pageok
pageok
pageok
Bush Approval Ratings Reach New Low:
Pollster.com looks at all the different presidential polls and comes up with a trend line indicating President Bush's latest approval ratings. The trend line was recently updated, and it indicates that the President's popularity continues to drop: according to the site, the President's approval rating as of July 8 hit a new low, about 27.7%. You can see the chart here together with the individual polls that went into the data.
FantasiaWHT:
With Congressional approval (and approval of specific Congressional leaders) so low as well, I wonder how much of that is just general dissatisfaction with government? I'd love to see a poll ask both.
7.10.2007 3:53pm
Kieran (mail) (www):
So now we're within reach of potentially falsifying the crazification factor hypothesis.
7.10.2007 3:54pm
Constitutional Crisis (mail):
That crazification factor hypothesis dialog is hilarious. You could teach Orin something for his next Lib/Con exchange. (Sorry Orin....)
7.10.2007 4:07pm
arthur (mail):
We are also now able to calculate the BTKWB limit with greater precision. Happily it is lower than previously believed.
7.10.2007 4:29pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Kieran:

Thanks for the link. That was hilarious.

FantastiaWHT:

Overall ratings of Congress are low too, but were I a Republican, I would worry about polls that show things like 58% of Americans thinking the Dems would do a better job with Iraq.
7.10.2007 4:31pm
Deoxy (mail):
arthur,

I think the BTKWB limit is probably under 5%. The reason it even seems like one exists is because a significant portion of the population so strongly disapproves of the alternative (that being, in their mind, a Democrat, not another Republican... or maybe a Republican in more than name). It's not real approval of Bush, it's belief that he's less bad than the a Democrat.

That's the only reason *I* give him much support, really - his domestic politics have stunk to high heaven, and his foreign policy has been a lot of good talk and not so much follow-through... but Kerry? Gore? They make Bush look GOOOOoooood. Which is really pathetic, if you consider how I just described my opinion of Bush.
7.10.2007 4:41pm
Duffy Pratt (mail):
Anyone else think that Bush is deliberately doing things to alienate everyone, in effort to have the lowest approval rating ever. In that way, he can prove that he was truly a "leader" and not a slave to popular opinion. How else can you explain things like the Libby commutation, which is calculated to piss off both his enemies (for giving a pardon lite) and his base (for not issuing a full pardon)? -- or what passes for his immigration policy, which appears to do nothing but piss everyone off? It's almost as if he believes that if no-one likes a particular course, it must be the best way.
7.10.2007 4:43pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
It's almost as if he believes that if no-one likes a particular course, it must be the best way.

This is actually quite plausible, both for Bush and for Cheney. Julian Sanchez had a very similar theory, one which Deoxy in particular should be sure to click through &read.
7.10.2007 4:49pm
Justin (mail):
Deoxy? And why do you know that Gore and Kerry would do such a terrible job? Because Bush and his supporters have told you so! Kind of makes your head spin, no?
7.10.2007 4:57pm
whackjobbbb:
You guys laugh at that approval rating, but you won't be laughing if this guy wakes up one morning and says "Hey, let's bomb the mullahs. What's the worst that can happen... my approval rating goes down?"
7.10.2007 5:03pm
Constitutional Crisis (mail):
You guys laugh at that approval rating, but you won't be laughing if this guy wakes up one morning and says "Hey, let's bomb the mullahs. What's the worst that can happen... my approval rating goes down?"
whackjobbbb: Why do you hate America?
7.10.2007 5:06pm
Houston Lawyer:
Lets just hope that the President doesn't start taking actions designed primarily to boost his poll numbers. Although I disagree with some of his positions, particularly the comprehensive immigration reform just attempted, I don't get the feeling that he makes his decisions based upon polling.
7.10.2007 5:20pm
Justin (mail):
Houston Lawyer, your argument seems contrary to most theories of democratic rule (which consider some combination of Millsian public choice principles and Burkean principles). Indeed, one of the hopes aof even a lame-duck President (and one of the stronger arguments against term limits), is that he will rule at least partially with some receptiveness to public rule. Furthermore, the unitary executive theory REQUIRES such. Otherwise, we end up in a term of dictatorship.
7.10.2007 5:24pm
Nels Nelson (mail):
I would think the Crazification Factor Hypothesis, funny as it is, runs into problems with Bush's 85-90% approval rating in the months following 9/11. Or are the crazies all Republicans?

I've talked to Californians who, on priciple, vote against every ballot initiative without even reading them. Government doing anything must be bad. I thought I read a few years ago that this contingent might be as large as 10% of the voters, meaning any initiative that wants to pass has to assume a best-case scenario of 90% in favor.
7.10.2007 5:35pm
whackjobbbb:

whackjobbbb: Why do you hate America?


...?

What fresh hell is this?
7.10.2007 5:40pm
bittern (mail):
Similar data shown in polar coordinates



. . .

but you won't be laughing if this guy wakes up . . .

Laugh today because tomorrow you may die?
or
Lie to the pollster to save your skin?
7.10.2007 5:46pm
bittern (mail):
Nuts. Dropped the link. Sorry.
Polar coordinates
7.10.2007 5:53pm
EH:
"I've talked to Californians who, on priciple, vote against every ballot initiative without even reading them. Government doing anything must be bad."

Nels, you apparently misunderstand how the California initiative process works. Initiatives have nothing to do with the government until they survive voting day.

That said, you can't compare Bush or Cheney's poll numbers to something as monolithically nebulous as "Congress." What does it even mean to be dissatisified with Congress? Well, the recently-defeated Republicans would tell you that it signals distaste for Democrat leadership. Okay, no conflict of interest there. Alternatively, you could notice that news stories about approval ratings for Congress as a whole never were publicized until after the election. What were the approval ratings of the 2005 Congress? Who knows! This is just a defense mechanism for the Bush Administration to talk about how bad other people are without having to account for themselves.
7.10.2007 5:57pm
uh clem (mail):
I don't get the feeling that he makes his decisions based upon polling.


You may be right.

Or it could be that he does make his decisions based on what will boost his poll numbers, it's just that he's as incompetent at this as he is at everything else.
7.10.2007 6:00pm
Nels Nelson (mail):
EH, I know perfectly well how initiatives work. It's the people who always vote against them, sight unseen, who don't.
7.10.2007 6:00pm
EH:
Well, then you may want to revisit your logic, because the "government doing anything is bad" part is a textbook non-sequitur.
7.10.2007 6:02pm
Rich B. (mail):
Consistent with various "crazy factor" theories above, I am not at all surprised that poll numbers are low -- but I am very surprised that they are continuing to drop.

Who is that mythic figure who was pro-Bush for 6.5 year, through thick and thin -- war, torture, immigration reform, stem cells, whatever -- and then last week determined that he no longer approved of Bush's performance? Scooter Libby?

What sorts of values and standards does he or she hold that made this last week change their viewpoint from approval to disapproval?
7.10.2007 6:12pm
MacGuffin:
For a bit of historical perspective, compare:

Graph 1
Graph 2
7.10.2007 6:26pm
bittern (mail):
EH &NN,
Direct democracy works pretty well in New England towns with a couple thousand people. It doesn't scale up very well. I think all the famous founding fathers would be aghast at the prospect. Myself, I prefer the hash that the professionals make of self-government over the hash of direct rule by us amateurs. The original progressives brought rule by initiative to California and probably it will never go away. Just the same, if I was a left-coaster, I could imagine voting no always, for the sheer contrariness.

RB,
How about a timorous person afraid to leave his/her support-group of political certitude, finally sees that there is no crowd left on the boat? Just a guess.
7.10.2007 6:30pm
Nels Nelson (mail):
Makes sense to me, EH, but maybe only because I wrote it. Oh well.
7.10.2007 6:31pm
Steve:
I'm not from California, but if you always vote "no," don't you actually end up approving a lot of initiatives? Where I come from, it's conventional wisdom that people tend to vote "no," so there's always a political struggle as to which side of the debate gets the "no" side of the question. It's not like "yes" always means a new government program and "no" doesn't.
7.10.2007 6:35pm
MikeC&F (mail):
What fresh hell is this?

It's called sarcasm. Up until about a year ago, if you claimed that President Bush was doing a poor job, Republicans (including people like Byron York) would say one of two things:
1. Why do you hate America?
2. Why won't your support our Commander-in-Chief in a time of War? Do you want the Enemy to win?

Now it has become socially acceptable, even among Republicans, to disapprove of Bush.
7.10.2007 6:39pm
Crunchy Frog:
bittern, Steve:

The problem with California politics is that gerrymandering has made it virtually impossible for a legislative district to change hands from one party to the other. The net effect is that Dem districts elect the hard left, while Rep districts elect the hard right, except that the center in Cali is pretty skewed to the left anyways, so the "hard right" is pretty much in line with flyover country while the "hard left" is just, well, scary. Guess which of these groups holds the political reins?

A lot of people reflexively vote "no" on initiatives, because a) they are too lazy to inform themselves, b) Californians hate "special interests" of any stripe, c) many inits are on their face incomprehensible, or d) all of the above.
7.10.2007 7:03pm
chris c:
re why Bush has slipped to this point now - I think most political debate is a debate among a small group of political junkies. most issues, even ones that will garner 100s of comments on sites like this, don't interest the majority of people in this country. most people don't care enough about it to pay attention save for every 4 years, when they dutifully trudge down to the poll and vote for the guy who least annoys them.

for whatever reason, the immigration bill was the exception to that rule, and fired up millions of folks. hence the hasty retreat of so many nominally pro-bill senators in the last month or so.

my guess is that most of the fired-up folks are conservatives, and that those are the people who pushed his approval rating to this new low.
7.10.2007 7:07pm
bittern (mail):
The problem with California politics is that gerrymandering has made it virtually impossible for a legislative district to change hands from one party to the other.

Crunchy Frog, I'll buy gerrymandering is a problem out there (but why would it be worse than elsewhere?) Government by initiatives put on by special interests are surely another problem. But what about when perfectly affluent Orange County decided it didn't want to pay for its own self? What was that about? Is that some sort of desire for chaos & tyranny on the part of the wild natives?
7.10.2007 7:28pm
Crunchy Frog:
IIRC, the OC County Manager had (illegally? don't remember) sunk damn near the whole county treasury into hedge funds, which failed spectacularly. Took them a while to straighten out the mess.

I don't know what effect gerrymandering has elsewhere, but some districts (with a nice helping of racially motivated court order) here look like the Flying Spaghetti Monster logo.
7.10.2007 7:39pm
paul lukasiak (mail):

I would think the Crazification Factor Hypothesis, funny as it is, runs into problems with Bush's 85-90% approval rating in the months following 9/11. Or are the crazies all Republicans?


9-11 was an event that produced temporary insanity if just about every American. I mean, even though I was one of the 9% who continued to disapprove of Bush's performance, when the planes started flying again after 9-11 I was looking up at the sky thinking "is THIS the one that is gonna land on my house?"

Thus, for the period immediately following 9-11, the "crazification factor" was null and void, because everyone was crazy.
7.10.2007 7:47pm
paul lukasiak (mail):

for whatever reason, the immigration bill was the exception to that rule, and fired up millions of folks. hence the hasty retreat of so many nominally pro-bill senators in the last month or so.


IMHO, the immigration bill for many people was simply an excuse -- kinda like if you are on an interstate, and finally realize you are going in the wrong direction--you get off at the first available exit. I mean, it FAILED, Bush has withdrawn it, and his numbers continue to go down... so its really not about Bush's immigration proposals, its merely that those proposals have provided about 10-15% of Americans who refused to admit they were wrong about Bush the opportunity to finally admit what they already knew.
7.10.2007 7:51pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
my guess is that most of the fired-up folks are conservatives, and that those are the people who pushed his approval rating to this new low.


You're probably right about that. Most people I know aren't talking about or interested in politics but a lot of them really got fired up over the immigration bill. I wasn't particularly interested in it but there didn't seem to be much of a chance for a bill to pass. The only effect seems to be that members of Congress (including those who are running for President) are tarnished for their support of the bill while it provides a small boost to the candidates who came out against it.
7.10.2007 8:13pm
ATRGeek:
I agree with paul: a fundamentally popular President could have survived the immigration bill, so something else is making this President fundamentally unpopular. And that is clearly the war.

I also think the "surge" has backfired politically, and what we are seeing is people abandoning the President as it becomes clear he is going to lose this fight politically.
7.10.2007 8:28pm
paul lukasiak (mail):

. The only effect seems to be that members of Congress (including those who are running for President) are tarnished for their support of the bill while it provides a small boost to the candidates who came out against it.


I think that the net effect will be negative for its GOP opponents in the Presidential race, because they took a highly visible position in opposition to the bill, while the Democratic candidates were as quiet as possible about their support. The net impact is that the GOP has lost a lot of very crucial Hispanic voters in "swing" states like Florida, New Mexico, and Arizona because of the perception that the GOP is now the home of knee-jerk anti-Hispanic bias.
7.10.2007 8:29pm
chris c:
Paul, the bill did fail, but I think you may be underestimating the hard feelings it created. It's one thing to be told you're wrong, a different thing to be told you don't want to do what's right for the country (as Bush said of foes), or that you're a bigot (as many bill supporters either intimated or said out loud about foes.)
7.11.2007 11:31am
uh clem (mail):
Who is that mythic figure who was pro-Bush for 6.5 year, through thick and thin -- war, torture, immigration reform, stem cells, whatever -- and then last week determined that he no longer approved of Bush's performance? Scooter Libby?


Basically, people who spend their time watching NASCAR or Soap Operas, or any of the other thirty-six-thousand activities that are more interesting to them than politics. They're not engaged until something happens to make them engaged - a high school buddy who comes back from Iraq in a body bag, a close experience with downsizing, a medical problem while uninsured, getting caught in the Katrina disaster, etc. Or for some it just took 6 years for the corruption, double-talk, and ineptitude to sink in.

If you're not paying attention, saying "oh, yeah, Bush is doing fine" is plausible. The thing is, as time goes on it gets more likely that a particular individual's inattention is breached.
7.11.2007 11:46am
Insignificant Dallasite:
When did this turn into a "people who still support Bush are psychopathic baby eaters" blog? If I was looking for that, I'd go read Kos. Don't you people ever get tired of talking to yourselves?
7.11.2007 2:40pm