1 comment April 17th, 2006at 01:05pm Posted by Eli
Coupla interesting stat-related pieces in the Washington Post today.
First, their resident polling director talks about how Bush’s support has eroded on a state-by-state basis, and his approval rating is now under 50% in most of the states that voted for him in 2004. That’s kind of old news, but I thought this little tidbit was certainly interesting and encouraging:
More ominously for Republicans, their party also has lost standing with the public. Residents of states Bush won in 2004 say they trust the Democrats (48 percent) more than the Republicans (42 percent) to deal with the country’s biggest problems.
Those humbling numbers for Republicans are a far cry from the results of surveys taken immediately before the 2004 election. Back then, red states were bright red: Bush’s overall job approval rating stood 13 points higher, at 56 percent in states that he eventually won. And throughout Bush’s first term it was the GOP and not the Democrats whom voters in these states trusted to deal with the country’s biggest problems, sometimes by double-digit margins.
There’s also a news analysis piece which fleshes this out a little bit more. Its primary theme is that Bush’s high “strong disapproval” numbers (47%) and low “strong approval” numbers (20%) will translate to a significant turnout advantage for the Democrats, and even induce some Republicans to switched sides (there are some anecdotal buyer’s remorse examples of disgusted Bush voters who have changed teams).
Unfortunately, I fear that the lone straw that the Republicans are clinging to may be a strong one:
“They may be upset nationally,” Forti said. “But clearly that does not mean they’re not going to go vote for their congressman.” House elections will turn mainly on local issues and nominees, he said.
The Post-ABC News poll found that 59 percent of registered voters approve of their own representative, a lower number than in past months. But only 35 percent approve of the way Congress is doing its job.
This is my worry – that this dissatisfaction will express itself in an attitude of “all congressmen are bums except mine.” Flory tells me I shouldn’t get too hung up on that because we saw the same thing prior to the Republican landslide in 1994, but I’m still not convinced. The Republicans have had the media on their side for as long as I can remember, and were able to paint themselves as housecleaning reformers, with their bold Contract With America. The Democrats could run the identical gameplan this fall, and would be painted as whiny Bush-hating nitpickers whose alleged plan is all smoke and mirrors.
On the other hand, I’m a big believer in the importance of turnout as a force multiplier, and if voter dissatisfaction gives the Democrats a big edge there, the Republicans could be in for some unpleasant surprises. This is, of course, assuming that they can’t neutralize the impact of turnout with their vast arsenal of Election Day shenanigans.