Bah, Who Needs the Political Center?
Presumably that is the attitude in the Bush White House. Despite losing independents and moderates in 2004, they didn't lose them by enough to spell defeat for the president.
Well, they better hope that formula continues to work, because the administration is getting off on the wrong foot with the political center in this post-election period. Consider these results from recent polls.
1. In the latest Ipsos-AP poll, 43 percent think the nation's going in the right direction, compared to 52 percent who feel it's off on the wrong track. Not so good. But among independents a stunning 68 percent feel the country is off on the wrong track.
2. On Iraq, in the same poll, 48 percent approve and 50 percent disapprove of Bush's handling of Iraq. But among independents, 66 percent disapprove. And in the latest Quinnipiac University poll, Bush's approval rating on Iraq is very poor 41/55 but an even worse 37/58 among independents.
In the Ipsos-AP poll, 47 percent believe it is likely that a stable, democratic government will be established in Iraq, compared to 51 percent who don't. But only 36 percent of independents believe a stable government in Iraq is likely.
Finally, the Q-poll finds the worst numbers ever on whether going to war with Iraq was the right thing for the US to do or the wrong thing. Just 42 percent now say we did the right thing, while 52 percent say it was the wrong thing. And independents have an even harsher judgement: they say war with Iraq was the wrong thing to do by 55-37.
3. On the economy, the Q-poll finds the public disapproving of Bush's handling of the economy by 53-42. Bad, but independents are substantially worse, disapproving of Bush's performance in this area by 58-37.
A poor start indeed for Bush with the political center. Will he do better with these voters in the future? Do he and his political advisors even care? We shall see as (shudder) Bush's second term starts to unfold.