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1648Re: Bush Approval Rating Hits the 20s for First Time

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  • Ram Lau
    May 12, 2006
      > I think his Dad bottomed out around 28/29%.. son like
      > father..

      Saturday, March 04, 2006
      How low can approval go?

      Approval at the low ebb of post-war presidencies by partisan groups.
      (Kennedy and Johnson are omitted due to missing data.) President Bush
      is helped substantially by the still solid support from Republicans.
      This partially compensates for his below par performance among
      independents and Democrats. The Bush data points are for his current
      standing (March 1) of 38%, not his all time low of 37% on November 13,
      2005. (Can you guess who the unlabeled points are? Test your
      knowledge. Answers are at the bottom of this post.) Hint: Click on the
      figure and then again for optimal resolution.

      Reader Stephanie M. wrote in with an excellent question today: How low
      can presidential approval fall? Is there some natural lower limit
      below which it cannot go. At the same time, some Democratic partisans
      are posing the same question, though with more glee than scientific

      The short answer, of course, must be that no one knows how far
      President Bush's approval rating can and will fall. My view is that
      this is primarily a function of events, the economy, and presidential
      leadership success or failure. Some presidents have fallen quite low
      and then rebounded while others have become mired in their slumps and
      make only modest recoveries. Lacking a crystal ball, I have no idea
      what successes or failures may be forthcoming from the White House, so
      I'm not trying to make a prediction of the bottom of approval for the
      Bush presidency. Rather I'm trying to answer Stephanie's question and
      put the President's approval ratings in some more perspective.

      First, I'm using only Gallup data in order to have comparability over
      time, so no CBS 34% here. At his current 38% Gallup approval,
      President Bush can take some (small) comfort in the fact that every
      president since Kennedy has fallen below 38% at some time in their
      presidency. Here are the low points and their dates:

      Truman, 22%, 14 Feb 1952 All time low.**
      Eisenhower, 48%, 1 Apr 1958
      Kennedy, 56%, 17 Sep 1963
      Johnson, 35%, 12 Aug 1968
      Nixon, 23%., 7 Jan 1974
      Ford, 37%, 13 Jan 1975 and 31 Mar 1975
      Carter, 28%, 2 Jul 1979
      Reagan, 35%, 31 Jan 1983
      Bush (GHW), 29%, 2 Aug 1992
      Clinton, 37%, 6 Jun 1993
      Bush (GW), 37, 13 Nov 2005

      ** Gallup cites 23% as the record low for Truman. The Roper Center
      polling archive contains the February 1952 poll cited above which
      seems to show a 22% rating. I doubt Gallup has this wrong, so there
      may well be a problem with the Roper Center data. I'm trying to get
      this clarified. So accept either 22 or 23 as the record.

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