Wednesday, December 20, 2006

How Low Can He Go?

By Sam Parry
December 20, 2006

As President Bush enters the last two years of his presidency contemplating sending more troops to Iraq, a move favored by only 12% of the American people in a recent Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg survey, he teeters on the edge of becoming one of, if not THE least popular American president in history.

Bush's national approval rating has hovered in the mid-to-upper 30's for most of 2006, and his current national rating remains fixed in that zone. However, if the early state-by-state opinion polls published by are any indication, Bush's national numbers may soon dip even further.

So far this month, SurveyUSA has published 16 state tracking polls and in none of them is Bush close to break even. The closest state, Kansas, shows a -9% net rating, statistically unchanged from November.

In traditionally Republican states like Alabama, Kentucky and Bush's home state of Texas, the numbers are downright scary: -13% in Alabama and -21% in both the Blue Grass and Lone Star states. These states slipped from -7%, -19% and -18% in last month's survey.

In Virginia, Bush's rating took a huge dip, from -9% to -21%. While in several other states, Bush's rating simply remained at historically low points. In New York, for example, Bush's net rating is down one point from -50% to -51%. In Ohio, Bush's rating remained at 65% disapprove, 34% approve.

Ironically, in solidly Democratic Massachusetts, Bush's standing had a modest improvement, from -46% last month to -38% this month.

But, overall, these early numbers point to a widespread and potentially worsening dissatisfaction with Bush.

The big question is, as SurveyUSA reports more state tracking polls in the coming days, will Bush have a net positive rating in any state?

Last month, only 3 states – Utah, Idaho and Wyoming – reported net positive ratings of 12%, 12% and 1% respectively. Could the proposal to send more troops into a war perceived by many to be a lost cause whittle away Bush's only positive ratings in the entire country?

Stay tuned.

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