The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

President's poll numbers beginning another decline

Charlie Cook is always worth a read, but he tends to hedge his bets quite a bit in analysing national polls. That's fair, since polls really only show us a moment in time, and they can be volatile. But you don't need me to tell you that.

One thing that's frustrated me a bit over the last month or so has been Cook's stance that Bush's poll numbers were on the rise again, thanks to some good news for the administration. I didn't think the killing of Zarqawi would offset the worsening situation in Iraq in any significant way, and although economic indicators have been fair to middlin' (or fantastic, as many conservatives would argue), it hasn't had any tangible results for most Americans. Besides, most polls showed an improvement of just a few points-- barely beyond the margin of error.

Now Cook is getting bearish again, and the situation in the Middle East coupled with expected increases in already record-high oil prices more than justify it.

Going into this past weekend, however, three of the most recent four
national polls have his approval rating at or below 36
percent: 35 percent from
Time, 36 percent from Fox News and the
Ipsos/Associated Press, and the fourth a
40 percent rating from
Gallup for USA Today. While three out of four polls is
certainly not
definitive evidence of a dip, it surely is a warning signal that
another shift in momentum might be under way.

Some speculate that the president and White House enjoyed a run of
good news and
developments, including some in Iraq, but the
administration couldn't seem to
keep up that momentum. We need to see
more data to make a more definitive judgment,
but something seems to
be happening. (. . .)

Republican candidates, campaigns and strategists must feel like they
are riding
a yo-yo this year. The next round of national polls and
surveys conducted in
individual states and districts should be
carefully watched over the next couple
of weeks to see if there really
is a new decline, and to what extent the fallout is
hurting Republican
candidates who had just begun breathing a sigh of relief.