Pajamas Media Straw Poll

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Pajamas Media is running a weekly straw poll on the Republican and Democratic presidential nominations. You can vote for both Democrats and Republicans. The sample is obviously not representative of the general public and undoubtedly leans to the pro-Iraq war right, but the results are interesting nonetheless.

The top three for the Democratic nomination are Barack Obama (37 percent), Bill Richardson (20), and Dennis Kucinich (17). Next are Hillary Clinton (8) and Tom Vilsack (5). Obama's eschewal of harsh partisanship undoubtedly accounts for his high score. I can't account for Richardson's high numbers: Maybe it's his combination of domestic and foreign policy experience. Obviously, some denizens of the left-wing blogosphere account for Kucinich's showing.

On the Republican side, the leaders are Rudy Giuliani (34 percent) and Newt Gingrich (33), with Mitt Romney in third place (17). John McCain is much lower (5). This reflects the views of the right blogosphere, at least the blogs that I read. Giuliani is highly popular there; McCain, seen as the favorite of the mainstream media, is highly unpopular.

The Pajamas folks decided to run a weekly poll to chart changes in the support for various candidates. I'll be checking–and voting–every week.

Demographics and Israel

Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post points to a new demographic study that undermines the case that Israel should help create an independent Palestinian state. She points out that a strong argument for that policy has been that Jews will soon be outnumbered by Palestinians within the boundaries of pre-1948. Not so, she says. A new study by American demographer Bennett Zimmerman and former Israeli diplomat Yoram Ettinger for the American-Israel Demographic Research Group shows that Palestinians have vastly overstated their numbers. Also, birthrates among Palestinians are falling, while birthrates for Israelis are rising. Conclusion: Jews are not at risk of being outnumbered by Palestinians. Instead, Glick writes, they "make up an 80 percent majority within sovereign Israel, make up a 59 percent majority of the population of Israel with Gaza and Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] and a 67 percent majority of the population with Judea and Samaria without Gaza." Here's an excerpt from the report's summary:

This study sets the record straight. Through in-depth analysis and comparison of the existing records, the study measures the 2004 population in the West Bank and Gaza at 2.5 million instead of the 3.8 million reported by PA officials.

Using a "just the facts" approach, the study revealed major discrepancies in the Palestine Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) forecast. It demonstrated that the 1997 PCBS population base for de facto residents was inflated by including Arab residents living abroad and Jerusalem Arabs already counted in Israel's population survey. In fact, the PCBS' projections on birth and immigration were not met in any year between 1997 and 2004. The actual birth data recorded annually by the PA Ministry of Health and corroborated by the PA Ministry of Education reflected dramatically fewer Arab births. Instead of the predicted immigration by the PCBS, Israel's records on actual border entries and exits showed a steady net Arab emigration to countries abroad and to pre-1967 Israel and Jerusalem. Quite simply, the PCBS predictions were never adjusted annually for actual reported births, deaths, and emigration but instead were released as official reports and accepted without question.

Intelligent public policy depends on, among other things, accurate demographics.