Thursday, April 12, 2007
This is President Bush’s approval ratings (thank you Wikipedia) over the course of his two terms.
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.
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.
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.