Love him, hate him, serve him straight or on the rocks, come hell or high water the mumbling cowboy will be with us until January ’09 – plan accordingly:
- A USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll Friday through Monday shows that Bush’s courting of conservative Republicans and the brightening picture for economic growth and the stock market are delivering two advantages that his father didn’t have. Now, Bush has the approval of a 54% majority for his handling of the economy – a signature reading of a president’s political health – and a committed core of supporters.
At the moment, among likely voters he defeats Democratic front-runner Howard Dean 59% to 37%. Against an unnamed Democrat, he wins 55% to 38%.
….by key measures of the economy and the polls, Bush is in a stronger position at this point than President Clinton (news – web sites) in 1996, who won a second term, and the elder Bush in 1992 and President Carter in 1980, who lost. Bush’s situation is competitive with that of President Reagan in 1984, who won 49 states. Since World War II and the advent of modern polling, no president with high approval ratings on the economy and an optimistic public at the beginning of the election year has lost his bid for re-election.
“From a historical perspective, we’re in a pretty good position … which gives us a good feeling about where things are heading in this election,” says Matthew Dowd, a Bush strategist.
….Bush is strong:
-His approval ratings are healthy and improving. Six in ten Americans say they approve of the job Bush is doing. That’s higher than the approval ratings Clinton, Carter, Reagan or the elder Bush had at this point. Bush’s approval rating on handling Iraq has risen 11 points in a month, to 61%.
His rating on the economy is up 6 points. His 54% approval rating on the economy contrasts with a 24% rating for his father one year before the 1992 election.
-His supporters are committed. By 55%-38%, likely voters say they’re inclined to support Bush over the Democratic nominee, Bush’s strongest showing since the spring of 2002. Most of his supporters say they won’t change their minds; 45% say they’re sure to vote for him. Democratic support is softer; 27% say they will support the party’s nominee.
The elder Bush was undercut by his lack of solid support among his party’s conservative base. In January 1992, just 27% of those surveyed said they were sure to vote for him.
-The public is optimistic about the future. By 55%-43%, those surveyed said they were satisfied with the direction the country was going, one of the most reliable indicators of how a president will fare in an election. That’s a higher level of public satisfaction than Clinton, Carter, Reagan or the first President Bush could claim at this point in their terms.
-Most of the Democratic contenders aren’t viewed favorably, at least not yet. Bush is viewed favorably by nearly 2-to-1, 65% to 35%. But Dean has a net negative rating, with 28% viewing him favorably, 39% unfavorably. Of the Democrats, only retired Army general Wesley Clark has a net favorable rating of more than one point. His rating was 37% favorable, 26% unfavorable. [USA Today]
Could Bush lose? Of course, anything could happen, but it won’t. You heard it here. You should still vote your conscience – that’s what makes the system work.