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The Protests Are Working

I visited Las Vegas for the first time over Labor Day weekend, and call me hokey, but the magnificent Bellagio fountains dancing to Lee Greenwood's "God Bless The U.S.A." were just the antidote to the noisome protests endured here in NYC the week before. I'm no country-music fan, but it was nice to be reminded that there are indeed other ways to express patriotism aside from shouting and carrying offensive signs in the streets.

So what did the protestors accomplish? Well, they changed my brother's mind. He was a Kerry supporter, to the point of actually hanging by his computer a full color picture of Kerry and Edwards thanking him for his donation to their campaign. But while in Vegas, he confessed to me that after encountering the protestors, he now feels he has no choice but to vote for Bush. Confronted with the sheer imbecility of their rants, he simply decided they were not only wrong, but *really* wrong. And dangerous, too. Thus he changed his vote accordingly. Way to go!

I wouldn't have bothered writing about that one data point, except that Reason Magazine's Julian Sanchez suggests that my brother might not be alone:

In March of last year, the American Enterprise Institute's Karlyn Bowman did a roundup of national surveys on Americans' attitudes toward protesters. An ABC News/Washington Post poll found 71 percent unmoved by antiwar protests—perhaps not all that surprising, since debates over war and peace turn on arguments too complex to fit on a placard. Among those who were influenced, however, three times as many said that the protests made them more likely to support the war in Iraq than oppose it.

Perhaps, then, the incessant media coverage of the protests was a contributing factor to Bush's post-convention bounce?


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