Preaching to the choir

By Stephen W. Stromberg
Published August 3, 2004 10:08PM (EDT)

Fahrenheit 9/11 may have won the Palm D'Or in the Cannes Film Festival, but fresh poll data indicates that it hasn't changed many minds about President Bush. The poll also shows that Rush Limbaugh does about as little convincing as Michael Moore. From a University of Pennsylvania National Annenberg Election Survey press release today:

"Forty-one percent of the Moore movie goers said the picture made them think worse of George W. Bush. But that claim must be treated skeptically because three fifths of the people who said the film made them think less of Bush were Democrats to begin with. While a third of the independents who saw the movie said it made them think worse of Bush, those independents who watched the movie were much more liberal than independents generally and had been three times more likely to back Al Gore than Bush in 2000. Only a handful of Republicans saw the movie; they were too few for their attitudes to be measured with confidence.

"In all, about 8 percent of the public said they had watched Moore's movie, which is very critical of Bush. Seven percent in the July 5-25 polling of 5,051 adults said they had listened to Limbaugh, who is strongly supportive of Bush, sometime in the previous week. For results about each group, the margin of sampling error is plus or minus five percentage points.

"Thirteen percent of the Moore movie watchers said they approved of how Bush was handling his job as president, while 86 percent disapproved. Eighty-three percent said the war in Iraq had not been worth it, and 85 percent said it had increased the risk of terrorism in the United States. Fifty-five percent said they were Democrats and 10 percent said they were Republicans. The Moore watchers liked John Kerry, Bush's Democratic challenger, with 70 percent offering a favorable opinion of him and 17 percent an unfavorable opinion. Kerry does not appear in Fahrenheit 9/11.

"At the other end of the political spectrum, the Limbaugh listeners, 88 percent approved of Bushs job performance, while 12 percent disapproved. Eighty-two percent said the war in Iraq had been worth it, and 68 percent said it had reduced the risk of terrorism in the United States. Sixty-nine percent said they were Republicans and 9 percent said they were Democrats. They had little use for Kerry; 15 percent had a favorable opinion and 78 percent an unfavorable opinion."

Meanwhile, David Greenwald's anti-Fox News documentary Outfoxed will hit the big screens in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington D.C. on August 6th, according to a press release from the Center for American Progress, one of the film's sponsors. The documentary is also selling well online. From the press release:

"'The Fox News Channel may not be the Death Star, but we are glad to see Outfoxed neck and neck with the Star Wars Trilogy on Amazon,' says John Podesta, President of the Center for American Progress. 'Now you can see it on the big screen.'

"This week in Boston, during the Democratic National Convention, the film has been screened to consecutively sold-out audiences. Since its debut the demand for the film by theatre bookers and other distribution companies, as well as the current political climate, have combined to prompt Cinema Libre to bring the film immediately to theatres in major metropolitan areas."

Stephen W. Stromberg

Stephen W. Stromberg is a former editorial fellow at Salon.

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