Tuesday, February 21, 2006

First Comes the Sixth-Year Bitch

[[P O L L S]] * Blogger Glenn Greenwald made an excellent point the other day, in a post that looked at how polls demonstrate George W. Bush’s increasing unpopularity across the United States. “One of the most inexcusable, and revealing, media distortions,” he wrote, “is that Bill Clinton, who had approval ratings in the 60s and left office with sky-high popularity, is depicted as some sort of disliked politician, whereas Bush is still routinely depicted as a beloved and admired figure even though he is, and for quite some time has been, an extremely unpopular President, not just in blue states but in red states as well.”

A new SurveyUSA assessment of Bush’s job approval certainly bears out the truth of that last statement. It shows that in only six states out of 50 does Bush enjoy an approval rating higher than 50 percent--with Utah showing him the most love--while in 40 states, a greater number of people disapprove of the scandalized prez than approve of his performance after more than five years in the Oval Office. The most interesting finding by SurveyUSA, Greenwald writes in another post (this one at Crooks & Liars), “is Bush’s intense and pervasive unpopularity in Ohio, the state which swung the [2004] election in his favor. People in Ohio disapprove of Bush’s performance by an amazingly lopsided margin of 37-60%. Apparently, they’re not happy that they have no jobs, their kids have no health insurance, their neighbors have been stuck and are being killed in an increasingly unpopular, endless and senseless war in Iraq, and the President is surrounded by cronyism and corruption and thinks he has the power to break the law. But at least gay couples can’t get married, so that’s good.” Bush’s unpopularity in the Buckeye State, coupled with the indictment last year of Republican Governor Bob Taft, may be behind the 12-point lead Ohio gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland, currently a Democratic congressman, now holds over his GOP challenger, Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell.

The breakdown of where Bush is now most and least favored by Americans looks like this:

Most Popular
Utah: 58 percent approve, 39 percent disapprove
Idaho: 55 percent approve, 43 percent disapprove
Alabama: 53 percent approve, 44 percent disapprove
Wyoming: 53 percent approve, 44 percent disapprove
Nebraska: 52 percent approve, 44 percent disapprove

Least Popular
Rhode Island: 25 percent approve, 72 percent disapprove
Massachusetts: 29 percent approve, 68 percent disapprove
Vermont: 30 percent approve, 67 percent disapprove
California: 30 percent approve, 68 percent disapprove
Connecticut: 32 percent approve, 66 percent disapprove

Even in Bush’s home state of Texas, he doesn’t break the 50 percent approval mark, sliding in instead with 49 percent approval, and 46 percent disapproval.

Another poll, this one from Zogby International, shows that the prez’s conservative base--which has stood beside him, despite the scandals, powermongering, and incoherent speeches--is beginning to abandon Bush. “Only 68% of Republicans support his handling of the war, and only 73% job approval from Republicans, with only 61% of conservatives and strong conservatives supporting him?” writes Steve Soto at The Left Coaster. “That doesn’t bode well for” Republican in November’s midterm elections.

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