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


Friday, August 18, 2006

The second bounce that wasn't

Since the UK plot made the news, pundits have been talking about what a boost it will provide Republicans almost as much as Republicans have been talking about Democrats' desire to see terrorists win.

But in spite of the repetition that, like the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, this means a bump in presidential approval ratings and the general fortune of Republicans, the facts don't appear to back up this bit of 'conventional wisdom.' When there was an increase Bush's numbers, it invariably changed within the poll's margin of error.

In six of the seven national polls, the president's support dropped or remained the same since Americans heard about the alleged terrorist plot. In other words, the story that would obviously help Bush's standing isn't helping him at all.

I think we've reached a point in which hitting the panic button simply no longer works to the Republicans' benefit.

I don't doubt that people are still worried about terrorist attacks, but for years now, it's been a given that any time the nation turned its attention to the possibility of a threat, Bush would benefit. For reasons that I've never been able to appreciate, Americans trusted the president on this issue, even when they distrusted him on everything else.