Monday, 22 August 2005

Bush Popularity Slide Continues

At the risk of sounding like a gloating liberal, I note that the latest state by state opinion poll from Survey USA shows Bush's approval rating exceeding his disappoval rating in only ten of our fifty states. Those ten states constitute only 79 of the 538 electoral votes.

While this appears to represent a massive defection from Bush (and I do think it's safe to say that were the election to be held today against any reasonable Democrat, Bush would lose), it should be noted that such a shift requires only that 7 or 8 percent of the voters actually change their vote from what they cast last November. The electoral college generally exaggerates the sense of a landslide, and the closeness of our last several elections is testament to how very close they have been.

Though there has been a clear rightward shift in the U.S. populace over the last two decades, we still are a predominately moderate nation, even in those states one thinks of leaning heavily in one direction or another. The extent to which the Republican leadership (and I'm thinking more of the House of Representatives here than the executive branch) has moved right is not representative of the much more subtle rightward shift of the public at large.

This is born out in the latest approval ratings of our 100 senators, also from SurveyUSA. If you look at which Republican Senators enjoy a wide margin of support, it is the moderate Republicans, the very ones which some of the religious right base accuse of being traitors. Moderates Snowe and Collins of Maine top the list, while right wingers Coburn and Santorum have the lowest approval ratings. Even the reasonable Republicans from very conservative states enjoy better approval ratings than their more conservative colleagues. Lindsey Graham has drawn the ire of the religious right for not towing the line on all of their issues, and yet he has comfortable approval ratings in very conservative South Carolina.

It says to me that the one of the most important fights we have is to protect voting rights, and insure an honest ballot, for without fraud or outright disenfranchisement, the far-right wing cannot secure long-standing power in America.

1 comment:

steakboy said...

yup: protecting voters rights (and by obvious extention, the actual votes) is critical.

REAL campaign reform would be nice. the current system poisons the well from which those on our side of things drink, too, sadly.

and yes, the popularity slide is notable--so when will the msm/sclm follow suit and begin referring to him as unpopular / embattled president bush?