It Is Starting To Feel Like 1993

While I have never thoroughly left the early and mid-nineties in terms of fashion and popular culture tastes, the past five months have begun to strongly remind me of the first five months of Clinton's first term, only with the political table reversed. With a trifecta in place in D.C., Republicans are passing much of their agenda, but are doing so in the face of surprisingly vigorous and energetic opposition. The result is a slow erosion in public support for continuing the trifecta.

I know some of you are not satisfied with current Democratic opposition. However, even those who hold that opinion must agree that something is taking a political toll on Bush. Just look at the omnibus approval / disapproval spread from Pollkatz since the beginning of the year. (on the right)

It is true that Bush and Congressional Republicans have indeed passed a significant amount of the conservative agenda so far in Bush's second term, including the Real ID Act, the Class Action Lawsuit Restrictions, Reapleaing the Estate Tax, the Bankruptcy Bill, the Energy Bill, placing restrictions upon reproductive rights, the Job Training Improvement Act, and the Congressional Budget for Fiscal Year 2006. However, despite our reduced margins in both Houses of Congress, it has not been easy for the trifecta to pass any of these laws. Further, Democrats have managed to defeat Bush's attempts to destroy Social Security and nuke the Senate. We also have delivered him a setback via Stem Cells, and Republicans delivered themselves a major setback via Schiavo.

All of this is starting to place a clear toll on Bush's popularity, as he inches ever closer to lame duck status. In yet another poll, his disapproval has reached an all-time high:

A clear majority of Americans say President Bush is ignoring the public's concerns and instead has become distracted by issues that most people say they care little about, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The survey found that 58 percent of those interviewed said Bush is mainly concentrating in his second term on problems and partisan squabbles that these respondents said were unimportant to them. Four in 10--41 percent--said the president was focused on important problems--a double-digit drop from three years ago.(...)

Ominously for Bush and the Republicans, a strong majority of self-described political independents--68 percent--say they disagreed with the president's priorities. That suggests Bush's mixed record in the second term on issues the public views as critical--particularly on Iraq and the economy--may be as much a liability for GOP candidates in next year's mid-term election as his performance in his first term was an asset to Republican congressional hopefuls last year and in 2002.

Overall, the president's job approval rating stood at 48 percent, virtually identical to where it was last month. Currently 52 percent of the public disapproves of the job Bush is doing as president, the highest negative rating of his performance since taking office.(...)

A total of 1,002 randomly selected adults were interviewed June 2-5 for this survey. Margin of sampling error for the overall results is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Democrats have also been consistently leading generic congressional ballot polls for the past five months, and are well positioned to make gains in Congress. It is a struggle, but it is almost enough to make you start humming Nirvana and Dr. Dre songs.

Tags: Republicans (all tags)

Comments

7 Comments

Um ... wait a minute
Isn't a bunch of the stuff you mentioned still sitting in the Senate? I count only the Bankrupcy bill as something that the President has signed. Maybe CAFA passed and I wasn't paying attention. But I'm pretty sure the Real ID Act, the Energy bill, and the Interstate Parental whatever it is act have not passed the Senate.
by niq 2005-06-07 12:40PM | 0 recs
Question
But do you think that we have as many potential natural Democratic conversions out there as the Republicans did then?  What I mean by that is after Civil Rights, the South was primed to go Republican and much of that major shift happened in 1994.  I don't see the same kind of structural shift pushing in the Democrats' favor this time around, so I think our potential for gains, while it appears to be there in current numbers, is much less than Newt's was then.

Do you see it differently and why?

by Garemko 2005-06-07 05:25PM | 0 recs
Where's the Democratic Contract With America??
Republicans did so well in 1994 in part because they did a great job recruiting congressional candidates -- and they were unified with a strong ideological document that focused on a hard-right agenda that set the terms for debate.

Until the Democrats do something comparable, I don't think the analogy holds.

by Paul Hogarth 2005-06-07 05:35PM | 0 recs
Smells like lame duck spirit
corny, i know.
by Covin 2005-06-07 06:36PM | 0 recs
I'd give the Dems in Congress a "D"
Don't count Bush's SS privatisation efforts dead, yet.

I've got to believe that Bush would be even lower (and, just as importantly, the Dems higher) in the polls if the Dems understood the necessity to play the media game.

Bush is sinking under the weight of his administration's disasterous actions. Rove and crew can only use misdirection, smoke and mirrors for so long.

The Dem's major problem is that Bush's disasters don't automatically equate to people liking Dems. Dems have to do something clever like offer a VISION to make that happen.

Dems don't have to offer wonky, policy alternatives--- just an over-arching VISION-thing.

by Southern Patriot 2005-06-07 09:23PM | 0 recs
Is approval really dropping?
Maybe I'm missing something, but the graph you posted (approval/disapproval spread) looks to me pretty level for over a year since before the last election. There's a huge drop since the first election, but since then it's been pretty much just jiggling up and down.

Now, maybe there should have been more of a spike after he was elected. And maybe the dissatisfaction with particular policies will sink in with John and Jennie Q, but at least in this particular poll, it isn't showing up in overall approval/disapproval.

In any case, since W. is a lame duck, I'm not sure this is the measure we should be concentrating on. Maybe something like republican party approval/disapproval or even republican/democratic approval would be more indicative.

by Hong Kong Chevy 2005-06-08 05:09AM | 0 recs
Estate tax and energy bills still to play for!
I realise that the porkalicious energy bill may be too tempting for too many Dem senators not to pass big. (Cloture is miles away.)

But surely we should still be fighting for Dem opposition to the estate tax bill (aka the Paris Hilton Trust Fund Maintenance Act)?

And exposing the fallacy that Red State Dems have to vote for such bills to give themselves cover.

The Nebraska Nelson, say, or Pryor, or Landrieu can surely make a case for supporting the average Joe against the fat cats. (Or is that offensively populist, and worthy only of 'wild man' Dean?)

(From memory, 42 Dem Congressmen voted for the estate tax bill. I suspect the bill will sail through the Senate. But I don't think we should be giving up quite yet.)

by johnsmith0903 2005-06-08 11:44AM | 0 recs

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