As is pretty obvious by now, George W. Bush insists that he doesn’t run his White House according to public poll ratings, because those ratings demonstrate such a marked intolerance for his willful ignorance of Iraq war realities, his disconnect between talk and action (Hello, New Orleans!), his persistent grabs for more power, his failures as a steward of the nation’s economy, and his oft-demonstrated incompetence as a leader. Yet those polls continue to be conducted, much to the administration’s dismay.
The latest New York Times/CBS News survey may carry the bitterest news for a White House that’s determinedly catered over the last six years to its extremist right-wing base. It shows that the prez “has lost substantial support among members of his own party. ... Mr. Bush’s approval rating dropped 13 percentage points since last fall among Republicans, 65 percent of whom now say they approve of the way he is handling his job as president, compared with 78 percent last October.” Bush’s general job approval stands “at one of its lowest points,” the Times reports, “with 29 percent of all Americans saying they approve of the way he is doing his job, compared with 34 percent at the end of October. Sixty-one percent disapproved, compared with 58 percent in October, within the margin of sampling error.”
A mere 23 percent of survey respondents say they approve of the way the prez has handled the Iraq nightmare, with just 25 percent endorsing his overall conduct of foreign policy. And while Bush has sought to make his anti-terrorism tactics a strength and a legacy, only 40 percent of Americans polled approve of his efforts; 53 percent disapprove. “Seventy percent, including 52 percent of Republicans, say there is not much the United States military can do to reduce the sectarian fighting in Iraq.”
When asked whether the country is going in the right or wrong direction, a whopping 68 percent say it’s “on the wrong track.” The White House might try to ignore such a statistic, but it affects how both parties in Congress treat Bush’s proposals, and will have an affect on who voters cast their ballots for in November 2008.