Tuesday :: Dec 9, 2003

No Bump For Bush Over Medicare and Turkey Day Stunt


by Steve

The next time a pundit or a Bush-cheerleading reporter publishes a piece telling you that the GOP and Bush have gained a large political advantage from the Medicare drug law signed yesterday, or Bush’s recent Baghdad Turkey Day scam, remember this.

A new poll shows public opinion up for grabs on the subject (Medicare), with large numbers of Americans saying they did not pay attention to the legislation and still had no opinion about it. The Washington Post-ABC News poll also found that a plurality of Americans near or beyond retirement age disapproved of the new law.

When asked whether they approved or disapproved "of the Medicare changes voted on by Congress last month," the public broke roughly into thirds: 38 percent said they disapproved, 32 percent approved, and 30 percent did not yet have an opinion.

The poll suggests that a plurality of those ages 65 and above currently oppose the bill. Forty-seven percent said they disapproved of the changes to Medicare, while 26 percent supported the legislation. Those in the 55-to-64 age group were similarly opposed, 46 percent to 32 percent.

"This is a surprisingly tepid response to this big legislation," said Andrew Kohut, a nonpartisan pollster who directs the Pew Research Center polls. "The Congress and the president aren't getting any credit for trying. I would have guessed that the approval scores would've been higher." Only 17 percent said they were following the legislation closely, which Kohut called "extraordinarily low" for major policy issues, which are typically followed closely by twice that many Americans.

And in the Post’s first poll taken after the Bush victory lap over Medicare and his Turkey Day scam, it turns out that Bush’s approval rating has gone down four points and has returned to its lower levels of October.

Overall, the Post-ABC poll found that 53 percent of Americans approve of the way Bush is handling his job, down slightly from November's 57 percent and equal to the low Bush reached in October. A total of 1,029 randomly selected adults were interviewed by telephone Dec. 3-7 for the survey, which has an overall margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Not exactly a bump and building tide for the incumbent after two major events of late, is it?

As for Iraq, the memories of the Turkey Day scam and the weekend claims that things are getting better are fading now with news that US forces suffered two different car bomb attacks, with nearly sixty having been injured by a car bomb attack in Mosul, and another chopper was shot down awhile ago with thankfully no injuries reported as of yet.

Looks like Karl will have to work a little harder. Remind the media cheerleaders of these poll numbers the next time you see a story about how Bush is on the upswing now due to Medicare and alleged improvements in Iraq.

Steve :: 9:06 AM :: Comments (2) :: Digg It!