Thursday, April 12, 2007

Why Bushs Approval Ratings Have Dropped And What He Can Do To Fix Them

George W. Bush's Approval Rating -- Why they have dropped



This is President Bush’s approval ratings (thank you Wikipedia) over the course of his two terms.

Summary

President Bush started as a moderately accepted president. At the start of his term, more people had no opinion on him than disliked him; that says something. Then dissatisfaction grew, up to September 11, 2001 when they spiked, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. His approval ratings spiked, almost hitting 90% approval. Since then, it has dropped, and only gone back up for no more than four months at a time.

Analysis

April 2004 was the first time disapproval ratings crossed approval ratings. Let’s investigate what happened around that time period.

April 4 – Muqtada al-Sadr leads an uprising in Najaf, Sadr City and Basra.
April 28 – Abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib is revealed.

These aren’t major events. By this time, the President’s approval ratings were just sliding, not from one specific event. President Bush has become less like as the number of scandals mount; WMDs in Iraq, Abu Ghraib, Guantanomo, signing statements, Scooter Libby, FBI national letters, NSA spying, firing of the attorneys, a stretched military, etc.

Opinion

The public is always ready to forgive, unless you push it (excluding racist, sexist remarks—see Imus). If President Bush will apologize and change his stances, negotiating and compromising he can still redeem his presidency. Otherwise, he will wallow in approval ratings in the 30s, and his legacy will be ascertained.

UPDATE: It sounds like most people believe the president won't be able to fully recover ever. It seems that the president won't be completely approved of, but if he starts changing and becomes less of "my way or highway" politician, his approval ratings will go up, but not to the point where he is seen as a success.

6 comments:

Political Realm said...

I actually think the public is less willing to forgive. I think in most cases, once they make up their mind on something, barring a major event (9/11) that's the way the trend will head. After six years, I think most of the people are simply turned off from the Bush Administration. Regardless of the success or failure the remainder of the way (save clear and complete victory in Iraq or perhaps the capture of Bin Laden), the public has made up its mind on Bush.

Simmons said...

They are much less willing to forgive now, but if Bush starts changing, he has two years to try.

Political Realm said...

His performance thus far and this ultimate sense that history will judge him positively (see constant Truman references), leads me to believe that we won't see a change soon. He is so ideologically focused that he doesn't believe change is needed or proper. History may or may not judge him kindly, but I don't think today's public will ever give him above 50% or maybe even 40% (barring the things I mentioned earlier).

Ron West said...

I really can't imagine that Dubya can do anything to salvage himself from the kitty litter box leftovers of history.

Ever since 9-11, he has governed from the hard right in the most divisive way possible. His electoral strategy was always to get more than 50.1% of the vote, but no more.

He has governed over failure after failure since the invasion. Iraq, Katrina, corruption.

I think one thing that weighs him down heavily is he viewed as a bullshitter. I can't imagine him overcoming that hanicap.

--Ron

Simmons said...

UPDATE: It sounds like most people believe the president won't be able to fully recover ever.

It now seems that the president won't be completely approved of, but if he starts changing and becomes less of "my way or highway" politician, his approval ratings will go up, but not to the point where he is seen as a success.

Rod said...

I agree with PR's assessment of the Bush presidency. He brings up two points that are especially relevant: Truman references and ideology. The Truman references are especially important because, time and time again, Bush has sought to compare himself to past presidents, and specifically to those with strong sense of conviction (Teddy Roosevelt was his latest attempt at doing so). The proclivity to reach for parallels strikes me as someone who never quite achieved a sense of true identity, almost as if he is still pursuing the unreachable goal of being regarded in higher esteem than his father, if not altogether escape from the shadow the elder Bush casts over his presidency. Lacking the true sense of self necessary to be the most powerful man in the world takes a toll, thus the need for ideology. What's scariest of all is the fact that, despite repeated displays of incompetence and the indiscriminate bloodshed that his actions--or lack thereof--have led the world to, there are actually people out there that still approve of his performance. Perhaps, like him, their insecurity prevents them from admitting that they have made a mistake.