Public Nuisance

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The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
-Ronald Reagan

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Thursday, March 02, 2006
 
There's been considerable excitement in left Blogistan over Bush's lowest-ever rating in this poll. We shouldn't read too much into that one number, particularly in this poll, which does oversample Democrats. It's also fun to point to Cheney's approval rating of 18% - actually lower than Nixon's when he resigned.

But the really significant number here is the -33 rating for Congress: 28% approve, 61% disapprove. That's actually lower, though not by a statistically meaningful margin, than similar ratings in 1994. And it can't be attributed to any fault in the CBS poll; the next most recent poll rating Congress, by Diageo/Hotline, was much friendlier to Bush (-7 vs -25) but gave Congress essentially the same grade (-31 vs -33).

It's a long time until election day, but these early numbers do have significance: for one thing, a lot of Republicans reading them have decided this isn't the year year to try for a seat in Congress, so it's been hard to recruit challengers for most Democratic incumbents. The black hats are having such serious recruiting problems this year that it looks like in the nation's 2nd most populous state neither of the top two Demo candidates, Clinton and Spitzer, will face an A list Republican. Our side's recruitment has been more successful, for Governors, Senators and the House.

Note: the other side has also noticed the same number. They point out an interesting fact: in this poll, the lowest rating given to Congress (-46) came from independents. Republicans rated Congress at -26. Democrats gave Congress the least negative score (-23) of the 3 groups!


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