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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

From the Book of Numbers

I’m still far too cold-remedy-fogged to offer any cogent thoughts on universal health coverage on this Sunday, but did want to point you to a couple of interesting articles about poll numbers from today’s Washington Post.Alan Abramowitz, from my undergraduate alma mater of Emory, probes Bush’s lagging approval ratings and suggests that W.’s systemic lack of credibility is finally and perhaps irreversably infecting the conservative base that has sustained him all these years.More playfully, but no less meaningfully, Richard Morin compares Dick Cheney’s current 18 percent approval rating and compares it to other current and past public figures commonly thought to be loathsome.The bad news for Cheney is he’s:

Less popular than singer Michael Jackson, bedmate of little boys and world-class screwball. One in four Americans — 25 percent — told Gallup polltakers last June they were still Jackson fans after the onetime King of Pop was found not guilty of child molesting.Less popular than former football star O.J. Simpson was after his arrest and trial for murdering his estranged wife and her companion. Three in 10 — 29 percent — of all Americans had a favorable view of Simpson in an October, 1995 Gallup poll.Less popular with Americans than Joseph Stalin is with Russians. In 2003, fully 20 percent said Stalin, blamed for millions of deaths in the former Soviet Union during the 1930s and 1940s, was a “wise and humane” leader. Thirty-one percent also said they wouldn’t object if Uncle Joe came back to rule again, according to surveys conducted by Russian pollsters.Much less popular than former Vice President Spiro Agnew in his final days in office. Forty-five percent approved of the job that Agnew was doing as President Richard Nixon’s veep in a Gallup Poll conducted in August 1973, little more than a month before Agnew resigned and pleaded no contest to a criminal tax evasion charge arising from a bribery investigation.

The good news for Cheney? Here it is:

Even at 18 percent you’re not the least popular public figure in America. You’re slightly better liked than that fabulously blond and brainless party girl Paris Hilton. She was viewed favorably last June by 15 percent of the public, according to Gallup.

That must be an enormous consolation to the man who used to be thought of as the colorless grownup of the Bush administration, forever lending his great credibility to W.Thus endeth today’s lesson.

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