Uniter…Not a Divider

It’s official. President George W. Bush has united the American people, who have collectively declared him: Worst. President. Ever.

President Bush has set a record he’d presumably prefer to avoid: the highest disapproval rating of any president in the 70-year history of the Gallup Poll.

In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday, 28% of Americans approve of the job Bush is doing; 69% disapprove. The approval rating matches the low point of his presidency, and the disapproval sets a new high for any president since Franklin Roosevelt.

The previous record of 67% was reached by Harry Truman in January 1952, when the United States was enmeshed in the Korean War.

The title comes at the end of a long downhill slide from having the record highest approval rating in September, 2001. Bush earned that record by ignoring a daily presidential briefing dated 6 August 2001 titled, “Bin Laden determined to strike in US.” (Among other things, the memo pointed out, “…FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.”)

Besides the USA Today/Gallup poll, there was an ARG poll released today and a Rasmussen poll released Sunday that included presidential approval.

The ARG poll gave Bush 22% approval and 72% disapproval. This isn’t the worst Bush has done in the ARG poll…in February, his approval was a mere 19% and his disapproval was an astounding 77%. But, then, ARG presidential approvals polls seem to be biased against Bush, and ARG, in general, has something of a reputation for quirky (i.e. highly variable) results.

The Rasmussen approval poll (which is now taken weekly instead of daily) has Bush’s approval at 34% and disapproval at 64%. The Rasmussen presidential approval polls have always been biased in favor of Bush relative to other major pollsters (but consistently and reliably so). We can compare Sunday’s results with past performance in the Rasmussen poll. When the April polls are averaged at the end of the month, this is likely to be Bush’s worst performance to date–easily beating the 36% approval and 61% disapproval from last May. Rasmussen points out:

Sometimes it is difficult to keep the ratings in perspective. In February 2005, at the beginning of the President’s second term, the number who Strongly Approved was roughly equal to the number who Strongly Disapproved. Now, three years later, just 13% Strongly Approve while more than three times as many—45%–Strongly Disapprove.

Aggregates of multiple polls (e.g. Prof. PollKatz or Pollster.com) also show Bush at the lowest point of his presidency.

So…we have a lame duck Worst. President. Ever. But consider this: at this point in the second term, Ronald Reagan was hovering around 50% approval and Bill Clinton’s approval was in the low 60%. It isn’t just a “lame duck” effect.

Does Bush’s pathetic approval/disapproval matter? From Rasmussen:

In March, as the President’s Approval Rating slipped, the number of Americans who consider themselves to be Democrats remained near the highest levels ever recorded by Rasmussen Reports.

Yeah…I guess it does a little. Besides needlessly sending our soldiers to their death and running up enormous debt for an illegal war that was fraudulently foisted upon the American people, besides the erosion of our civil liberties, the invasion of our privacy, and the approval of torture contrary to our treaties, in addition to causing massive (and, quite possibly, permanent) damage to our reputation abroad, it looks like the Bush administration has also made it downright distasteful (or, perhaps, embarrassing) to be a Republican.

(Cross-posted at Horses Ass.)

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