INFO VISUALIZATION: An interesting visualization of Bush's approval ratings vis-a-vis terror alerts is posted over on JuliusBlog (which has no relation to this Julius).
The post makes a few claims about this visualization:
* Whenever his ratings dip, there's a new terror alert.
* Every terror alert is followed by a slight uptick of Bush approval ratings.
* Whenever there are many unfavorable headlines, there's another alert or announcement (distraction effect).
* As we approach the 2004 elections, the number and frequency of terror alerts keeps growing, to the point that they collapse in the graphic. At the same time, Bush ratings are lower than ever.
Hmmm, most of this isn't proven by the chart at all (I could, for example, come to the opposite conclusion that Bush's ratings fall drastically because of the terror alerts, and not because of his inept leadership). Still, it's an interesting visualization. What would be interesting would be to run a correlation coefficient between the median approval rating and terror alert level. Then you might find some interesting data showing the two to be or not to be related. My guess is that you would find a near-zero coefficient which is basically random, or little relation.
However, I'm not saying Bush (by which I mean Karl and Dick) doesn't use these alerts to his advantage. More informative then a chart is simply the language these fools use when issuing the alerts.
Ridge said, while issuing the terror warning, "We must understand that the kind of information available to us today is the result of the president's leadership in the war against terror." Later he answered criticism of his remarks by saying, "We don't do politics in the Department of Homeland Security." Well, gee, that first statement did seem mildly political, no? Oh well, I'm asking too many questions. Hail the Great Leader!