Thursday, January 26, 2006

A Divider, Not a Uniter

[[P O L L S]] * Less than a week away from the delivery of George W. Bush’s latest State of the Union address, a new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll finds that a majority of Americans--58 percent--believe the prez’s second term is already shaping up to be a failure. (A slightly smaller number say that Bush’s entire presidency has been a failure to date.) While 53 percent say they’re convinced that the Republican White House misled the public regarding Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction, prior to the U.S.-led invasion of that nation in 2003. The survey also shows 51 percent of the electorate more likely to vote in November’s midterm races for a candidate who opposes Bush--a finding potentially important to GOP moderates who might want to vote against Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. and those prone to support congressional investigations either of the administration’s domestic spying activities or its too little, too late response to last August’s Hurricane Katrina disaster.

In this same poll, 64 percent of respondents say that things have gotten worse in the United States over the past five years, and 54 percent think that Bush--who campaigned for office in 2001 as “a uniter, not a divider”--has in fact been “a divisive leader.” Only a third of folks participating in the CNN/USA Today/Gallup survey say that Bush has a “clear plan” for solving the nation’s ills.

Bush’s job approval rating in the latest assessment is 43 percent (with 54 percent disapproving), which is slightly higher than another new poll, this one released by GOP-friendly FOX News, which shows the prez with 41 percent job approval (and 51 percent disapproval). The FOX survey also found that, in the midst of the Jack Abramoff influence-buying scandal, Americans believe that government corruption is almost as big a problem as government overspending (34 percent to 36 percent). FOX News’ story about its poll concludes, “A common practice throughout history has been to including the phrase ‘the state of our nation is strong’ or ‘our union is strong,’ but do Americans agree? The poll asked, in this year’s speech, would it be accurate to describe the country as ‘strong and confident’: 40 percent say yes, while 55 percent say no.”

IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED ...: Think Progress has put together a video selection of clips from Bush’s previous State of the Union addresses, which it says “demonstrates that Bush often includes lofty, promising rhetoric but falls short on his pledges. For example, this year, according to news reports, President Bush will ‘will attempt to shift focus from the polarizing war in Iraq to a more popular domestic priority: taming health care costs.’ But President Bush has pledged to tame health care costs in all his previous SOTUs. Meanwhile, the cost of health care continues to skyrocket.” Scrutinize the video here.

READ MORE:Party Identification Shifts Toward Democrats,” by Ruy Teixeira (DonkeyRising).

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