Gallup's Latest Poll Resumes GOP Bias, But How Low Is Bush's Actual Support On Social Security?
Remember earlier in the week when I reported on the results of the most recent Gallup Poll which showed that Bush was losing ground on Social Security the more he talked about it? According to Gallup, only 35% of Americans approved of Bush’s handling of Social Security (subsequent polls by Pew have even lower figures than that) with 56% now opposing Bush’s handling of the issue. This same poll showed another slight increase in Bush’s approval rating, back up to a
52% approve/45% disapprove split, after falling to 49% approve/48% disapprove two weeks earlier.
After seeing these results, it would be fair to wonder how Bush’s numbers could fall this far on Social Security when his approval rating is creeping back up. Well, this is Gallup, so what do you expect?
Exactly. According to information I obtained from Gallup themselves, the most recent poll taken over last weekend had a sample that was 38% Republican, and only 33.6% Democrat. Again, just two weeks earlier, Gallup’s sample was almost equally Republican and Democrat, and it reflected a nearly 50% disapproval rating on Bush’s job performance. Yet two weeks later, Gallup’s sample resumes the GOP bias as if somehow the Democrats fell 4% in two weeks.
Even with this questionable GOP bias in the most recent poll, Bush’s support on Social Security fell to a new low.
In other words, the Bush Cult is alive and well. The man can propose the undercutting of the senior safety net and lose support on the issue with the faithful, yet they still cling to their support of his job performance.
All of this begs a question though, which is this: if the Gallup results have a GOP inflation, and they already are showing Bush down to a 35% approval rating on Social Security, how far down is his real approval rating on the subject, if the poll had sampled a more representative number of Democrats and Republicans?
This week’s Pew poll found that only 29% approved of Bush’s handling of Social Security, six points lower than Gallup’s GOP-inflated finding over last weekend. Given that Pew had a better track record in the 2004 race than Gallup, it would appear that Pew’s assessment that Bush has less than a third of the public behind him on Social Security is accurate, and that Gallup’s typical GOP-inflated numbers are to be evaluated accordingly.
A CBS News poll released this week showed that nearly two thirds were uneasy with Bush’s handling of Social Security. Ominously, it did reflect that Bush had succeeded in confusing Americans when he says that the system would be "bankrupt" in 2042. 47% of those polled thought Bush meant the government would have no money to pay any benefits in 2042, which is of course untrue, and only 40% thought accurately that the government would have to reduce benefits by that date. In fact, even that date has been pushed back to 2052 or later now, but it does reflect the ability the White House has of choosing a word like "bankrupt" and how they can intentionally mislead voters. But even with this intentional distortion, the CBS News/NYT poll this week showed a majority for the first time was now against private accounts.
The notion that Bush can turn this around by barnstorming the country in front of handpicked Stepford crowds and "educating" the public with lies and distortions, when the polls already show that Bush’s approval ratings on the issue are down to around 30%, is laughable on its face, no matter what Gallup does with its samples.