Now Gallup Says Bush's Numbers Tumbled After His Speech
Cue up the fat lady.
OK, we can lay to rest any notion that Bush’s Katrina speech last week helped him at all. It’s bad enough that Survey USA’s daily tracking polls showed that Bush’s ratings fell in the three days right after his speech, even though the whole speech and its setting was stage managed with nice Hollywood-style lights running off of generators brought in by the White House to make New Orleans look good (hat tip to Jerome Armstrong at MyDD.com).
President Bush's vow to rebuild the Gulf Coast did little to help his standing with the public, only 40 percent of whom now approve of his performance in office, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released Monday.
Just 41 percent of the 818 adults polled between Friday and Monday said they approved of Bush's handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, while 57 percent disapproved.
And support for his management of the war in Iraq has dropped to 32 percent, with 67 percent telling pollsters they disapproved of how Bush is prosecuting the conflict.
Fifty-nine percent said they considered the 2003 invasion of Iraq a mistake, 63 percent said they wanted to see some or all U.S. troops withdrawn from that country and 54 percent told pollsters they favor cutting spending on the war to pay for disaster relief.
63 percent want to see at least some of the troops home now, no matter what happens over there? Yeow...
Just 35 percent of those polled approved of Bush's handling of the economy, with 63 percent saying they disapproved.
Bush's overall job approval number was 40 percent, with 58 percent of those surveyed telling pollsters they disapproved of his performance in office. It is the second time his approval rating has hit that low a mark.
His personal qualities hit fresh lows: Only 49 percent called him a strong and decisive leader, down from 54 percent in July and 51 percent in August. Just 42 percent said he cares about people like themselves, and 47 percent called him honest and trustworthy.
By contrast, 51 percent did not consider him strong and decisive, 50 percent would not call him honest and 56 percent said he didn't care about people like them.
Folks, the man is tanking. Before the speech, he already had Democrats and independents go sour on him. Now that he is proposing to spend billions to help poor people, his base is souring on him. He can’t win no matter what.
And if 63% now say that no matter what happens in Iraq, they want some of our soldiers to start coming home, is it too much to ask the Beltway Democrats to start talking out loud about an exit strategy?
How is the White House these days? Should we keep the razor blades away from these guys? Apparently, yes.
"You run down the list of things we thought we could accomplish and you have to wonder what we thought we were thinking," says a Bush Administration member who joined on in 2001. "You get the impression that we're more than listless. We're sunk."
Too pessimistic? Maybe not. Rumors are flying through various departments of longtime senior Bush loyalists looking to jump, but with few opportunities in the private sector to make the jump look like anything more than desperation. Almost daily, complaints from Cabinet level Departments come in to the White House about lack of communication coordination on even basic policy matters.
"What happened was that some of the best people who were working in the Administration during the first term, but who weren't necessarily Bush campaign members or weren't particularly close to the White House, jumped when they saw opportunities being filled by under-qualified but more politically connected people," says a current Administration senior staffer in a Cabinet department. "In this department we lost three quarters of the people who should have been encouraged to stay, and most of them left simply because they had received no indication they would be considered for better or different opportunities. And many of these folks would have stayed."
And if you thought (like me) that Rove’s work to rescue Bush on Katrina would work again, check out what the right itself is saying about how Rove’s Katrina response has actually harmed Bush with the base and killed the agenda:
Congressional committee sources on both sides of Capitol Hill predict tough slogging on anything of policy consequence. "Social Security is dead as far as my chairman is concerned. So are the tax cuts," says a Ways and Means staffer of Chairman Bill Thomas.
Before hurricane season wreaked havoc on the Gulf Coast and in Washington, the thinking was that Thomas was poised to take up a major tax bill that might feature several critical components of the Bush Administration's Social Security reform. Now those plans appear to have dimmed considerably.
According to one school of thought, some GOP tax policy changes might have contributed to a more market-oriented approach to reconstruction efforts in the Katrina recovery. Instead, Republicans were stunned to hear about programs that read as if cribbed from the Clinton Administration.
Although Republicans on the Hill are left with a bit of wiggle room to make adjustments to the Bush proposals, they will need political cover if they are to successfully navigate a path made difficult by the Bush team's allowing the media and Democrats to paint the GOP into a corner.
Keep in mind that the Katrina response package was put together by Rove himself.
(thanks to PollingReport.com for the graphic)