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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

No Honeymoon for Bush, No Parity on Party ID for Republicans

The new CBS News/New York Times poll suggests that, as indicated by the postelection DCorps poll, Bush doesn’t have much of a mandate for his policies and is unlikely to enjoy much of a honeymoon from a public that preferred him only marginally to John Kerry.
Bush’s overall approval rating in the poll is 51 percent and more people think the country is off on the wrong track (54 percent) than feel it is going in the right direction (40 percent). That’s a net of -14 on wrong track, actually slightly worse than recorded by CBS right before the election.
Bush’s approval ratings in specific areas, except for the campaign on terrorism, are all lower now than they were right before the election: 44 percent approval/48 percent disapproval on handling foreign policy; 42/57 on the economy; and 40/55 on the situation in Iraq. On the campaign against terrorism, however, his rating is 59/37, up 4 points since before the election.
The poll also finds more of the public uneasy (51 percent) than confident (47 percent)in Bush’s ability to “deal wisely with a difficult international crisis” and with his ability to “make the right decisions about the nation’s economy” (52/46).
On Social Security, by 51-38, the public thinks Bush is not likely to make sure Social Security benefits are there for “people like you”. Also, they don’t believe, by 51-31, that the Social Security system will be able to provide the proper level of benefits for them when they retire. However, the public is split on whether it would be a good idea (49 percent) or bad idea (45 percent) to let individuals invest part of their Social Security taxes on their own–Bush’s signature proposal in this area.
On corporate influence, two-thirds (66 percent) think large corporations have too much influence on the Bush administration, compared to just 19 percent who corporations have the right amount of influence and 4 percent who think they have too little (!).
On taxes, less than a third (32 percent) think Bush’s tax cuts since 2001 have been good for the economy (64 percent think they’ve been bad or made or made no difference) and only 31 percent think that additional reductions in taxes (another signature Bush proposal) would be good for the economy (62 percent think such reductions would be bad or make no difference). And, on the question of whether the temporary tax cuts passed in 2001 should be allowed to expire, more say they should expire (45 percent) than say they shouldn’t (41 percent).
On budget priorities, by more than 2:1 (67-28), the public thinks reducing the federal budget deficit should be a higher priority than cutting taxes. (No question was asked about spending on health care, etc. vs. cutting taxes, but that result would likely be even more lop-sided.)
On Iraq, for the first time since July, more say we should have stayed out of Iraq (48 percent) than say we did the right thing to take military action against Iraq (46 percent). Also, for the very first time, an outright majority (51 percent) says that the war in Iraq is separate from the war on terrorism (up 9 points since right before the election). Of those who say the war in Iraq is part of the war on terrorism (43 percent), 34 percent say it is a major part and the other 9 percent say it is a minor part. Finally, a plurality now say (46-45) that is not possible for the US to create a stable democracy in Iraq.
On the political parties, despite the Republicans’ gains in the 2004 election, the public now views the Democrats substantially more favorably (54 percent favorable/39 percent unfavorable) than they view the Republicans (49/46).
And as for that parity in party ID indicated by the NEP exit poll? It’s already gone, if it was really there to begin with. Confirming the Annenberg Election Survey results I wrote about a couple of days ago, the CBS/NYT poll now shows the Democrats with a 7 point lead on party ID (36-29).

10 comments on “No Honeymoon for Bush, No Parity on Party ID for Republicans

  1. Al on

    A couple of notes:
    1. This was a poll of “all adults” – not voters. A poll of voters would likely have turned out differently.
    2. Note the question asking who the respondents voted for: 42% Bush, 42% Kerry (5% n/a, 7% didn’t vote). That doesn’t accord with a popular vote of 51% – B, 48% – K.
    3. The NEP exit poll had “Is the US going in the right direction? Yes – 49%, No – 46%” Obviously a big difference from here. Which is right? I tend to trust the exit poll.

  2. Publius on

    All that, and they won the elections.
    44% approval/48% disapproval and he won the popular vote? People disapproved of him and voted for him anyhow?
    54% view the Democrats favorably. That means 6% or so voted against the party they approved of, for Congress and the Presidency.
    8% voted for someone whose economic policy they disliked. 6% voted to continue a war they did not like.
    OK, if this data is accurate, grandpa Publius needs a clue. Where are all these people who are going around saying “Frankly, Bush scares me, and I’m with him 100%”?

  3. George on

    So how did Bush win if he loses on the issues? Speaking from some experience as a public health activist who has spent years trying to get a community to take action in its own interest (by curtailing heavy upwind pesticide spraying that is keeping a whole city sick), I know that people don’t want to strain their brain, don’t want to THINK about problems. Too much else to do, the world too complex, the powers that be too great. And aren’t we living in the relatively best of times? Don’t we have to take the bad with the good and be thankful?
    Nationally, we are in a helluva mess–Iraq, the deficit, looming economic and environmental woes. Do we want to think? Strain? Do something together? Ugh. No! Let’s pick the ALPHA MALE who can best take care of us.

  4. Jesse on

    How is this possible? If the Democrats are so popular and Bush so unpopular, how in the world did he win? I wonder if we’re just asking the wrong questions, becuase asking the right questions would by definition show more positive results for Bush.

  5. euzoius on

    So how exactly did the Glorious Leader win the election? Solely on the “terrorism” issue?
    Are Americans aware that the candidate one votes for and the voter’s position on various issues facing the country are not supposed to be essentially unrelated?

  6. cloudy on

    The unaddressed elephants in the room are:
    1) How come with voter dissatisfaction with the direction of the country and with Bush the Democrats didn’t get the election going away? I have answered that regarding the Democrats and media systematically and not by oversight rolling over on key spins like the flipflop and the Matt Bai distortion and its progeny. Thus to TRULY analyze the election, we have to look at the justifying of the lying critically, and seriously evaluate its impact, eg, the voter in the 2d prez debate who said her friends didn’t want to vote for Kerry because they thought he was wishywashy.
    2)In the postelelection situation, the amount of evidence of fraud VASTLY exceeds that of 2000. The computer systems, the exit polls, the shortage of voting machines and now a whole lot of new info on Ohio that I could post, although it came third hand and there is no clickable URL, the issue of the hacking of the optiscan votes in Fla, the handing out of a huge number of (apparently still uncounted in NM) back-of-the-bus provisional ballots, districts with virtually all spanish speakers and no poll workers who spoke spanish, etc etc. The cumulative impact includes almost certainly OH decisively (the voting machine shortage alone) and quite possibly or probably the national total as well.
    You simply can’t analyze this election without a daily recap of the voter fraud issue
    3) cross-cutting both is the media lockdown of Votergate 2004 over the past week as information has burgeoned. It seems as if our democracy went off to Ukraine along with Chernobyl. What we should have done was never to have had nuclear power in the first place and maybe given them our tories and our Al From Democrats instead (tho that wouldn’t work either). The way the media has locked down Votergate highlights how the media systematically evaded the other spins mentioned in section 1) — with the dismissal of this as “tin foil hat” thinking as a part of the problem itself.
    What’s all this talk about a honeymoon or a non-honeymoon while votergate is being locked down? Talk about shifting the deck chairs on the Titanic!


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