As Job Approval Falls To 43%, GOP Abandons Bush on Private Accounts
Don't think for a moment that these two developments aren't related.
As Senate and House Republicans make noises about abandoning Bush on private accounts for Social Security, an AP/Ipsos poll out this morning shows Bush’s approval rating dropping to a lowest-ever 43%. Even though the poll like other polls was weighted for census and demographic factors to be representative of the population as a whole right now, respondents reported a 10-point self-identification advantage for the Democrats now.
And it doesn’t get any prettier for the GOP after that.
About one-third of adults, 35%, said they think the country is headed in the right direction, while 43% said they approve of the job being done by Bush. Just 41% say they support his handling of the war, also a low-water mark.
The poll conducted for AP by Ipsos found 45% support Bush's foreign policy, down from 52% in March.
Thirty-seven percent support Bush's handling of Social Security, while 59% disapprove. Those numbers haven't budged after more than four months of the president traveling the country to sell his plan to create private accounts in Social Security.
Support for his handling of the economy was at 43%.
Against this backdrop, both Orrin Hatch and Chuck Grassley are saying for the first time that we probably won’t see a bill leave the Senate this year with private accounts for Social Security. Grassley said whatever his committee would deliver would focus on solvency and not private accounts, and Hatch said that private accounts wouldn’t be leaving the Senate due to a lack of Democratic and even GOP support. But even this effort in the Senate will endanger GOP incumbents up for reelection next year because the solvency remedies that Grassley and Hatch are considering involve politically unpopular fixes such as raising the retirement age. Democrats should stay out of this and insist that raising the withholding tax ceiling is the only solvency remedy they would support at this time until Bush is willing to replenish the lockbox he has plundered.
Tom DeLay even declined to say that the House would produce a Social Security bill for GOP incumbents to vote on in this session, even if Bill Thomas gets a bill out of the Ways and Means Committee (and that's a big "if"). Clearly DeLay is more worried now about the damage to GOP incumbents next year by forcing them to vote on an unpopular Social Security bill before the midterms.
It's amazing what a 43% president pushing a losing hand will do to the political landscape.