The Polls Are All Singing the Same Song
Another major poll, another boatload of bad news for the Bush campaign. Here's the latest from NBC News/Wall Street Journal on what the public thinks, very consistent with other recently-released data.
1. Bush is doing a lousy job. His overall approval rating is 45 percent, with 49 pecent disapproval, lowest ever in this poll. His approval rating on the economy is identical, an improvement from NBC News' May rating but still net negative and about in line with their March rating, which pre-dated almost all of the recent job growth. His foreign policy rating is lower at 44/52 and his rating on "dealing with the war on terrorism" is now under 50 percent, with approval (48 percent) barely higher than disapproval (47 percent). The last time NBC News asked this question was in January and it makes for quite a contrast. In January, Bush was a net +32 on his war on terrorism approval rating (63/31). Now he's down to +1--a big, big change.
2. The country's not going in the right direction. In the NBC News poll, just 36 percent think so, up 3 points from May, but still down 7 points from March in this poll.
3. The economy is still in trouble. A strong majority (57 percent) continues to think that "the signs point to an economy that is going to be in trouble--jobs are moving overseas, the budget deficit is growing, and too many jobs do not have health insurance or pensions" rather than "the signs point to an economy that is going to be strong--jobs are being created, inflation is low, and the stock market is up".
4. The war wasn't really worth it. The number who believe removing Saddam from power was worth "the number of US casualties and the financial costs of the war" is down to 40 percent, the lowest ever in this poll, with a majority (51 percent) saying it wasn't.
5. The war hasn't made us safer. A majority (51 percent) thinks the threat of terrorism against the US has been increased by the Iraq war, compared to only 14 percent who think it has decreased.
6. Bush lied or at least exaggerated. A majority (53 percent) now say that Bush "exagerrate information to make the case for war" rather than provided the most accurate information (42 percent). Three months ago, this question returned a 49-49 split. Also, for the first time, a plurality (47 percent) say Bush "deliberately misled people to make the case for war" rather than gave the most accurate information (44 percent). That's a reversal from three months ago when, by 53-41, people said Bush did not deliberately mislead people.
7. Let's try to get out of here, shall we?. By 53-37, the public worries more that we will stay in Iraq too long than that we will leave too soon. A majority (55 percent) either want to leave immediately/as soon as possible (24 percent) or according to a specified timetable but within 18 months "regardless of the situation at the time" (31 percent). And 74 percent say that, if Iraqi civilian leaders can't govern effectively, the US should not take back control but rather let the Iraqis work things out for themselves.
That's what the public thinks. Over to you, John Kerry.