Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Real Core of Bush's Ultraconservative Base

Bush's numbers keep sagging and the numbers are curiously becoming more discriminating in terms of what they reveal. Here are the numbers from the NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll:
In the survey, Bush’s job approval rating stands at 35 percent... ...

Perhaps more significant, a whopping 65 percent believe that Bush is facing a longer-term setback from which he’s unlikely to recover. That’s compared with 25 percent who think he’s facing just a short-term setback, and 7 percent who believe he’s facing no setback at all.

What’s more, only 22 percent say they want the president taking the lead in setting policy for the nation. Fifty-seven percent say they would prefer the Democratic-controlled Congress holding the reins.

The first thing to notice is that 90% of Americans don't think Bush is doing well—that's a staggering figure. But there's still that diehard 7% who seem to think he's doing great; those are the hardcore Bush Republicans, the base as it were. But Bush's approval rating is 35% which means a large number of Americans feel honor-bound to approve of Bush despite acknowledging that he is facing setbacks. And only 22% of Americans are willing to say they have enough faith in Bush to continue taking the lead in setting policy. That's a 13 point gap; it's as if the members of a family business have decided they're still fond of Uncle George but don't think he should be running the business anymore!

Look at those numbers one more time. Bush's hardcore loyal Republicans are somewhere between the 7% who don't think he's suffering any setbacks and the 22% who say they want the president to take the lead. Those are dismal numbers. Bush is still capable of a great deal of mischief but his presidency is over.

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