A View From The Handbasket

Monday, May 08, 2006
Poll watch
Posted by neros_fiddle at 2:20 PM

I try not to obsessively follow polls, but USA Today's new one is notable for a couple reasons. While Bush's 31% approval rating gets the headline (a sub-30 approval rating would be astonishing), the disapproval number is even more interesting -- 65%. Aside from the fact that only 4% are apathetic enough to have no opinion, and aside from the fact that those who disapprove of Bush outnumber those who approve by more than 2:1, check out Nixon's final disapproval rating: 66%.

So Bush is as widely disliked as Nixon was when he was hounded from office. Wow.

Here's another piece of the USA Today article worth noting:

Bush's fall is being fueled by erosion among support from conservatives and Republicans. In the poll, 52% of conservatives and 68% of Republicans approved of the job he is doing. Both are record lows among those groups.

To me, this is a very important distinction. Bush barely has majority approval from self-identified conservatives, but a healthy 68% from Republicans. What this tells me is that support for Bush is no longer ideological in nature, but merely political. Republicans have to at least feign support for Bush to prevent the national party from totally unraveling in the fall midterms. Conservatives, however, have no such worries.

Put differently, while the Republicans can't run from Bush, conservatives can. And they are. Glenn Greenwald has observed the new talking point in conservative chatter: Bush is a liberal.

And from a conservative, can there really be any stronger repudiation than that?

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