Friday, June 01, 2007

Bush at 36% in Rasmussen (ALL-TIME LOW); Independent Voters Increase

This post won't be as substantive as some of my others, but I figured I'd give everyone a whack at the new numbers to come out of Rasmussen.

Bush's approval rating has always been higher in Rasmussen than in other polls, largely due to discrepancies in weighting methodologies. Today, however, Rasmussen reports that Bush dropped another 3 points in the month of May to an all-time Rasmussen month-over-month low of 36%. This drop comes as a sharp tumble from his previous all-time low of 39% set in April.

Not only that, there is an increasingly large discrepancy in the extremes: the number of those who strongly disapprove of Bush's performance is almost triple that of those who strongly approve. As the report says:

During the month of May, President George W. Bush’s Job Approval rating fell to the lowest level ever recorded by Rasmussen Reports--36%. That’s down a full three points from April’s 39% which had previously been the lowest rating for the President.

During the full month of May, just 16% Strongly Approved of the way the President has performed his role and 45% Strongly Disapproved. Both those figures are also the worst ever recorded for the President who lost ground across all partisan and demographic groups.

However, not everything is coming up roses for Democrats: a separate Rasmussen report states that Republican party identification seems to still be dropping (now at 30.8%, down from 31% at the end of April)--and has been in a freefall since the 2004 election--but at a slower rate than Democratic party identification, which has dropped to its lowest total in seventeen months (to 36.3%, still a good five and a half points higher than the GOP). The number of those who are registered as independents has skyrocketed, however, to a full 32.9%--with possible implicatons for a Bloomberg candidacy. As the article says:

A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of 15,000 adults in May found that just 30.8% now say they’re Republicans. That’s down slightly from last month and down more than six percentage points from the GOP peak of 37.3% during Election 2004. The number of Republicans has been falling fairly steadily since the middle of 2005.

However, the survey also found that the number of people identifying themselves as Democrats has fallen to its lowest level in seventeen months (since January 2006). Democrats gained about two percentage points of support during 2006 and peaked at 38.0% in December of last year. Since actually taking control of Congress, Democrats have given back most of those gains. Today, 36.3% say they belong to Nancy Pelosi’s party.

As a result, the number not affiliated with either major party has jumped to another all-time high—32.9%. That’s up nearly nine percentage points since Election 2004 and means that there are now more politically unaffiliated adults than Republicans...

My personal take on this is as follows: the Republican Party is continuing to bleed support from independents who are seeing through the ineptitude of conservative ideology put into practice. What was a mass exodus is now a steady trickle. Bush's support, however, is drying up very quickly among his wingnut base that still considers itself Republican, partly because of his failure in the Occupation of Iraq, but more importantly because of his push on the immigration bill which is driving his base absolutely insane. Even so, the Dems gained many new voters in the run-up to the '06 landslide election on their promises to end the occupation of Iraq or at least hold Bush accountable; their failure to do so has unsurprisingly resulted in an exodus of voters in frustration.

Nevertheless, American still trust Dems more than Republicans on all ten of Rasmussen's key issues, including a three-point lead on the issue of national security and a five-point lead on taxes (!):

Democrats are currently trusted more than Republicans on all ten issues measured in Rasmussen Reports tracking surveys. Democrats even have slight advantages on National Security and Taxes, two issues “owned” by Republicans during the generation since Ronald Reagan took office.

On National Security, 46% now trust Democrats more while 43% prefer the GOP. On taxes, the Democrats have a five point advantage, 47% to 42%. Democrats enjoy double digit advantages on ethics and government corruption, the War in Iraq, Immigration, Education, Social Security, and Healthcare.

The Republicans are within single digits on Abortion and the Economy.

Meanwhile, Dems hold an 11-point lead in the generic ballot.

The upshot? The GOP is bleeding support; Bush is losing even those few xenophobic die-hards who used to support him; Dems are losing support because of their failure to hold Mr. Record-Low-Approval-Ratings' occupation of Iraq in check; there are a lot of frustrated independent voters out there eager for a change; most of those voters trust Democrats in general more than Republicans; and every single issue of importance breaks the Dems' way.

In other words, we should be holding our ground and standing strong on every issue. There is no downside to opposing Bush at all opportunities; the only way we lose support at this point is by caving in. Above all, it's going to be critical to stand for our ideals strongly enough that no Michael Bloombergs or Unity '08 candidates can steal what should be Democratic thunder and siphon off our votes in the 2008 elections.

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