According to the latest Newsweek poll, Bush’s approval rating has sunk so low he’s in Dick Cheney territory at 31 percent, a record for the president. The same data confirms the suggestion that Bush’s unpopularity did more to win Congress for the Democrats than did their own candidates.
President Bush’s job approval rating has fallen to just 31 percent, according to the new Newsweek poll. Bill Clinton’s lowest rating during his presidency was 36 percent; Bush’s father’s was 29 percent, and Ronald Reagan’s was 35 percent. Jimmy Carter’s and Richard Nixon’s lows were 28 and 23 percent, respectively. (Just 24 percent approve of outgoing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s job performance; and 31 percent approve of Vice President Dick Cheney’s.)
Worst of all, most Americans are writing off the rest of Bush’s presidency: two-thirds (66 percent) believe he will be unable to get much done, up from 56 percent in a mid-October poll; only 32 percent believe he can be effective. That’s unfortunate, since 63 percent of Americans say they’re dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country; just 29 percent are satisfied, reports the poll of 1,006 adults conducted Thursday and Friday nights.
But the new poll carries sobering news for Democrats, too, still on their post-victory high. Just about everyone believes the Republicans lost the 2006 midterms more than the Democrats won it. Presented with a list of factors that may have contributed to the Democrats’ success, 85 percent of Americans said the “major reason” was disapproval of the administration’s handling of the war in Iraq, 71 percent said disapproval of Bush’s overall job performance, 67 percent cited dissatisfaction with how Republicans have handled government spending and the deficit, 63 percent said disapproval of the overall performance of Republicans in Congress, 61 percent said Democrats’ ideas and proposals for changing course in Iraq. Tellingly, just 27 percent said a major reason the Democrats won was because they had better candidates.