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The Saddam Capture Bounce: It's...It's Gone!

That must be the astonished reaction over at Bush-Cheney re-elect headquarters, as they scan the results of the latest CBS News/New York Times poll.

DR predicted that bounce would disappear pretty quickly, but this is faster than even he anticipated. Check out these approval figures.

Bush's overall approval rating in this poll is down to 50 percent which is lower than he was before Saddam's capture (52 percent)--in fact, matching the lowest figure recorded for Bush during his presidency.

His approval rating on the economy, which went up from a net -7 (44 percent approval/51 percent disapproval) to a net +6 (49 percent approval/43 percent disapproval) practically overnight with Saddam's capture has now returned to exactly where it was before: 44/51. His approval rating on Iraq, which skied from 45 percent to 59 percent with Saddam's capture has now dropped back to 48 percent. Similarly, his approval rating on foreign policy, which had bounced from 45 percent to 52 percent, is now back down to 47 percent.

More on this and other new polls tomorrow.

Note: DR is happy to report that the technical problem mentioned in the previous post has been fixed. Feel free to click away on anything that interests you on the right-hand nav bar.

Comments

One of the indicators that it would evaporate quickly was that in the December poll (which I thought I had around here somewhere, but can't find so figure my like of hard figures ) when respondents were asked:

SPLIT HALF - ASK EITHER 53 OR 54

53. Do you think removing Saddam Hussein from power is worth the potential loss of American life and the other costs of attacking Iraq, or not?

9/28-10/01 '03 | Worth It 51% | Not Worth It 41% | DK/NA 8%
12/10 - 13 '03 | Worth It 47% | Not Worth It 43% | DK/NA 10%
12/14 - 15 '03 | Worth It 54% | Not Worth It 37% | DK/NA 9%

54. Do you think result of the war with Iraq was worth the loss of American life and other costs of attacking Iraq or not?

9/28-10/01 '03 | Worth It 41% | Not Worth It 53% | DK/NA 6%
12/10 - 13 '03 | Worth It 39% | Not Worth It 54% | DK/NA 6%
12/14 - 15 '03 | Worth It 44% | Not Worth It 49% | DK/NA 7%

When Saddam was taken out of the equation more people (nearly a majority) said - "Not Worth It". This was right at the time of the capture. So it was clear that as Iraq returned to being about an ugly occupation in a country that seemed fairly ungrateful for their liberation, that wasn't speeding towards democracy and less about eliminating public enemy number two - then Saddam's capture would not provide sustaining political capital.

One of the indicators that it would evaporate quickly was that in the December poll (which I thought I had around here somewhere, but can't find so figure my like of hard figures ) when respondents were asked:

SPLIT HALF - ASK EITHER 53 OR 54

53. Do you think removing Saddam Hussein from power is worth the potential loss of American life and the other costs of attacking Iraq, or not?

9/28-10/01 '03 | Worth It 51% | Not Worth It 41% | DK/NA 8%
12/10 - 13 '03 | Worth It 47% | Not Worth It 43% | DK/NA 10%
12/14 - 15 '03 | Worth It 54% | Not Worth It 37% | DK/NA 9%

54. Do you think result of the war with Iraq was worth the loss of American life and other costs of attacking Iraq or not?

9/28-10/01 '03 | Worth It 41% | Not Worth It 53% | DK/NA 6%
12/10 - 13 '03 | Worth It 39% | Not Worth It 54% | DK/NA 6%
12/14 - 15 '03 | Worth It 44% | Not Worth It 49% | DK/NA 7%

When Saddam was taken out of the equation more people (nearly a majority) said - "Not Worth It". This was right at the time of the capture. So it was clear that as Iraq returned to being about an ugly occupation in a country that seemed fairly ungrateful for their liberation, that wasn't speeding towards democracy and less about eliminating public enemy number two - then Saddam's capture would not provide sustaining political capital.


The Chopped Down Christmas Tree continues...

Since 9/11, Bush has had huge peaks followed by slow declines. Each one, however, peaks smaller and declines faster than the last; we may have seen the absolute last "branch" of the tree, if you will, with the Saddam Capture, and I think the Mars Initiative was an attempt to get more "bounce". But there wasn't, and this is a good sign. In an election year, domestic ideas are key, and Bush doesn't have any- and with the deficit looking like it is, I think people might actually get sick of hearing "taxcuttaxcuttaxcut" as a sound domestic policy.

Great blog, by the way.

I pretty much agree with Scout.

The thing people are learning about the Bush administration is that the good news, be it about the economy or Iraq or whatever, never stays good, whence the smaller and smaller bounces. You can be spun only so many times before you stop placing any credit in it. Bush is very close to quota with most Americans.

The Pessimist here: But how will the press play all this? I see that NYT headlined it properly (Bush Support Sinking), but will the rest of the media follow suit? I mean, let's not forget that Ruy pointed out USAT's astonishginly dishonest headline and story from their poll last week: something like Bush Approval Soaring, but you had to go to their Web site and look at the raw data to find out that his approval had actually sunk 3 points.

And let's not forget Time magazine's wonderful cover story on Dean last week, the one about all the doubts about his electability, the one that didn't bother to inform readers until the third-to-last paragraph that their own poll showed Dean only six points behind Bush, and running ahead of the rest of the Dem pack in one-to-one matchups.

Pessimism confirmed! I see that the CBS News Web site headlined this poll "Bush's Approval Sinking," but the NYT (much more important) had the more equivocal and therefore "objectively pro-Bush" (ha ha) "Poll Bolsters Bush on Terrorism but Finds Doubts on Economy."

Neither the article nor the headline are really out of line (like USAT's puff piece), because the numbers ARE equivocal. Still, the news about Bush's approval sinking doesn't show up until paragraph three. Buried further in the data or the graphs are two other numbers that are very negative for Bush: his historically high disapproval rating (45 percent) and the re-elect matchups showing a negative two percent against an unnnamed Dem.

What about the Weapons of Mass Destruction? Even those shells found by the Danes lask week and paraded as having residue of blister gas have proven negative for chemicals. Where is the backlash? Where's the scandal? Where's the public outcry?
Are there going to be hearings on this or what? What are we as Democrats doing to get this issue out into the debate?

What are we as Democrats doing to get this issue out into the debate?

Um . . . Teddie gave a nice speech the other day. You get a pat on the head, Ted!

But seriously, it sends me into the slough of despond to watch our media. I never used to be one of those conspiracy-theorist types, ranting about the "corporate media, bought and paid for," but lately . . . you've just gotta wonder.

In addition to the media's shameful performance, there's our leading Democrats, who really did, as Dean claims, roll over for Bush on the war. They only began to make an issue of the deception after Dean started gaining traction with his anti-Iraq war message, and even then they're in a tricky spot: they all still justify their votes, when they manifestly should have known better. Only a few Dems (Fritz Hollings comes to mind) have said flat-out, I voted for the war and I shouldn't have because I was duped. Would that Kerry just 'fess up.

An astonished reaction from the Bush-Cheney team? Probably not. Unlike the Washington press corps, I credit these guys with having a brain in their head. No doubt they're busy trying to estimate the magnitude of the spike to be generated by the Saddam Trial, and trying to figure out if they can time it to coincide with November. If not, an invasion of Syria might do the trick.

I'm wondering whether the CBS/NTY poll might be the start of the first anti-spike in the Bush presidency, brought on by angry conservatives protesting the immigration reform and trip to Mars. Time will tell.