ABC News/Washington Post Poll: Iraq Is Bringing Down The Bush Presidency
Image courtesy of the Post
The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll is out this morning, and in a poll taken after Bush’s NSA domestic data mining operation had settled into the collective consciousness of the public for a few days, Bush’s approval rating is now down to 33%, which is its lowest mark ever in this poll. One of the danger signs for the White House in this poll is that Bush’s slippage amongst the base continues unabated, and this poll was taken before his immigration speech had fully set in.
The current president's decline has been particularly steep among Republicans, who until last month had remained generally loyal while independents and Democrats grew increasingly critical. According to the survey, Bush's disapproval rating among Republicans has nearly doubled in the past month, from 16 percent to 30 percent, while his approval rating dipped below 70 percent for the first time. Nearly nine in 10 Democrats and seven in 10 independents do not like the job Bush is doing as president.
Some of the major findings in this poll, which had a self-identified party ID breakdown of 33% independents, 34% Democrats, and 28% Republicans show that when asked which party respondents want to control the 2007 Congress, Democrats are preferred by a large margin of 56%-33%.
When asked how they viewed Bush Administration policies, respondents viewed them negatively by a 36% positive, 64% negative result.
Finding its lowest mark ever in this poll, only 37% of the respondents felt going to war in Iraq was worth it, with 62% now saying it wasn’t. 76% now say there have been an unacceptable number of casualties from the war, another new high. 54% think the number of troops in Iraq should be decreased. And 59% say the war was a mistake, another new high.
The right track/wrong track question yielded its largest wrong track number since Bush became president, at 69%.
By nearly a four-to-one margin over the next highest reason given, those who opposed Bush do so due to Iraq (46% Iraq, 12% just a bad job overall).
Democrats were preferred to handle every issue over Republicans, even the campaign against terrorism.
Richard Morin, the poll director who caught flak from many corners last week for trumpeting the public’s support of the NSA program from the results of a flash poll with a small sample, a large MOE, and less than a full day after the USAT story broke, asked the same questions over the weekend in this poll about how respondents felt about the NSA data mining program through Monday of this week. According to the poll, and again, using the same questions once again, Morin reports that the public still finds the program acceptable by a 63%-35% margin. When asked if they would be bothered to find out that the NSA had a record of their calls, by a 2-1 margin respondents said they would not be bothered (66%-34%).
Perhaps the public expects in this post-9/11 age for the government to be using technology for data mining, and as long as it is explained to them in an innocuous way, the public isn’t necessarily bothered by it, even though they trust Democrats more now on fighting terrorism and protecting their privacy. It isn’t contradictory for respondents to not be bothered in significant numbers about NSA data mining, as long as it is only data mining, and to also want those behind these programs to be booted out of power now.
The poll indicates that Iraq is bringing down this presidency, and respondents want Democrats in charge of Congress next year, not so much because they offer different ideas, but simply because they aren’t Republicans. The GOP’s only hope is to scare the base into voting over the fears of Democrats returning to power.