Friday, January 27, 2006

New Poll Numbers For The Prez Not So Good

Three new polls to sort through in the last few days, almost all bad for the preznit. First from the official wing of the RNC, the latest FOX News poll:

Today, 41 percent of Americans approve of the job President Bush is doing and 51 percent disapprove. From late November through mid-January the president's approval rating has been 42 percent and disapproval has ranged between 48 percent and 51 percent.


On the issues, as has been the case in the past, the president receives his highest job rating on the issue of terrorism: 51 percent approve and 44 percent disapprove. Approval is down from 53 percent in the two previous surveys (August 2005 and October 2004).

On the economy, 41 percent approve and 52 percent disapprove of the job Bush is doing, a slight 3-percentage point improvement from last summer. A year ago, opinion was evenly divided at 46 percent approve and 46 percent disapprove (January 2005).

Four in 10 approve of how the president is handling the situation with Iraq and 55 percent disapprove. Last January 44 percent approved and 51 percent disapproved.

Taking a moment to review the overall trends, President Bush's first-term average was 61 percent approve and 29 percent disapprove. For 2005, the first year of his second term, his average rating was 46 percent approve and 46 percent disapprove.

Now the latest LA Times/Bloomberg poll, as written up by Ron Brownstein at the LA Times:

WASHINGTON — As President Bush prepares for next week's State of the Union address, he faces widespread discontent over his job performance and the nation's direction that could threaten his party in the 2006 election, a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll has found.

In the survey, 43% of Americans said they approved of Bush's performance as president — his weakest showing ever in a Times poll.

He received even lower marks for his handling of the economy, healthcare and Iraq — especially from women, who the poll found had turned against him on several fronts. And by a 2-1 ratio, those surveyed said the nation needed to change direction from the overall course Bush had set.

But most of those surveyed believed Bush's policies had made the nation more secure. And a plurality say they trusted him more than they did Democrats to protect the country against terrorism — advantages that could help Republicans defend their House and Senate majorities in November.


The poll is crowded with warning signs for Bush and his fellow Republicans.

Countering the 43% who approved of Bush's performance, 54% disapproved — figures in line with results from other national polls in the last two weeks.

The Times/Bloomberg poll found that 31% agreed the country was "better off because of … Bush's policies and should proceed in the direction that he set out," whereas 62% said the nation needed "to move in a new direction."

Among voting blocs, two-thirds of women and independents — as well as 71% of moderates — said the nation needed to change course.

Just 35% of respondents said they approved of Congress' performance; 55% disapproved. And Democrats were favored, 46% to 37%, when registered voters were asked which party they intended to support for Congress in November.

That finding underscored the extent to which the GOP's fate this year may be linked to Bush's standing. About 7 of every 10 registered voters who approved of Bush's performance said they intended to vote for GOP candidates this fall, whereas 7 in 10 of those who disapproved said they planned to vote for Democrats.


The poll found that attitudes toward Bush remained polarized along party lines. About 4 in 5 Republicans said they approved of his performance, whereas 4 of every 5 Democrats disapproved.

Tilting the balance away from Bush, nearly 3 in 5 independents disapproved; in the 2004 election, Bush ran almost even with Kerry among these voters.

Also in 2004, Bush narrowed the gender gap — the tendency for women to lean toward Democrats. But it reopened in the new survey — 36% of women said they approved of his performance, compared with 50% of men.

Under Bush, the Republican electoral strategy has focused on generating a large turnout from strong supporters. But in the survey, significantly more Americans (39%) said they strongly disapproved of Bush's performance than strongly approved of it (25%). Among women, 43% strongly disapproved.

And finally the NY Times poll:

Beyond surveillance, the poll found that Americans hold unfavorable views of the president and the Republican-controlled Congress as Mr. Bush prepares to give his State of the Union speech. Americans, while declaring themselves generally optimistic about the next three years under Mr. Bush, do not expect him to accomplish very much in that time.

When Mr. Bush leaves office, respondents said, the deficit will be larger than it is today, the elderly will be being paying more for prescription drugs, and the economy and the health care system will be the same as today, or worse.

Mr. Bush is viewed favorably by 42 percent of the respondents, statistically the same as in the last Times/CBS News poll, in early December, a lackluster rating that could hamper his ability to rally public opinion behind his agenda and push legislation through a divided Congress. Beyond that, nearly two-thirds of the country thinks the nation is on the wrong track, a level that has historically proved to be a matter of concern for a party in power.

A majority said they were dissatisfied with the way Mr. Bush was managing the economy and the war in Iraq. Public approval for his handling of the campaign against terrorism, once one of his greatest political strengths, has rebounded somewhat from last fall, but remains well below where it was for the first two years after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Most strikingly, the poll found abundant evidence of public unhappiness with Congress. While it is risky to draw conclusions about Congressional elections from national measurements of discontent — for example, more than half of all Americans said they were satisfied with the job their member of Congress was doing — the findings underscored the tough electoral environment that has led some analysts to predict significant Republican losses this fall.

The corruption investigations appear to account for a lot of the dissatisfaction. Nearly 80 percent of respondents said that the kind of influence-peddling revelations that have emerged in the investigation of the lobbyist Jack Abramoff reflected the "way things work in Congress" and were not isolated incidents. More than 50 percent said most members of Congress "accept bribes or gifts that affect their votes."

Adam Nags, btw, buries the Bush approval number in graf 172, leading instead with how Americans remain torn over Bush's warrantless domestic spying program and respond differently to questions about the program, depending upon how the questions are asked.

So I have to ask myself, if FOX News can lead with the 41% approval number for the preznit in its story and the LA Times can lead with the 43% approval number for the preznit in its story, why does Adam Nags bury the 42% approval rating for the preznit in graf 172?

I mean, isn't it also important for Times readers to know that only 42% of Americans approve of the job this preznit is doing?

Couple of other things: do Republicans really think that the "culture of corruption" campaign theme isn't going to hurt the GOP this November in the midterm elections or are they just hoping out loud when they say things like," the corruption is bipartisan and Americans are going to hold both parties accountable"?

When you start to look at the various poll numbers on corruption and how people feel about the party in power, you can see it's taking a toll on the GOP.

While the LA Times/Bloomberg survey has 68% of Americans saying they see no difference in integrity between the political parties, the survey also has 46% planning to support Democrats in November and 62% wanting the country to "move in a different direction." Clearly most Americans are unhappy with the current status quo and are planning to take some action come November. Clearly the Abramoff and CIA leak cases are not going to help the GOP come November with those numbers, especially when Bob Ney, Tom Delay and other GOP members are indicted in the Abramoff probe and if Karl Rove is indicted in the CIA leak case on false statement and/or perjury charges, as many Plamegate experts expect will happen soon.

The NY Times also has some favorable numbers for the Dems and unfavorable numbers for the GOP on the corruption issue:

The poll also signaled concern for Republicans as they prepare to defend their control of the House and the Senate in midterm elections this November. Investigations into Congressional corruption are taking a toll as the elections approach: 61 percent of Americans now hold an unfavorable view of Congress, the highest in 10 years.

This finding holds particular peril for Republicans as the party that has been in charge. More than half of the respondents said they believed that most members of Congress would exchange votes for money or favors.

Republicans were seen as more likely to be unduly influenced by lobbyists. And the Republican Party is now viewed unfavorably by 51 percent of the nation, its worst rating since Mr. Bush took office. By contrast, 53 percent said they held a favorable view of Democrats.

Democrats need to keep hammering the ruling party on the corruption issue and keep repeating to Americans that one-party government in Washington has allowed this culture of corruption and lack of oversight to thrive.

Dems also need to trot out a positive agenda for November, as they started to do yesterday when Nancy Pelosi and Dick Durbin gave separate speeches to pre-but the preznit's SOTU address and to outline their agenda for the year.

But success will come in November by reminding people over and over that the Republican Party, which took power as a reformist movement, has now become an entrenched, corrupt elite whose sole purpose is to maintain power and enrich its members.

And Democrats also need to get out the message that in this new Times poll, 53% of Americans hold a favorable view of Democrats while 51% hold an unfavorable view of Republicans.

That number is significant and will go a long way toward countering the GOP meme that both parties will be held accountable for the troubles in Washington come November.

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