[[P O L L S]] * I was watching a West Wing repeat the other night, when one of the cast started wringing his hands over fictional President Josiah Bartlett’s plunge in national approval polls to the mid 40s. Immediately, the thought popped into my mind: He’s just lucky he’s not George W. Bush. A new SurveyUSA study finds the prez’s popularity at just 41 percent across the country. Polls in the 50 individual U.S. states show Bush being most popular in Idaho (where he enjoys a 59 percent approval) and least admired in Rhode Island (where a scant 29 percent of respondents like what he’s been doing). Only in seven states--Alabama, Idaho, Nebraska, North Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming--do his ratings exceed 50 percent; Montana and Oklahoma each give him precisely 50 percent approval. In addition to Rhode Island, eight states disapprove of Bush by a more than 60 percent margin: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, and Vermont. (Of those, only Ohio sided with Bush against John Kerry in the 2004 presidential race.) The Political Wire blog relates that “Compared to last month’s poll, Bush’s approval numbers dropped 5 or more points in 10 states. The single largest drop was in Minnesota, where it fell 10 points. Bush also fell 9 points in New Mexico.”
As Salon’s War Room observes, “If poll results equaled Electoral College votes, Bush would have about 75 of them right now. It takes 270 to win.”
ADDENDUM: Speaking of Ohio ... The state’s already unpopular lame-duck governor, Republican Robert A. Taft II, great-grandson of President William Howard Taft, was charged today with four criminal misdemeanors, after having failed to report as many as 60 golf outings--paid for by others--since 1999. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, “Taft is the first Ohio governor ever charged with a crime. Each charge carries a maximum fine of $1,000 or six months in jail. Prosecutors said it is unlikely Taft would go to jail.” These charges evidently grew out of an investigation into the behavior of Thomas W. Noe, a coin dealer, prominent GOP campaign contributor, and Taft appointee to the Ohio Board of Regents and the Ohio Turnpike Commission, who lost millions of dollars in rare coin investments in funds controls for the state. A Taft spokesperson said the governor is not prepared to resign.