Newsweek Has Bush At 38%; Dems Way Up for 2006

No more flukes, Bush is really below 40% now:In Katrina's wake, the president's popularity and job-approval ratings have dropped across the board. Only 38 percent of Americans approve of the way Bush is doing his job overall, a record-low for this president in the NEWSWEEK poll. (Fifty-five percent of Americans disapprove of his overall job performance.) And only 28 percent of Americans say they are "satisfied with the way things are going" in the country, down from 36 percent in August and 46 percent in December, after the president's re-election. Beyond that, here is an important finding in the poll that could be both good and bad for Democrats who are trying to make Katrina a referendum on conservatism: But Katrina's most costly impact could be a loss of faith in government generally, and the president, in particular. A majority of Americans (57 percent) say "government's slow response to what happened in New Orleans" has made them lose confidence in government's ability to deal with another major natural disaster. Forty-seven percent say it has made them lose confidence in the government's ability to prevent another terrorist attack like 9/11, but 50 percent say is has not. (Note: our question asked about "government" in general, so we cannot say whether respondents meant state, local, federal or a combo of any of the three.) It should be easy to make the case that conservative government has failed with numbers like these. However, can we make a case for effective, responsible, strong, and empathetic progressive government with numbers like these? I guess we shall see.

And here is the big one:

Reflecting the tarnished view of the administration, only 38 percent of registered voters say they would vote for a Republican for Congress if the Congressional elections were held today, while 50 say they would vote for a Democrat.These polls matter, which makes this one huge. There is no doubt that Democrats would take the House with numbers like that, and quite possibly by a large margin. Of course, since we are still fourteen months from the election, and Republicans have closed famously in both 2002 and 2004, we still have a lot of work to do. However a poll like this should put to rest any conservative fantasies that Democrats are not looking like a real alternative to Republicans right now in the eyes of the electorate.

Tags: Republicans (all tags)

Comments

24 Comments

Woohoo!
Go Democrats Go! Chris, I wonder, what have polls similarly far away from an election cycle predicted in the past, and how accurate they were. A 14% lead is WHOPPING though. Shocking, really, because the Democrats havent even branded together to form an "anti stay the course" platform yet. If they can get their act together in that manner, this really might be bizarro 1994.
by AC4508 2005-09-10 11:23AM | 0 recs
Bizarro
I'd like to think that a big win in 2006 would make 1994 the bizarro year.
by Chris Bowers 2005-09-10 11:25AM | 0 recs
Out-friggin-standing!
Let's hope Hackett and a newer generation of progressive dems can present enough of an alternative to ride us back to power, or at least closer to it.

It's clear from your diary and this poll, that more than ever, we need candidates who are straight-talking and present a CLEAR ALTERNATIVE to failed conservative government.

by Sam Loomis 2005-09-10 11:36AM | 0 recs
Fighting Democrats
With a clear message. That's all it takes.

The Democratic leadership has to forget about the muddle of the road triangulation strategy. If I hear Joe Biden, Joe Lieberman or Bill Clinton say Bush is a nice guy or anything remotely bi-partisan, I think I'll puke.

Attack! Attack! Attack!

by Gary Boatwright 2005-09-10 01:17PM | 0 recs
yup, well put
It's still early and the GOP has closed well. I'm not sure how well the fear factor will work next year. I'm willing to bet that it wont work as well as it did the last two cycles, as long a Dems put a real plan. I think Harry Reid's reform agenda was put up here. Take some of those bills and call it the reform agenda, and that will be good(education, healthcare, energy independence, real homeland security, etc). If Dems lead in the congressional ballot, stays this large, or even if stays over 10, 2006 will be a good year, especially considering we have good candidates(I believe) running at every level: gov, senate, and house of reps.
by jj32 2005-09-10 11:36AM | 0 recs
Don't count them chickens yet...
Fourteen months to go.  That's a lo-o-ong time.  

And as we know, W will start bringing the troops home to maximize GOP advantage in the midterms.

We have to find and support leaders who will put the best possible face on our ideas - effective government, broader opportunity, real sharing of risks caused by the global economy, national security that rattles the saber only when necessary.

The best news I think we could have would be for Bush to put Social Security "reform" in the SoTU next year, and push for a bill through the year.  Lead weight.

by tliazos 2005-09-10 11:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Don't count them chickens yet...
If Bush does in fact start bringing home the troops, that is a VICTORY FOR US. Even if he just does it to save face and we lose some votes because of it, it is still a big win. Never forget that all this political stuff is about is accomplishing our goals.
by AC4508 2005-09-10 02:55PM | 0 recs
Is there a reason
Dems are not pounding on the security isse as well as the obvious racism.?

A majority of Americans (57 percent) say "government's slow response to what happened in New Orleans" has made them lose confidence in government's ability to deal with another major natural disaster. Forty-seven percent say it has made them lose confidence in the government's ability to prevent another terrorist attack like 9/11

I am 100% sure that race play a major part in the disaster and more and more proof is coming our each day. I will be greatful for the day when Dems learn to chew and walk at the same time...

Yes... you can go after the tax cuts
Yes... you can go after racism

But all those Dems who have been happy to sell out the party to attract those elusive "swing voters" and moderate republicans ... by selling out those "Old Timey" issues like labor, womens reproductive rights, the separation of Church and state and those old negro gospels... these new fangled Security Democrats/Military Pragmatists or as Al From like to call them "Blair Democrats" are stunningly quiet on the fact that we have Bush by the balls in regards to SECURITY.

At the end of the day there is one truth:

Republicans can not keep Americans safe  this is the Security Silver bullet the Dems have been looking for... Bush is weak on SECURITY... which is broader than just shooting up make-believe terrorists.

I liken it to wingnuts giving the keys to their house to Republicans for safe keeping ...only to return to find that the Republicans are no where to be found and have left their backdoor wide open. They are shaken to their core...have you heard Russert?

To wake up the wingnuts we have to make this an issue of security... that is the ONLY REASON why Bush is in the Whte House... he promised to keep all Americans safe...

Thousands of people have died this past week (some estimate say 10 time the amount of 9/11), 1.5 million were made homeless and a landmass the size of Great Britain (or the size of a nuclear attack) lay in ruins and the "Security Alert" never moved up from YELLOW... so what does that tell you. This adminstration has no clue on how to keep Americans safe...  

As much as this IS an illustration of the compassion-less-ness of this adminstration towards Blacks and the poor... it is AS MUCH an illustration that even those that could protect themselves were not insolated from this tragedy and also those no where near NOLA...as witness by the price guaging at the gas station and soon the infalted prices of foodstuff because farmers use the Mississippi to float their good to the 4 largest port in America... and now the world perception that the US can not protect its own people within its own borders ...from the weather...with not a terrorist in sight.



NO ONE ESCAPED FROM KATRINA
...not Blacks not whites, rich nor poor, southern or northern states...this was a national disaster.

by Parker 2005-09-10 12:15PM | 0 recs
Aside from being stupid, no.
This has been a common refrain for months. I wrote a diary based on an article in The Atlantic Monthly in January National Security and Terrorism that probably should have been titled Domestic Security and Terrorism.

Bush has done absolutely nothing to make America safer and Democrats have been afraid to call him on it. They are so busy trying to run to the right of Bush with Beinart's "robust liberal hawk" theme that they haven't attacked his greatest weakness.

Bush is an absolute failure on domestic security. I am baffled why Democrats have been so silent about it. Border security, port security, hardening chemical plants and nuclear waste sites. Bush hasn't done squat.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-09-10 01:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Aside from being stupid, no.
Republicans are outraged on the only two things they care about: SECURITY and TAXES

At this point, a man with silver hair stood up. "Representative Smith," he said firmly, "I have been a Republican since the early 1960's."  Oh, no, I thought, here it comes - shill time. This guy had to be part of the crowd called in by the Travis County Republican Party this morning to give Smith some cover.

"I pay a lot for taxes," he continued, "and I consider it a social investment. I am outraged! When this catastrophe hit, the president's response was that we should 'give to private charity.' I am outraged that this party can't support our country. We can't deal with our own self-defense. You need to fire Chertoff and these FEMA clowns. What are you doing with our tax dollars?!"

At this point, the audience broke into applause. Smith, sticking to message, said it will be investigated: "We don't care who's responsible, we just want to find out who's responsible."

This is an important point for the Democratic party to pursue - that taxpayers did not get their money's worth with this Republican administration. This may attract outraged voters like this man.  

by Parker 2005-09-11 12:26AM | 0 recs
How Much do "these polls matter?"
I don't see a Congressional takeover as imminent.  I think gerrymandering and deft message switcheroo can mitigate an unfriendly terrain for most GOPs.  

 I expect gains in '06, we'll pick off some vulnerables, but no takeovers -- barring a deeper recession or slowdown than the one i think we'll get.  (I think we'll approach 0-1% GDP growth, with a deflated housing bubble.)

I'd love to be flat wrong.  But getting people's expectations too high can lead to crippling disappointment later on.

by Andmoreagain 2005-09-10 12:44PM | 0 recs
Let's just give up now
With that kind of attitude the Democrats might as well just give up. Good lord. Do you have an optomistic bone in your body?

Attack! Attack! Attack!

by Gary Boatwright 2005-09-10 01:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Let's just give up now
You don't know me in the slightest.   I'm very optimistic about the long run.  Just cautious about the short run - i.e. what I expect.    

Not cautious tactically.   I suspect we would agree.  Candidates must be optimistic and capable of attacking successfully.  

It's not just about slamming the other side and feeling good.

by Andmoreagain 2005-09-11 03:31PM | 0 recs
Re: How Much do "these polls matter?"
I agree that a takeover of Congress is highly unlikely. However, even if Dems can gain 3-4 seats in the Senate, and 7-8 seats in the House, those are significant gains that would make the GOP majorities in Congress slim. Also, it would give the progressive movement some steam heading into the '08  Presidential election.
by AC4508 2005-09-10 02:53PM | 0 recs
Re: How Much do "these polls matter?"
Gerrymandering works both ways. If the tide shifts enough, formerly safe Republicans will find themselves more at risk. Tom DeLay only got 55% of the vote last time, partially because he redistricted away part of his old district in order to squeeze out a Republican victory for someone else. But if the tide turns hard then fewer Republicans would be safe than if gerrymandering hadn't happened.
by elrod 2005-09-10 06:25PM | 0 recs
Obviously You've Never Heard of Paul Hackett!
This comment is so 2004!

My advice: either go back to sleep and shut up, or wake up to what's happening now.

The Beltway Boys have their Conventional Wisdom, which they hold onto for dear life.  Let's not be like them in any way, okay?  

This observation has the distinct advantage that it actually reflected a level of insight with some validity at one time.  But we are now busily engaged in the process of figuring out how to overcome the problems it identifies. And Hackett's campaign is a clear demonstration of what can be done.  It's our job now to move the ball farther down the field--not throw up our hands because the GOP's been so successful at moving the goal posts.

by Paul Rosenberg 2005-09-11 12:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Obviously You've Never Heard of Paul Hackett!
Thanks for letting me know how stupid I am.  And sharing with me your foreknowledge of the future.

I agree Hackett is a template - but if you think his results can be easily duplicated, you're mistaken - because his persona cannot be easily duplicated.  He was a great candidate; great recruits are very rare.

I made my statement about expectations.  I didn't say "give up."    If you think I'm some beltway advocate of kissing feet, you are far from correct.

I've been a paid staffer on political campaigns.  I've put my money and time where my mouth is.

Don't condescend to somebody you don't know.   That's the danger of the internet.

by Andmoreagain 2005-09-11 03:34PM | 0 recs
I'm Not The Least Surprised!
You don't know who I am either. But I'm not the least bit surprised at your background, or your mistaken impression that it somehow impress me.  I am impressed--or not--by what people say, period.

That said, let me clear up a few misconceptions:

(1) Criticizing a particular comment is in no way equivilent to saying someone is stupid.  The only people who never say stupid things are people who never say anything at all.  Since you've obviously misunderstood my intention, let me make it perfectly clear: I don't think you're stupid. I don't even think the statement you made was stupid. As I said, I think it contained a valuable--but now dated--perspective on things.  I apologize for hurting your feelings. But, at the same time, I think it advisable for you be more thick-skinned if you want to get the full value of perspectives other than yours in forums like this.  This leads directly into...

(2) Phrasing a response in a provocative manner is a commonplace on the internet, where conversational conventions are a lot looser and more diverse than IRL.  Economy of expression is a good thing, and people are often much more blunt and to the point than they would be in conversation.  Challenging each other's ideas is a good thing, and our egos should be either (a) strong enough to take or (b) set aside for the greater good.

(3) Paul Hackett was just the epitome of all the forces in play, a convenient figure to hang my hat on.   I'm not arguing that every candidate can be a Paul Hackett--indeed every candidate doesn't have to be.  What he showed is that there's a good deal more fluidity in partisan allegiences than had previously been supposed. This, in turn, has altered the calculus of candidate recruitment, as well as other factors that impact on the possibility of electoral success.  Some of these are commonly recognized by campaign professionals, some of them are not.  My point is that judgements based on CW assessments of what's likely are not looking too terribly reliable right now.  The internet is a rapidly-evolving wildcard, and the 2006 elections are a long way off.

Sure, the GOP could close that gap, as they have in the past. But the opposite could happen as well--things could get much worse for them.    1974 worse.

There are at least two good reasons for this:

Liberating & Empowering Technology: As Chris and others have been arguing for some time, there is cause to believe that the internet will increasingly come to favor progressive forces to a disproportionate degree--offsetting somewhat the advantages that have allowed the GOP to come from behind in the past.

A fundamenetal shift in vision and values: There are two frames for this argument. First,  Kevin Phillips's Wealth and Democracy and his observation of the pattern whereby world powers go into a roughly 2-generation reactionary phase following a stinging defeat at the peak of their powers, followed by an egalitarian reversal.  We're a bit on the early side for this, but Katrina was the sort of tear-the-fabric-of-reality event needed to trigger the sort of reversal he was talking about. Typically, it doesn't happen all at once, but it's a force much deeper than anything the GOP has had to fight against in a very long time.  The second frame is Lakoff's work on cognitive metaphor and framing, explicitly grounding our politics in a moral vision. The more that our candidate learn to do this, the more effectively they will harness and catalyze the underlying shift that Phillips writes about.

I don't expect you to buy this argument. Given the background you've touted, I expect you to dismiss it without taking it seriously in the first place.  But I'm prepared to be pleasantly surprised.

by Paul Rosenberg 2005-09-11 04:22PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm Not The Least Surprised!
You should be surprised.  I buy quite a bit of what you wrote, though perhaps do  not agree on the immediacy of the impact.  You seem to think a mass persuasion is about to take place very soon.   I would give that, provided Democratic execution is good, several cycles to cement a new majority.  

In '06 I think the economy will be far more important a factor in changing people's vote choices than Katrina will be.   But Katrina should help, as I do see a slowdown on the horizon.

I'll believe we can take both houses in '06 if Bush hits the low 30's and stays there.  That's my metric.  

Again, you have no idea who I am, what I do, what causes I work for, what my skills (and resulting judgement) are  Don't think that you can infer my mindset from that.  

Not that I'm anyone famous or important, far from it, that's not my point, but I've been on this bandwagon for years now.   I read Lakoff and Phillips 10+ years ago.   I was crying about the GOP infrastructure 10 years ago.  I was online years ago.   Etc.  

And I'm guessing you underrate the experience of working on a campaign, since you seem to dismiss it.   That's like watching a lot of skiiing on TV, and thinking you know what it's about without trying it.   This is epidemic on political blogs, as is an inability to see how 'regular' Americans view politics.  

by Andmoreagain 2005-09-11 06:06PM | 0 recs
one quick addition
'fluidity of voter choices"    

I've believed it was fluid a long time ago.   I'm not the only one.   I've always been very skeptical when people talk about realignments as if they're lasting.
Outside of the base cores, most people out there are barely partisan, even if they have straight ticket voting histories.   Most voters spend 5 minutes a week thinking about politics.   They'll swing when it hits their wallet, or when they're disgusted.   And when these feelings are prevalent near election day.

Again, this is not an old model or idea.

by Andmoreagain 2005-09-11 06:17PM | 0 recs
Potential 2006 moto:
Republicans. . . how can they govern when they don't believe in government?
by Painter2004 2005-09-10 06:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Potential 2006 moto:
Republicans say government doesn't work and then get elected to prove it.
by dole4pineapple 2005-09-10 09:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Potential 2006 moto:
Republicans. . . how can they keep you safe ...when they are too busy getting rich?
by Parker 2005-09-11 12:12AM | 0 recs
The numbers aren't useful unless the Democratic
Leadership does something about them. Until then, they are just numbers.
by bruh21 2005-09-10 09:37PM | 0 recs

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