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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Bush Moving Downward

Yesterday, DR reported on Gallup data showing Democrats moving upward.  Today, DR is pleased to flag just-released Democracy Corps data showing Bush moving downward.  How sweet it is!
According to the DCorps data, Bush’s approval rating is now 55 percent, down 6 points from their poll last month.  His margin over an unnamed Democrat for reelection in 2004 is 6 points, down from 11 points last month.  And the classic right direction/wrong track question has flipped from slightly positive to 6 points negative (43 percent right direction/49 percent wrong track).
Consistent with other recent surveys, the poll shows substantial erosion of the public’s trust and confidence in Bush’s approach to foreign affairs, especially the Iraq situation.  Right now, 47 percent say they cannot trust what Bush is saying about WMDs in Iraq, up 7 points in one month.  And 52 percent agree Bush did not adequately plan for the postwar Iraq situation and doesn’t have a plan to win the peace and bring the troops home.
In terms of whether the war was worth the costs, that perception, too, is headed south.  In May, the public thought the war in Iraq was worth the costs in lives and dollars by 28 points, 61 percent to 33 percent.  That margin is now down to 10 points, 52 percent to 42 percent.  No wonder the public is now split on whether to continue in the direction Bush is headed on foreign policy (47 percent) or go off in a significantly different direction (46 percent).  That’s a substantial change from last month when the public wanted to continue in Bush’s direction by a 14 point margin.
And on a range of domestic issues, the public wants to go in a different direction than the one Bush is heading in.  The public endorses changing direction on the federal budget and deficits (27 points, up from 15 last month), the economy (19 points, up from 11 last month), health care (18 points), prescription drugs for seniors (14 points, up from 9 last month, despite the Republicans’ efforts to co-opt this particular issue), retirement and social security (8 points), the environment (5 points) and even taxes (2 points).
This is definitely a vulnerable President.