The ride may be ending.
After yesterday's CBS poll showed Bush with a 37% approval rate, I speculated that the low number was only part of the story. The real story was in his support among his base, or more accurately his tenuous support among his base. His near unconditional support among self-identified Republicans was the only thing keeping his numbers from hitting the floor, and the CBS poll (plus common sense analysis of conservative reactions to his spending on Katrina and nomination of Harriet Miers) hinted that support was on the verge of collapse.
Well, today the AP released the results of their own poll, and it is no longer just a theory. Once again, the low number (39%) is the secondary story. Bush is suffering from real discontent among the conservative ranks, and that is the meat here. Bush has been mired in the high 30's and low 40's for months now even while consistently getting 85%+ approval ratings from self-identified Republicans. Consider what will happen to his ratings as this group abandons him. Could it be possible to see his numbers approach 30%?
Only 28 percent say the country is headed in the right direction and two-thirds, 66 percent, say the country is on the wrong track, the AP-Ipsos poll found.
Those most likely to have lost optimism on that score include several groups that supported Bush in his re-election: white evangelicals, down 30 percentage points; Republican women, down 28 points; Southerners, down 26 points, and suburban men, down 20. [...]
Almost two-thirds of Republicans strongly approved of the job done by Bush in December 2004, soon after his re-election. The AP-Ipsos survey found that just half in his own party feel that way now. [...]
Fiscal conservatives are complaining about huge budget deficits and plans to spend billions on hurricane recovery. Social conservatives are alarmed about his choice of a relatively unknown lawyer, Harriet Miers, as a nominee for the Supreme Court. Miers, Bush's longtime personal attorney, has most recently served as White House counsel.
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