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March 17, 2006
How Bad Is The Bush Slide Anyway?

Several national polls have declared George Bush's approval rating to have collapsed into the mid-30s, dropping downwards preciptously during the Dubai Ports World debate. However, at least some of these have had questionable methodology, especially the CBS poll that had a 13-point disparity between Democrats and Republicans in their sample. Yesterday, Rasmussen Reports put out a little-noticed press release stating that their daily tracking poll shows a much different story:

Forty-two percent (42%) of American adults now approve of the way George W. Bush is performing his role as President. That's just two points above the lowest level ever measured by Rasmussen Reports.

Fifty-seven percent (57%) disapprove.

The President earns approval from 44% of men and 40% of women.

That's not great news, of course, and a 15-point deficit between approval/disapproval would not get anyone elected. However, Rasmussen does not show the dramatic erosion that other polls have claimed, and a review of the past 21 days -- in the heat of the DP World debate -- his numbers have not moved much at all.

How accurate is the Rasmussen poll? In 2004, they predicted a Bush victory in the popular vote by 50.2% to Kerry's 48.5%. The final numbers tallied to 50.7%/48.3%, an extraordinarily close result. Rasmussen uses an automated, digitally-recorded voice for asking their questions, ensuring that all respondents hear the same question in the exact same manner, eliminating the variables that come from using boiler-room telemarketing for their polling.

Hovering in the low- to mid-40s isn't a great place for any elected official, but it's much different than the picture being painted by much of the media. Republicans inclined to panic should reconsider their plans for sackcloth and ashes.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 17, 2006 5:13 AM

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