Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Two in the Bush Numbers

Am interested in the new approval numbers for Bush being reported in today's WashPo. V. good news for the prez overall, as his numbers richet off the floor they hit in early November, with the economy performing rather well and Iraq hosting successful elections and Katrina becoming a more distant memory.

Two questions occur to me as I read the report by Dan Balz and Richard Morin. One, why this gratuitous caveat: "The other cautionary note for the administration is that Bush's approval ratings and public optimism about Iraq have spiked in the past after instances of positive news, such as the capture of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein or the election in January of this year, only to recede later."

Yes, accomplishments do tend to help a president's approval ratings, which are known, however, to go down as well as up. Duh.

Also, I find interesting the swing of public confidence concerning the relative merits of Democrats versus Republicans on the issue of Iraq. Though Balz and Morin say, "On three major issues -- Iraq, government ethics and standing up to lobbyists and special interests -- the public still trusts Democrats over Republicans," they fail to note that on Iraq, Republicans have recaptured much of the support they had lost as of the beginning of last month. On November 2, the public favored Democrats to Republicans on Iraq 48 to 37 percent. In this month's poll, the preference is 47 to 44 percent, not exactly the clear, ongoing, decisive victory Balz and Morin suggest. Also, one has to wonder if the tide isn't finally turning after two years of the Democrats' full-court-press against the president on his leadership and honesty vis-a-vis Iraq.

As to the other preferences mentioned: That the public currently gives Democrats higher marks for ethics and standing up to lobbyists doesn't surprise me at all.

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