AP/Ipsos Has Bush Down To 42%, Not Getting Any Credit For Economy - Is This "Bush Fatigue"?
In the interest of fairness and addressing the facts on the ground, let’s stipulate several things up front.
First, by several measures, the economy seems to be doing well. The stock market is not tanking; and even though the Bush recovery can’t break the 200,000 jobs per month on average Mendoza line, and even though the Federal Reserve itself says the unemployment rate is actually higher than reported because labor force participation is down, and even though weekly first-time filings for claims went up last week, the jobs picture doesn’t seem to be headed into the toilet at the moment. Industrial production is up and wholesale prices are flat. The deficit is down for the year, due to one-time tax collections that will not reappear next year. And consumer sentiment is higher than it has been in months.
So with all this good economic news, why are Bush’s approval ratings falling to 42% in the latest AP/Ipsos poll? And why are his ratings on the economy falling to 42% approve/56% disapprove? Sure, Republicans will point to the 8-point Democratic self-identification margin in this poll as the reason, and challenge the poll’s findings. But this poll is not an outlier: other polls have shown a Democratic advantage in respondent self-identification recently, and this poll like all others is weighted by census/demographic factors to reflect the country as a whole.
On other domestic issues, the poll shows respondents giving Bush a similar 42% approve, 56% disapproval rating.
On Iraq, Bush has fallen to his worst numbers, of only 40% approve, 59% disapproval.
On terrorism, Bush has regained a 3-point advantage of 51% approve, 48% disapproval.
On Social Security, he has fallen to his worst numbers ever in this poll of only 35% approve, and now 61% disapproval, which probably explains why even his own party in Congress is no longer in any rush to push new legislation now, and wants to wait until they can sneak it through later in the year.
No matter what you may think about this particular poll however, the fact remains that in the face of generally good economic news of late, a slew of polls done this month all show Bush with disapproval ratings between 47%-50%, with even the Fox poll done through Wednesday giving Bush a 47% disapproval rating, and Rasmussen has Bush’s disapproval rating now back up to 51%. Clearly, one can’t dismiss this AP/Ipsos poll based on the “too many Democrats” argument.
Bush isn’t getting any credit for the economy, and I wonder why. The Michigan consumer sentiment survey shows that in general confidence is on the upswing, so one could argue that Bush’s numbers will get better in the coming months. Do you think this will happen, or do you think that Bush’s Iraq problems and the host of other problems he will face (pushing for a far-right, Roe-hostile Supreme Court nominee, Rove-Plame fallout, etc.) will continue to hold him down?
Or perhaps we are simply seeing the first stages in this second term of an accumulated “Bush fatigue” that has largely escaped the media until now?