Tuesday, February 28, 2006

New CBS Poll Puts Bush Public Approval At A Mere 34%, Leaving Supporters Feeling Defensive And Powerless

It is only a natural reaction, but the rapidly declining poll numbers for Mr. Bush are leading to a "seige mentality" among some supporters who are acting in denial, and others lashing out or others feeling powerless and defensive. This new decline has created more denial based features on Republican and conservative leaning Websites and blogs, with the philosophy that the broad mainstream media does not present an accurate world view. A view that news reports cannot possiby be right, but one's own opinions certainly are. It is a sort of self-delusional "true believer" complex by some.

CBS puts the latest public support for Mr. Bush at a mere 34%, with a 59% disapproval of his policies. While some will argue about the methodology, taken during the weekend among all adults, not just likely voters, and after the worst of Iraqi violence and concerns about the UAE MidEast government DP World port dealings, it still illustrates a typical trend of the second term blues for a President whose White House is not very well managing second term challenges.

In 1964, Lyndon Johnson was able to win with 61% support. Richard Nixon won by a similar large margin in 1972. But both found their second terms to be entirely destructive of their presidential ambitions. Johnson did not seek re-election in 1968. And Nixon resigned in August of 1974.

In 1984 Reagan won a broad 59% landslide, but poor second term issue management of Iran-Contra Scandal and other issues eroded the support down to just a 54% win for Vice President Bush in 1988. But further poor issue management of the economy and other issues further eroded this support down to just 38% in a three way loss of Bush to Democrat Bill Clinton in 1992.

The mounting problems present an issue management problem for the Republican White House and for strategist Karl Rove. But for Democrats to be able to actually capitalize off these problems is also a problem. But so far, it seems that Democratic opposition to the UAE government DP World port dealings are putting some new issue distance between Democrats and Republicans, and allowing Democrats to erode the one area where Republicans have fared well in polls, on questions involving national security.

While the true gauge of support for Mr. Bush or Republican policies is always in real elections, the only one true poll, still a trend is clear. The second term blues are hitting the Bush White House hard and whether thay can effectively battle back and reassert public support is yet to be seen. It is still months before the 2006 elections, and even longer before the 2008 election cycle. Anything can happen at this point for either party with shrewd issue management by either party.

The public also has a short memory. Next week's issues may be radically different than those this week and could break either way, or for every party. For the rest of 2006, a week by week issue oriented political environment is likely to exist with fortunes rising or falling for both parties.

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