Another Sign From Poll That Bush Is Slowly Rebounding
Yet another poll shows President George Bush is up on the upswing:
President Bushâ€™s improved standing with whites, men, Catholics and other core supporters has been a key factor in pushing his job approval rating up to 42 percent. Thatâ€™s the highest level since summer.
Shifting into campaign mode to reverse his slide in public opinion polls, Bush has boosted his support among key constituency groups â€” particularly in the Northeast and West â€” on his handling of Iraq and the economy, an AP-Ipsos poll found.
â€œNow itâ€™s not a one-sided debate,â€? said Republican pollster Ed Goeas, citing Bushâ€™s recent speeches on the health of the economy and the high stakes in Iraq. â€œYou have a message getting out there in a much more positive way.â€?
It wasn’t this first shift — where Bush and Cheney were basically accusing the Democrats of wanting to undercut troops and being tacit encouragers of terrorism — that has led to the polling upswing. It’s this:
During the past week Bush started actually defending Iraq policy in more specific terms. You don’t always score in a debate by trying to go on the offensive and attack your opponents. You score by laying out specific facts, or answering your critics’ charges. It’s similar to someone on a job interview just going after his present employer or his prospective employers’ competitition versus overcoming objections to effectively “close the sale.”
Bush hasn’t closed the sale but he seems to be slowly getting back some of the folks who gave him the benefit of the doubt.
Bush improved his job approval rating from 37 percent in November to 42 percent now, though his standing with the public remains relatively low. Fifty-seven percent still disapprove, down from 61.
Bush spent much of the year pushing for a Social Security plan that went nowhere, and he was put on the defensive in September and October after the slow government response to Hurricane Katrina.
Those factors combined with Iraq and the price of gasoline hitting $3 a gallon left the president with the lowest public support of his presidency from September through November
Now gas prices are down. So what does all this mean?
The most important goal of the Iraq speeches is to shore up intensity of support with his Republican base, said Gary Jacobson, a political scientist at the University of California-San Diego. â€œIf he restores the strong support of Republicans, he can ride out the rest of the term and keep Republican politicians on his side as well,â€? Jacobson said.
Bushâ€™s job approval among men has climbed from 39 percent in November to 47 percent now and among whites from 40 percent to 47 percent, according to the AP-Ipsos poll.
Catholicsâ€™ approval went from 32 percent to 41 percent. In the Northeast, Bushâ€™s support grew from 27 to 41 percent, and in the West from 34 to 42 percent.
So he’s going after his base. But, again, can George W. Bush truly aspire to spend the next three years as President of The Base…or will he seek to go beyond his base?