rate?

The top 10% of the privileged wealthy in this country who control 70% of this nation's wealth should expect to pay the rate required to maintain this nation's defense and social order that has led to a climate where they can amass and maintain that preponderance of wealth. They have the most to lose and they have gained the most from this system so they should pay the freight.

Had the tax rate truly been truly confiscatory, they couldn't possibly have amassed their wealth.

MakHow much will t... (Below threshold)


How much will the Democratic hogs making over 1,000,000 a year Recieve? hmmm?

See my tongue-in-cheek take... (Below threshold)

See my tongue-in-cheek take on the "tanking" Bush poll numbers here:


1. The economy may be "on f... (Below threshold)
Independent Voter:

1. The economy may be "on fire," but wages have remained stagnant. That's why most of the middle class aren't celebrating.

2. Drilling in ANWR solves *nothing*. At best, there's 18 months of oil there, and - guess what - it likely won't end up in U.S. gas tanks. It'll sold on a tanker to China (as we do now), leaving us exactly where we are now. We need better gas mileage in our cars and better fuels.

3. Bush's immigration policy has *nothing* to do with Latino votes, since they only account for 6% of the vote nationwide, 10% in a few states with higher Latino populations. It has to do with the businesses that hire illegals (like Tyson) and the big election campaign donations (like Tyson's).

4. And one last note about Iraq and Afghanistan. No one likes a dictator, but the fact remains that Iraq never had car bombings until we 'liberated' them. (If you're afraid to leave your own home to go to work or school, are you really 'free?') And Afghanistan is *now* the world's leading producer of opium poppies. I'm all for liberating people from oppressive regimes, but I'm also an advocate for GOOD planning.

Personally, as an independent, all I ask of my elected leaders is that they don't suck. Which makes me 100% disappointed right now.

VirgoThat's... (Below threshold)


That's your debating point?

I've heard any number of "democratic hogs" as you say, say that they would far rather that the Bush tax cuts for multi-millionaires be redirected to the Middle Class.

Bill Maher, among several I've heard, say they don't need the cuts and that it's just stupid to be cutting taxes for deca-millionaires.

The simple fact in America is that the top 10% of Americans control 70% of the nation's wealth, leaving a 30% cut of the pie to be shared amongst the remaining 266,000,000. No other developed western nation in the world has that kind of obscene maldistribution of wealth.

As an aside; for all the Repub & rightist bleating about the US being a nation founded on Christian values, this sort of maldistribution of wealth flies in the face of such claims. Christ would not even recognize such a nation as one based on "Christian Values." But He would view it as a nation of hypocrites.






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