[[P O L L S]] * George W. Bush’s job performance ratings first plunged below 40 percent in September, after the administration’s inept, crony-crippled response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. They ever so slowly climbed over the next few months, finally reaching back into the mid-40s around Christmas. But a new survey by the American Research Group (ARC) shows that the prez’s overall job approval rating has once more fallen “to its lowest point ... as Americans again turn less optimistic about the national economy ... Among all Americans,” the ARC reports, “36% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 58% disapprove. When it comes to Bush’s handling of the economy, 34% approve and 60% disapprove.”
Does this portend another downward spiral in Dubya’s approval, as Americans learn more about his domestic spying scandal, react to news that the national budget deficit will reach above $400 billion again in 2006, and digest the fallout from the Jack Abramoff influence-buying scandal that is now consuming Republicans? Could the prez be headed back toward Richard Nixon-level approval lows? After analyzing these new numbers, blogger Chris Bowers from MyDD writes that he’ll be “perfectly happy as long as he is under 43%. Why that number? Because Republicans have not broken 43% in a generic ballot since at least August. Any sign of Republicans moving over 43% is a sign of a positive trend for Republicans.” As long as Republicans can’t break 43 percent,” he says, there’s the possibility of a “vast national realignment [of voters] away from the Republican Party, based primarily on backlash against Bush-ism.”
Meanwhile, a new USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll finds that 51 percent of Americans believe the Bush administration was wrong to have begun intercepting communications involving U.S. citizens without obtaining warrants. And 58 percent say it’s high time to appoint a special prosecutor to begin investigating that domestic spying program.
READ MORE: “Turning Against Warrantless Searches,” by Steve Benen (The Carpetbagger Report).