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December 21, 2005

Bush's Poll Number Surge

WaPo/ABCNews Poll:

Bush's overall approval rating rose to 47 percent, from 39 percent in early November, with 52 percent saying they disapprove of how he is handling his job. His approval rating on Iraq jumped 10 percentage points since early November, to 46 percent, while his rating on the economy rose 11 points, to 47 percent. A clear majority, 56 percent, said they approve of the way Bush is handling the fight against terrorism -- a traditional strong point in his reputation that nonetheless had flagged to 48 percent in the November poll.


Bush's pre-Christmas rebound was fueled largely by a sharp increase in support among his core supporters. In the past month, the proportion of Republicans approving of the president's performance rose 9 percentage points, to 87 percent. And among conservatives, three in four said Bush was doing a good job, up 12 points from November. Among Democrats, independents and moderates Bush's support remained unchanged or increased only modestly.


The other cautionary note for the administration is that Bush's approval ratings and public optimism about Iraq have spiked in the past after instances of positive news, such as the capture of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein or the election in January of this year, only to recede later. But the gains in the latest poll represent a larger one-time jump than on previous occasions of favorable news from Iraq. Currently, 54 percent say they are optimistic about the situation in Iraq, up from 46 percent a year ago.

Rasmussen: Approve 47/Disapprove 51 (still an uptick).

Only CNN/Gallup is a recent sourpuss, putting Bush's approval at a weak 41%.

Bush Finally Woke Up? Update: Bush's father said he lost the 1992 election because he was low on energy and down a quart of charisma. The younger Bush has more charisma, but he seems to have inhereted his father's phlegmatic political stylings.

But perhaps he finally gets it that this "Reign not Rule" paradigm isn't working. The business of politics requires, it turns out, a lot of politics.

With the president's poll numbers hovering between 35% and 40% ever since Hurricane Katrina, it seemed as if the White House had entirely given up in the press war. And in giving up in that war, they were putting the real war at risk. Public support can only go so low before troops must come home.

If Sunday night's speech is a sign of things to come, then it will go down as a decisive break not just from the Bush of the past few months, but from the Bush of the past few years. In bringing his argument directly into people's living rooms--with candid, intelligent words--the president and his team finally may have realized that they've been a punching bag for far too long, and they actually have a case to make.

Over the past few years, the hardest thing for any conservative journalist to admit is that the White House has been entirely unhelpful. When the Clinton team had positive economic news, his Cabinet secretaries appeared on every morning talk show--perfectly happy to give Bill all the credit. With the Bush White House, we're lucky if economic figures even make the news. This despite the fact that we're enjoying a red-hot economy.


If it weren't for FOX News, talk radio, conservative magazines, and the blogosphere, it's doubtful that any good news would be heard over the chorus of the administration's critics.

I voted for Clinton in 1992 to help the economy. It's not that I thought his program was actually better than Bush the Elder's -- I thought meddling in the economy would only do harm (and fortunately that turned out to be more Clinton campaign vaporware) -- it's that Clinton expressed optimism, confidence, and energy regarding getting the economy moving again, whereas Bush the Elder seemed to be taking a wait-and-see attitude.

Confidence and energy count for a lot in life. And in politics. You can't change the facts on the ground, economically or militarily, but you sure the hell can stress the positive news and lay out strong case for yourself.

Bush has seemed quite willing to just let the National Review and Weekly Standard and, a bit, the blogosphere carry his water for him. We don't really mind doing that, but really, at some point you have to be your own Gunga Din.

Read the whole thing.

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posted by Ace at 10:08 AM

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