Monday, April 10, 2006

Bush Approval Rating at New Career Low

It looks like President Bush has got that sinking feeling. This is from ABC News:

April 10, 2006 -- President Bush's job approval rating is at a career low in this latest ABC News/Washington Post poll amid continued broad public skepticism about the Iraq war.

Just 38 percent of Americans now approve of Bush's overall performance in office; it's the lowest mark of his presidency, albeit by a single point. Sixty percent disapprove of how he's handling his job, matching the highest disapproval of his tenure.

One of the primary drags on the president's job approval rating has been the public's negative assessment of the war in Iraq, and in this poll 58 percent say the war was not worth fighting — a majority sentiment for the past 16 months.

Today, just 20 percent of Americans "strongly" approve of his work in office, while more than twice as many, 47 percent, strongly disapprove. At the start of Bush's second term, he had the same number of strong supporters and strong opponents.

From ABC News

From ABC News

Now I can go on with the statistical details regarding this new poll, but I won't--we've seen this time and time again in the previous polls. However, there is an interesting observation from The Washington Post regarding this new poll:

Bush's overall job approval has remained below 50 percent for nearly a year while the proportion of the public critical of the president consistently has topped 50 percent. And perhaps more ominously for the president, 47 percent say they "strongly" disapproved of Bush's handling of the presidency -- more than double the percentage who strongly approved (20 percent) and the second straight month that the proportion of Americans intensely critical of the president was larger than his overall job approval rating.

For the past year, his job approval ratings have been below 50 percent--and that is not counting the long slide from his previously high position just after 9/11. President Bush took two lessons away from his father, George Herbert Walker Bush's administration. The first lesson he took, was that you had to become a "war president." Bush saw how his father's poll results soared during the First Gulf War, and he certainly wanted to capture that type of public opinion responses for his own administration. September 11th gave Bush that opportunity to become a "war president." In fact, the weeks after September 11th, Bush's popularity soared to almost 90 percent, showing an incredibly broad support for the president after the terrorist attacks, and during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

But it is the invasion of Iraq that has destroyed Bush's credibility. President Bush failed to learn what his father had discovered near the end of the First Gulf War-Once U.S. forces marched into Baghdad, they would have to occupy a foreign country, a foreign culture, and a foreign religion that has been in conflict with Christianity for its entire existence. President George HW Bush knew that a U.S. occupation of Iraq was going to be long, costly, and result in possible violence against U.S. troops. What is more, the long foreign policy and political experience that the Bush Senior had gained, the strong neoconservative personalities of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and others. So when the road to Baghdad was clear for the U.S. forces, Bush Senior held back.

George W. Bush never learned those lessons from his father. First, he brought many of the neoconservatives from his father's administration, into staff his own administration. But George W. Bush did not have the extensive foreign policy experience, that his father had, to understand the complex relationships and diplomatic issues that exist in the world. Instead, George W. Bush would have to rely on the neoconservatives within his administration to provide him with the advice on issues of foreign policy--and the neoconservatives had their own views on the direction and role that U.S. foreign policy should take, as described through PNAC. I don't know if George W. Bush believed that his father should have originally finished the job in Iraq during the First Gulf War, or if he was persuaded to adopt the PNAC Doctrine by the neocons. The fact is George W. Bush threw his lot in with the neocons, and adopted the PNAC strategy as official U.S. foreign policy. And ever since Bush vowed to "finish the job" by invading Iraq, his poll numbers have been dropping.

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