Saturday, March 18, 2006

Newsweek Has Bush at 36% Approval

Falling, falling falling in every category of approval:

March 18, 2006 - A bitterly divided electorate gives President George W. Bush an approval rating of only 36 percent in the latest NEWSWEEK poll, matching the low point in his presidency recorded last November. His image as an effective leader in the war on terror is tarnished, with less than half the public (44 percent) approving of the way he’s handling terrorism and homeland security. Despite a series of presidential speeches meant to bolster support for the war in Iraq, as well as the announcement of a major military offensive when the poll was getting under way, only 29 percent of the people questioned approved Bush’s handling of the situation in Iraq. Fully 65 percent disapprove.

The way the president has dealt with issues at home hasn't brought him much support either. His approval ratings for the handling of energy policy (28 percent) and health care (28 percent) were new lows, while approval on the economy (36 percent) mirrored his overall rating. The single area where President Bush accrued more approval than disapproval was in his appointments to the Supreme Court, which 47 percent approved.

So how are things shaping up for Democrats in the November midterms?

All of this bodes ill for the Republicans as midterm congressional elections approach this fall, although some Democratic strategists are concerned that the censure resolution and impeachment talk may actually make for an unwanted distraction. Registered voters continue to prefer Democratic candidates for Congress over GOP candidates by a margin of 50 percent to 39 percent.

This is the third of four NEWSWEEK polls taken since September 2005 showing the Democrats with a double-digit lead. The Democrats never had such an advantage in any NEWSWEEK poll conducted before the last two off-year Congressional elections, 2002 and 1998. The Democrats now lead in Congressional vote preferences of Independents by 47 percent to 31 percent. Key to the election outcome is whether the Democrats’ big advantage with independent voters will be maintained and how many of these voters will actually turn out in November.

Both houses of Congress are now controlled by the Republicans, but public opinion now favors a Democratic takeover this November by a margin of 50 percent to 34 percent. Among Independents, the Democrats are preferred by more than a two-to-one margin: 51 percent to 22 percent.

Wow - public opinion favors a Democratic takeover of the Congress by 16 points. Sometimes I read these numbers in the prefernece polls and blink a few times to make sure I'm reading them right.

But I am reading them right. The GOP has control of the House, the Senate and the White House and the nation is a mess. People want a change.

And when people want a change, they show up to vote - even in midterm elections.

In fact, if anybody's not showing up to vote this November, it's conservative voters sickened by a GOP House and Senate that have spent the nation into bankruptcy and a preznit who has never vetoed any spending bill even as he has lectured about "fiscal prudence."

Two CBS polls have him at 34.
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