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Don't call it a comeback . . . .

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Handicapping the Trend

Josh Marshall thinks that Bush's approval ratings may sink into the high 20's soon, but chiefly because the high 20's are already within the statistical margin of error:

Mind you, I'm not saying that the president's popularity will continue to fall into the 20s. The continuing descent is something like a mathematical limit. Each point lower digs deeper into the base of truly committed partisans and unquestioning hacks. So knocking off each new point on the way down requires ever greater displays of incompetence, failure and general infamy. And even for President Bush that's a challenge. So, as I say, I'm not saying he'll really get down into the 20s. I'm saying that if the president is consistently scoring like 32% or 33%, the margin of error built into the polls themselves should eventually spit out an outlier under 30%.

I'm not so sure that Bush's actual numbers might not drop, eventually, into the high 20's. Not right away, perhaps. Not next week. But even committed partisans have come to disapprove of Bush's performance, and it's actually pretty easy to understand why. Bush hasn't only been a terrible president--he's been a terrible conservative president, too, if you get my drift. And it's possible to imagine some really bad news in the next few weeks. A Rove indictment, for example, would be a political disaster for the administration. (I'm not saying that it will happen, but it could.) Then, we're into summer, and gas prices could go higher. Plus, summer is hurricane season. Now, maybe some of you think that FEMA is ready for a major hurricane. I would like to believe that that is true, too. But I've seen enough incompetence from these guys to know better than that.

It looks like the administration is hoping for a political fight over the Hayden nomination to head the CIA to pull their numbers up and help solidify their base. That might work, but if I were running the show, I would be reluctant to highlight the NSA program, the Pentagon's takeover of U.S. policy, and the failures of the administration to implement intelligence reform in the past two years. The best analysis I have seen, so far, was on MSNBC, I think, last night: Hayden is the man because, frankly, there's no one else that is qualified (Hayden is clearly qualified) and would take the job. In other words, the "political strategery" argument is just spin, because once Goss resigned/was forced to resign/fired for mysterious reasons . . . there was no one else . . . .


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