And in Other News, Bush Approval Falters Yet Again...

Via Atrios, the latest polling numbers from CBS News and The New York Times (.pdf) do not look good for President Bush. According to the survey of 1,281 adults in the field from Friday through Tuesday with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, George W. Bush's approval rating is down 3 points to 29 percent -- a point over the all-time low for the President in the poll*. The President's ratings on both terrorism and foreign policy also hit new lows in the poll. At the same time, the Republican Party's favorable rating -- 34 percent positive, 56 percent negative -- was worse than it has been at any point since 1998.

CBS and The Times aren't the only news outlets to see a drop in the President's approval rating. Fox News (.pdf) and polling partner Opinion Dynamics peg George W. Bush's approval as down from the last poll, now with just 34 percent approving -- a single point above his all-time low for the survey.

Taking a look at these numbers, it would be hard to come to any conclusion other than the exact opposite of those arrived at by the establishment press. Simply put, George W. Bush is and remains and will remain an extremely unpopular President, and the longer he is is office the more damage he does to his party's image among the American people.

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Lame Duck Status Cemented for President Bush

Back in February, when polling indicated that George W. Bush received no bump from his State of the Union address and in fact slid further into disapproval, I wrote that President Bush was clearly a lame duck. Looking back at the period since then, during which President Bush was turned back on almost every piece of significant legislation and, according to data compiled by Chuck Todd, he was a serious drag on endangered Republican incumbents, it seems rather safe to say that that was a fair assessent of the President. Yet if more evidence were needed to prove President Bush's lame duck status, the latest round of Gallup polling shows that a significant portion of American voters -- including a large group who backed the President and the Republican Congress less than a week ago -- have effectively given up on George W. Bush.

President Bush's job approval ratings have slumped in the latest USA TODAY/Gallup poll, with the president's rating hovering near the lowest of his tenure.

In the poll, taken Thursday through Sunday, 33% of Americans approve of Bush's job performance and 62% disapprove. That compares to 38% approval and 56% disapproval in a USA TODAY/Gallup poll taken Nov. 2-5, just before the Nov. 7 midterm elections.

Bush, an asset for congressional candidates four years ago, was a liability for many this time. His approval rating was 42% in midterm exit polls. That's 10 percentage points lower than on Election Day in 2004 and 24 points lower than in 2002.

The 43rd presidential administration is over. George W. Bush may still have the capacity to try to block popular legislation like mandating negotiations to bring down prescription drug prices and to make sweeping pronouncements in nationally televised speeches, but he is irrelevant today. Voters have rejected everything -- everything -- he stands for. Now even a noticeable portion of his core supporters have abandoned him. I would not be surprised to see his approval rating slip further down into the 20s before too long. In fact, I would be surprised if it didn't. And an outgoing President with an approval rating in the 20s or even the 30s has little capacity to shape his party's nomination process, let alone corral his party's forces in Congress behind his polcies.

Quack. Quack, quack quack. Quack. Quack.

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I still like our chances of taking BOTH houses

With the recent shift in the generic polls towards the Republicans and the slight boost in Bush's approval ratings, we're starting to see a lot of worrying.  Of course the Dems are still up in the generic and Bush's approval ratings still suck.  This isn't to mention the fact that nobody is going to be voting for a generic candidate on tuesday.  Sure I like having a big generic lead, but it means far less to me than individual polls.

On the individual level the House looks damn good for the Democrats.  Over at CQPolitics the projection is D-212 R-199 and 24-No Clear Favorite.  Now we don't need a 20 point generic lead to get to 218 with these numbers.  Cook has 6 Republican seats likely to fall and 34 Republican toss ups and 15 lean republicans.  Again i'd be content with taking half of the toss ups and 1 or 2 of the leans.  Aside from the Bush administration and the Republican leadership, nobody is seriously projecting the Republicans to maintain their majority.  Now this isn't to say we'll definitly win the House, A LOT of races are toss ups and will be won by a slim majority, but with hard work we'll come through on election day.  We've been hearing a lot about Republican GOTV putting them over the edge, but so many of these races dont have the Republican GOTV set up they would like.  Many of these races are seats they weren't expecting a big fight in and failed to set up a massive GOTV operation in.  They're still dumping money into GOTV in all these races, but they need time and money and lack the first.

For the Senate taking a majority looks better to me now than it did ever really.  None of us liked the numbers in RI and MT in the recent Mason-Dixon, but RI was an outlier and we'll still win there and i'm confident MT will be Democratic at the end of the night as well.  Likewise i'm not worried about losing Maryland, despite Steele's impressive campaign.  Steele will take some of the black vote from Cardin, but he'll lose.  If it wasn't 2006 maybe he would have won, but not this year.  

TN is probably gone, which is unfortunate but we don't need it to take the Senate.  Without TN we truly have to run the gauntlet now, but we look better now in VA and MO than we ever have.

Where control really matters is in MO and VA and i've really been encouraged by the numbers in these two states.  With McCaskill and Webb both holding statistically insignificant leads in both states I like our chances.  While their leads are usually 1-2 points, we haven't seen a public poll with either McCaskill or Webb behind in awhile and that's encouraging.  Webb has the superior ground game in VA and will end up winning.  The election will fall on McCaskill in MO, which really means nothing has changed.  Talent has run  good campaign and has a good GOTV opperation, but the same can be said for McCaskill.  I pray the Stem Cell issue puts her over the top, but i'd give her right around a 50% of winning with the slightest of edges.

Taking both Houses would be amazing for us and it's most definitly within our reach.  Showing pessimism a day before the election isn't going to get us anywhere we want to be.  We need to remain positive and motivated now more than ever.  No matter what, this election will be a victory for us, but it's our job now to make that victory as big as possible.

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Two New Polls Show Bush in the 30s

So much for the Bush boomlet.

Following an all-out offensive by the White House during August, President Bush's approval rating appeared to move up from the mid-30s up to the low-40s -- still bad, but not nearly as terrible as before. With the President's approval rating around 42 percent and perhaps trending upwards, endangered Republicans could at least consider beckoning him to come fundraise for him.

But now the tide is changing. Charlie Cook has a hunch "we may be about to see" an inflection point that "will shift momentum the opposite way and tilt the playing field back in favor of Democrats." Judging by the polling released a few hours after Cook's email hit my email box, it appears that his prediction is correct.

According to Opinion Research survey commissioned by CNN (.pdf), 39 percent of Americans approve of the job George W. Bush is doing as President, down three points in a week. The President's disapproval rating was up four points to 59 percent over that same time period. By a 58 percent to 41 percent margin, Americans believe "the Bush administration has deliberately misled the American public about how the war in Iraq is going." And on the generic congressional ballot queestion, the Democrats' lead is up seven points among Americans, though effectively unchanged among likely voters, who favor them by a 53 percent to 42 percent margin.

The Wall Street Journal and NBC News (.pdf) also commissioned polling over the weekend and found similar results. Like the CNN poll, the WSJ/NBC poll found President Bush's approval rating at 39 percent, down three points since September. These numbers reflect registered voters rather than all Americans. The WSJ/NBC survey did not ask a generic congressional ballot question, though it did bring up two interesting questions that show movement along those lines. Asked if "what you have seen and heard over the past few weeks made you feel more favorable, less favorable, or had no effect on your feelings about possibly having the Republicans maintain the majority in Congress," just 18 percent of voters responded more favorable while 41 percent indicated less favorable. When asked the same question about Democrats, registered voters were more favorable than less favorable by a 34 percent to 23 percent margin. Importantly, when registered voters were given arguments for and against the so-called "compromise" detainee legislation, 47 percent opposed it and 43 percent supported it.

Taken together, these polls indicate that things may indeed be beginning to move in a negative direction for both congressional Republicans and President Bush -- even as voters have yet to have time to fully digest the news and apparent cover-up of Mark Foley's immoral and potentially illegal dealings with teenage pages.

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Yet Another Poll Shows No Bounce for Bush

So much for the Bush bounce. Or at least so much for clear evidence of the President's approval rating moving much higher than a woefully low 40 percent. Check out the latest numbers from ARG:

George W. Bush's job approval ratings have not received a significant boost as more Americans say the national economy and their personal financial situations are getting better compared to August according to the latest survey from the American Research Group.

Among all Americans, 38% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 57% disapprove. When it comes to Bush's handling of the economy, 33% approve and 61% disapprove.

Among Americans registered to vote, 39% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 56% disapprove. When it comes to the way Bush is handling the economy, 34% of registered voters approve of the way Bush is handling the economy and 61% disapprove.

A total of 31% of Americans say the national economy is getting better, up from 13% in August, and  34% say the national economy will be worse a year from now, which is down from 52% in August. When it comes to their personal financial situations, 28% say their personal financial situations are getting better, up from 6% in August.

There's no question that the President has more support today than he had during the spring and early summer when his approval rating dipped to the 20s in some polls. Nonetheless, the triumphalism prompted by the latest Gallup poll seems a bit hasty given the numbers released today by ARG. At best, the president is somewhere between the numbers found by ARG and Gallup. But perhaps the numbers from Gallup, as well as those found by the Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg, are a bit too high and George W. Bush remains wildly unpopular.

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