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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Bush’s Approval Rating Hits the Low 50s

The latest Pew Research Center poll has Bush’s approval rating down to 53 percent, with 37 percent disapproval, the highest disapproval of his Presidency. Bush has now given back all of the approval spike and more he got from the Iraq war; indeed he’s down almost 20 points (about 5 points a month) since his high of 74 percent when the statue of Saddam came down in Baghdad. While he can’t keep on losing approval at this clip, he doesn’t have far to go before he starts dipping below 50 percent, an unambiguous danger sign for incumbents.
The poll also has about an even split between those who say they would like to see Bush re-elected (40 percent) and those who say they would prefer that the Democratic candidate win the election (39 percent). In addition, the Democrats have a 7 point lead on party ID, once independents who lean toward a party are factored in.
If more evidence of Bush vulnerability is needed, consider this: by 30 points, the public now says it is more important for Bush to focus on the economy (57 percent) than on the war on terrorism (27 percent). When the public is asking you to focus on your chief area of weakness, that’s not a good sign.