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Is the Bush Bounce Already Over?

Hard to say until we see a few more polls, but it is interesting to note that the just-released Time/CNN poll, which was conducted December 30-January 1, has his approval rating at just 54 percent, only a couple of points over their mid-November poll. This poll be one of the first to reflect the public's realization that the capture of Saddam Hussein did not, in fact, end the war in Iraq, nor even appreciably reduce the amount of violence directed at US troops.

DR was also intrigued by the results of their re-elect question, which were closer than results on similar questions in earlier post-Saddam capture polls: 51 percent said they were very or somewhat likely to vote for Bush's re-election, compared to 46 percent who said they were very or somewhat unlikely to vote for him, with very unlikely (38 percent) being 5 points higher than very likely (33 percent). And, significantly, among independents, where Bush had been picking up some ground since the capture, those saying they are unlikely to vote for Bush's re-election (52 percent) now outnumber those who say they are likely to vote for him (46 percent). The former figure includes an astonishing 42 percent of independents who say they are very unlikely to support Bush's re-election, far higher than the 26 percent of independents who say their support is very likely.

Comments

This bears out what I'd always assumed about Saddam's capture - it would be politically insignificant. What we're fighting in Iraq is much more complex than just "Baathist holdouts," and involves Islamists and nationalists as well.

Exposing the deceptions in the case for war has to be part of the Democrats approach, of course, but the bottom line question is, after investing significant blood and vast treasure -- has the Iraq War make Americans safer from terrorism? I think we Democrats have a very good shot at convincing people in the center of the political spectrum that the answer is a resounding "no."

Greg Priddy

One of the more interesting aspects of this just released poll is how little publicity it received over the weekend. Any uptick in the Bush numbers is typically headlined in USA Today and the networks while this poll barely received a mention.

One of the more interesting aspects of this just released poll is how little publicity it received over the weekend. Any uptick in the Bush numbers is typically headlined in USA Today and the networks while this poll barely received a mention.

Greg,
Good point, and I have to ride my Dean hobby horse here: Democrats will not win by proclaiming to the world that Bush's war is a huge success that's made Americans much, much safer. This is just folly, especially when polls show that between 60 and 78 percent of Americans already believe that Saddam's capture didn't make us safer. Dean's comment was controversial only within the deeply conservative confines of the mainstream commentariat.

Steve,
Yes, I too am frustrated by the relative lack of media coverage of polls that show bad news for Bush. In fact, I am in even more despair lately over the state of the media in our country. I thought perhaps that Gore's mauling had to do mostly with personality issues -- the Beltway Heathers just didn't like him. But now, we begin to see how the press gangs up on all the Democrats (have you seen the AP coverage of the Sunday debate? covered extensively here in the blogosphere -- kos, atrios, calpundit). Just depressing. I continue to write letters to the editor just to make sure somebody gets the message that Democrats are watching.

It does my heart good to see polls indicating that Bush is not where he wants to be. But I think we make a grave error by gleefully proclaiming them as having much importance, especially at this point in time. If we sit back waiting for Bush to self-destruct, we lose again.

It's time to start planning on how we can WIN the election. If we wait for Bush to lose it, we'll be sorely disappointed yet again.

About the failure to publicize the poll results, democrats.com has encouraged people to send a graph to CNN of the trends in their own poll. This I have done (though I looked up CNN's procedure for this first; it's at http://www.cnn.com/feedback/forms/form12.html?1).

I suspect that much of the media bias against Democrats is structural more than it is intended. I have noticed, especially on television, that "journalists" waste almost all of their coverage on the "meta-campaign". In other words, they talk about the campaign, rather than about the statecraft for which the campaign exists.

A perfect example was the clownish performance of Ted Koppel at the Democratic debate a few weeks back. Koppel asked, for instance, questions about how much money the candidates' campaigns had, how well or badly they were doing in the polls, etc. More recently, C-SPAN had coverage of a local Iowa political chat show, and the commentators were discussing the same sort of campaign nuts and bolts, with nothing about the actual conduct of government. This is appalling. It is infantile for the primary sources of public information to neglect the topic of statecraft so completely. You could make a "Davey and Goliath" episode out of this: "Davey misses the point of delivering news, but learns from his mistake."

So how does this work against Democrats? Pretty simply, actually. Watching the way things are going now that the Republicans are mostly in charge, it is evident that Republicans, as a whole, are about as capable of running the country as second and third graders; if you included Lisa Simpson, then the grade schoolers would be vastly superior. If one party is more statesmanly than the other, and the information sources are unable or unwilling to discuss statecraft, then the more idiotic party is going to get better coverage.

Chris Matthews was going on this weekend about popular and unbeatable Bush is. What a clueless fuck.

Thanks for posting Bush's approval rating in this poll. It's not on http://www.pollingreport.com
BTW, Dean trails Bush 51-46, which corresponds exactly with the likely/unlikely numbers. It's also encouraging to read how Bush isn't doing so well with independents. That's a trend that was very pronounced before Saddam's capture.

Most of the Democratics running for President are calling for the repeal of the "Bush Tax Cut for the rich". Has everyone forgotten that in 1963 President Kennedy gave a 20% tax cut to the 1% richest Americans? Makes the 3.5% Bush cut seem like small change to me. Besides, in 1963, the richest 1% were only paying 10% of total income taxes and today they are paying 37% of total income taxes. Looks like hipocracy to me!!