Thursday, October 13, 2005

Bush Below 40% in 3 Polls

Remember when Bush under 50% was a big deal?

NBC/WSJ - 10/12/05 (mid-September)

Approve 39% (40%)
Disapprove 54% (55%)

Right Track 28%

AP/Ipsos Poll - 10/8/05

Approve 39%

Right Track 28%
Wrong Track 66%

CBS News - 10/6/05 (9/2/05)

Approve 37% (41%)
Disapprove 58%

Right Track 26% (31%)
Wrong Track 69% (63%)

One could be an outlier, two could flukes, but three is a bona fide trend. Now, he is still above 40% in other polls, including Rasmussen and Zogby (44% and 43% respectively, slightly up from prior recent lows) but the overall message is that virtually everyone but his core base is losing confidence in him at best, abandoning him at worst.

So why does the approval rating of a lame duck president matter? Because there are midterm elections next year, of course, and the popularity of the president trickles down.

From the WSJ/NBC poll:
With the 2006 congressional elections a year away, 48 percent of respondents said they preferred a Democratic-controlled Congress, compared with 39 percent who said they preferred Republican leadership, NBC said.

The 9-point difference was the largest margin between the parties in the 11 years the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll had been tracking the question, NBC said.

As a result of the waning popularity of the party as a whole, the GOP is having a difficult time attracting top tier candidates to challenge sitting Democratic Senators. Recruitment is one of the top reasons the Republicans have done so well in the last few cycles and it is seriously lacking this year.

Prominent Republicans in recent days passed up races in North Dakota and West Virginia, both GOP-leaning states with potentially vulnerable Democratic incumbents. Earlier, Republican recruiters on Capitol Hill and at the White House failed to lure their first choices to run in Florida, Michigan, and Vermont.

These setbacks have prompted grumbling. Some Republican operatives, including some who work closely with the White House, privately point to what they regard as a lackluster performance by Senator Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the group that heads fund-raising and candidate recruitment for GOP senators.

But some strategists more sympathetic to Dole point the finger right back. With an unpopular war in Iraq, ethical controversies shadowing top Republicans in the House and Senate, and President George W. Bush getting the lowest approval ratings of his presidency, the waters look less inviting to politicians deciding whether to plunge into an election bid next year.


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