A Pew Research Center poll released on October 13th finds that George Bush’s poll numbers are the lowest they’ve ever been as president:
“President George W. Bush’s poll numbers are going from bad to worse. His job approval rating has fallen to another new low, as has public satisfaction with national conditions, which now stands at just 29%. And for the first time since taking office in 2001, a plurality of Americans believe that George W. Bush will be viewed as an unsuccessful president.”
41% believe Bush’s presidency will be ‘unsuccessful.’ 56% disapprove of the job he’s doing as president. A whopping 69% want the next president to “offer different policies than Bush.” 50% believe that using force in Iraq was wrong. 53% say the war is not going well. And all of these numbers are trending strongly downward from past surveys.
Today’s NY Times details the increasing jitters at the White House over the CIA leak investigation and its impact on key Administration officials:
…The inquiry has swept up a dozen or more other officials who have been questioned by investigators or have testified before the grand jury, and, should it lead to the indictment of anyone at a senior level, it has the potential to upend the professional lives of everyone at the White House for the remainder of Mr. Bush’s second term.
The result, say administration officials and friends and allies on the outside who speak regularly with them, is a mood of intense uncertainty in the White House that veers in some cases into fear of the personal and political consequences and anger at having been caught in the snare of a special prosecutor. And given how badly things have been going for Mr. Bush and his team on other fronts – a poll released Thursday by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center put his approval rating at 38 percent, a new low – they hardly have deep reserves of internal enthusiasm or external good will to draw on.
The Bush triumphalism of the past five years is finally getting the comeuppance it so richly deserves. And what’s worse for Bush is that while many people wish to give him the benefit of the doubt as an “average Joe” kind of guy–he has none of the reservoir of good feeling that attached to Bill Clinton. In the midst of the latter’s crises, the majority of the American public wanted him to succeed and disapproved of the shenanigans of the Ken Starrs of the Republican Right. Bush has none of this appeal or charisma. All he has is big, empty slogans and a lot of attitude. That’s not a whole lot to go on in trying resurrect a badly failing presidency.
Plus, Bush’s key allies in Congress are embroiled in their own personal scandals and may not be able to give him the kind of legislative support he’ll need to show something to the American people that says he’s still “on the job” and working for them.
But Democrats should not feel sanguine about their own prospects in the upcoming 2006 and 2008 presidential elections. The poll indicates that only 32% have a favorable view of Congressional Democrats. Bush may be on the run but the Democrats have not persuaded the people that they deserve to take the reins. And given the shilly-shallying role they’re playing in Congress now, one doesn’t have much faith that a vibrant, cohesive Democratic agenda will develop anytime soon.