A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll says Bush’s approval rating (finally) has dropped below 40 percent
The poll shows that Bushâ€™s approval rating stands at 39 percent, a new low for the president. In the last NBC/Wall Street Journal survey, which was released in mid-September, 40 percent approved of Bushâ€™s job performance while 55 percent disapproved. In addition, just 28 percent believe the country is headed in the right direction, another all-time low in Bushâ€™s presidency.
Strikingly, much has happened in the time between those two polls â€” many of them seemingly positive events for the White House. The president delivered a prime-time speech from New Orleans, in which he promised to rebuild the Gulf Coast. He also made several more visits to the region, to examine the damage caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Furthermore, he saw the Senate confirm John Roberts to the Supreme Court, and he nominated Miers, his White House counsel, to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day Oâ€™Connor..
I’m hardly objective, but I believe all the trips to the Gulf just make him look desperate.
The Dems should be happy that 48 percent say they’d prefer a Democrat-controlled Congress, as opposed to 39 percent who want to keep the Republicans in charge. I’m not sure the Dems have done anything to deserve their improvement in the polls, but there it is.
Along these lines, David Ignatius has an interesting column in today’s Washington Post:
Watching the Republicans floundering over the past week, I can’t help thinking of a school of beached whales. The leviathans of the GOP have boldly swum themselves onto this patch of dry sand, and it won’t be easy for them to get back to open ocean….
…What’s interesting is that most of these wounds are self-inflicted. They draw a picture of a party that, for all its seeming dominance, isn’t prepared to be the nation’s governing party. The hard right, which is the soul of the modern GOP, would rather be ideologically pure than successful. Governing requires making compromises and getting your hands dirty, but the conservative purists disdain those qualities. They swim for that beach with a fiercely misguided determination, and they demand that the other whales accompany them.
The bickering over the Miers nomination epitomizes the right’s refusal to assume the role of a majoritarian governing party. The awkward fact for conservatives is that the American public doesn’t agree with them on abortion rights. A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll in late August found 54 percent describing themselves as pro-choice and only 38 percent as pro-life, roughly the same percentages as a decade ago. …
… Bush squandered this opportunity by falling into the trap that has snared the modern GOP — of playing to the base rather than to the nation. The Republicans behave as if the country agrees with them on issues, when that demonstrably isn’t so. The country doesn’t agree about Social Security, doesn’t agree about the ethical issues that were dramatized by the torment of Terri Schiavo, doesn’t agree about abortion. Yet, in a spirit of blind partisanship, House Speaker Dennis Hastert announced last year that bills would reach the floor only if “the majority of the majority” supported them. That notion of governing from the hard right was a recipe for failure.
Righties have a pathological need to believe their point of view is the majority point of view, and that we lefties represent a few bitter enders camped out in a commune for aging hippies. I’ve written about this before. Whenever you pin a rightie in an argument, he or she always falls back on the “oh, yeah? Well, most people agree with me” defense. Except, most people don’t.
And I think the GOP could get away with a lot as long as most middle-class Americans felt safe and complacent. But these days nobody’s feeling safe or complacent. People are getting scared, and pissed off, and they’re looking at Washington, and seeing … Republicans in charge.
And a few Dems have been coming forward with something that looks like an actual agenda, something I hope to write about tomorrow.