More Bad News for the GOP

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Bush and the Republicans' poll position continues to drop–and Iraq is mostly to blame:

A pessimistic mood about the direction of the country—69 percent said the nation is now off track—and disaffection with Republicans has dramatically improved the chances of Democrats to win gains in November.

Democrats are now favored to handle all 10 issues measured in the Post-ABC News poll. The survey also shows a clear majority of the public, 56 percent, saying they would prefer to see Democrats in control of Congress after the November elections.
……
Bush's job approval rating now stands at 33 percent, down five percentage points in barely a month and a new low in Post-ABC polls.
……
The president's current decline has been particularly steep among Republicans, who until last month had generally remained generally loyal as independents and Democrats grew increasingly critical. According to the survey, Bush's disapproval rating among Republicans has nearly doubled, from 16 percent to 30 percent, in the past month…..Nearly nine in 10 Democrats and seven in 10 independents currently do not like the job Bush is doing as president.

Public dissatisfaction with Bush has grown in lockstep with opposition to the conflict in Iraq. Not quite a third—32 percent—said they approve of the way Bush is handling Iraq, down five points in the past month and a new low in Post-ABC polling. About a third say Iraq has been worth the cost, the lowest level of support recorded in Post-ABC polls. Two in three Americans believe the war has not been worth it, a view shared by eight in 10 Democrats, seven in 10 independents and a third of all Republicans.

Still, I'll be surprised if this manages to overcome the inertia of incumbency. In the past four elections, House incumbent re-election rates topped 95 percent, and since 1950 have never been lower than 86 percent. In 2004 only one incumbent Senator–Democrat Tom Daschle–lost. I predict a similar, if not as overwhelming, victory for incumbency over unrest this year as well. And I'll be very pleased to be mistaken.

NEXT: True Grit

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  1. Rasmussen Reports reported today their lowest ratings ever for Bush:
    38% Approve
    61% Disapprove

  2. Why does America hate America?

  3. Does anyone here even believe that it will make any difference which party’s candidates get elected?

    They’ll still all go on wrangling for partisan advantage, personal perks & power and pork pork pork pork pork. Pork forever, pork without limit, pork without end.

    What was it Hopkins said? “We shall tax and tax, spend and spend, elect and elect.”

    Yeah.

    My ass feels raw already, and I’m puckering in anticipation.

  4. To paraphrase Truman, if you give the voters a choice between a weasel and a weasel, they will choose the weasel every time.

  5. I think it has been quite well proven that neither party have any intent to show any fiscal responsibility (but at least the Democrats are a little more honest about it), but I definitely want the Dems to take over Congress simply because I am a big fan of gridlock. With gridlock, neither side can mess things up too badly. If they spend all of their time fighting and less time passing bad legislation (and what legislation that does pass will have to be subject to very real debate), I’ll be happier.

  6. Grrr … I really need to start proofreading my posts before I hit “post.”

  7. Brian Doherty,

    In the past four elections, House incumbent re-election rates topped 95 percent, and since 1950 have never been lower than 86 percent.

    It only takes a few seats though.

  8. This is totally not 1994. In ’94, Gingrich brilliantly nationalized the election and mobilized the Republican base.

    This year, why would I vote against a warmonger Republican, just to vote for a warmonger Democrat?

    Nancy Pelosi has already announced that if the Dems win the House, there will be no impeachment proceedings. That’s the anti-Newt. Vote for us and we won’t rock the boat.

    The hell with all of them. I may just vote straight Libertarian this year and let the chips fall where they may.

  9. Maybe the public is finally realizing that when it comes to finishing the job in Iraq, the emperor has no close …

  10. Why does America hate America?

    Comment by: Sandy at May 18, 2006 08:08 PM

    Because of the constitution. You know, if people didn’t keep ‘reading’ it, and finding ‘rights’ in it, nobody would be upset that they were being wiretapped, datamined, or sent to Iraq to face chronic dehydration and a urinary tract infection at best and a case of death at worst.

    DAMN THAT CONSTITUTION! Why did the Founding Fathers hate America?

  11. There is no good choice.

  12. With about five exceptions in the whole country, just vote against incumbents. LP candidates are fine, just avoid officeholders.

    When you have doubts,
    Make sure you oust.

  13. From time to time folks ask if politicians deserve a pay raise.
    Of course they do!
    The rationale of government is conservatism, which is no change which is why john q. doofus is willing to pay taxes.
    Citizen doofus hates change.

    So, relax.
    Pay your taxes. Relish them.
    Everything is all right.

    God is in his Heaven, etc.
    Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

  14. I know it looks bad for the Republicans, but they still have a secret weapon that the Democrats can’t touch:

    They’re running against Democrats.

    Come on, Dems, you can do it. You can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!

    Seriously, though, I’ll take divided government every time. Divided government may not do much good, but it doesn’t do much harm either. Unified government, OTOH, seems to do plenty of harm.

  15. I’ll second thoreau’s motion.

  16. “Nancy Pelosi has already announced that if the Dems win the House, there will be no impeachment proceedings.”-fishfry

    Probably becuase the Dems have looked at the cards they hold on that sort of effort and realize they have no hand. Any attempt to impeach Bush will look petty and foolish. Any articles of impeachment they could draw up against this president will be nonsensical at best and hypocritical at worst There have been precedents, and ones made by Democrat administrations, for most of the controversial things Bush has done. Any attempt at this will merely satisfy the yahoos in their party, and they will earn the enmity of most of the electorate.

  17. Actually, I suspect Pelosi is deferring the notion of impeachments pending actual investigations.

    If the investigations turn up something significant — like, you know, all the laws the White House broken we’ve yet to hear about — then she can always say “We didn’t know this, this is intolerable”, etc.

    Impeachment is only going to come up if investigations turn up something (which I have no doubt they will, as what we know is already criminal) and if the GOP is willing to play ball. If the 2006 elections swing enough seats, the GOP might want to toss Bush and Cheney overboard almost as much as the Democrats.

  18. I also want the Dems to get a majority so small that they lose it in 2008, when a Dem takes the White House. (Ideally that Dem will win the electoral vote but lose the popular vote.)

    I figure that a GOP-controlled Congress would recover some of its best instincts and keep a Democratic President in check.

  19. I think the most remarkable thing about the demise of the republicans (in reputation if not seats in government) is that most folks/voters are being pretty up front and obvious about just what’s pissing them off.

    Moderates are increasingly turned off by the war, the deficit, lack of accountability and the various scandals. Rumsfeld is a widely percieved as an ass and Bush is widely perceived as a dimwitted fool.

    Conservatives, on the other hand, are disillusioned that their agenda is not being moved forward by a president and a congress who (wisely) have realized that moving a far right agenda forward would be political suicide. But I’d argue that even the moderates would go along if the Conservatives weren’t looking so damn incompetent as well as divided.

    In any case, I think the group that will tip the hand in favor of the dems this fall are the elderly. Thanks to the Medicare drug lunacy, most old people of every stripe are scared shitless. Dems waving an entitlement check are looking pretty good

  20. I predict a similar, if not as overwhelming, victory for incumbency over unrest this year as well. And I’ll be very pleased to be mistaken.

    Be careful of what you wish for. One likely outcome of a Dem victory in congress is that the big government Bush administration will find even more ready allies in the big government Dem congress. Also, the GOP congress is starting to show signs of more fiscal conservatism. I can just see the Bush administration and a Dem congress as they “compromise”.

    One of the few good outcomes of a Dem congress is that there might be well deserved articles of impeachment for the malfeasance committed by Bush in the course of his role as the neocon’s faithful Iraq war servant.

  21. This is the only relevant part of the poll, though:

    More than three in five, 62 percent, said they approve of the way their own representative is doing his or her job, up from 59 percent last month.

    It doesn’t matter if people would “like to see the Democrats take Congress” or like one party more than the other. All that matters is that they’re planning to do with THEIR representative. And, by and large, people like their representatives a lot.

    People complain about Congress spending too much money and lacking accountability. But what really bothers them is money being spent on OTHER people, and OTHER people’s representatives having too much uncontrolled power. People love it when their own personal Rep lavishes money on the district. That’s why Congress isn’t going to change hands.

    I’m skeptical that even the Presidency will change hands in 2008, given that McCain has been openly hostile to Bush for six years (and has enjoyed six years of gushing love from the press as a result) and can easily position himself as a different sort of Republican.

  22. I’m happy enough with the concept of gridlock so I won’t cry if the Dem’s win enough seats to take over the house.

    However I am not all that thrilled at the possibility of encouraging the Dem’s to think that we actually want them in office either.

    I’m voting Libertarian whenever that is an option, and leaving everything blank otherwise. Although I am tempted to write in Ron Paul even though (because of?) I am not in Texas. Imagine if everyone who wanted less government wrote in Ron Paul for every single spot on the ballot that didn’t have a Libertarian? We’d get a lot of coverage (well maybe. Do they cover a couple of hundred write ins? :x), although no doubt some of it would be folks thinking we are loony. Like the Libertarian Party doesn’t do its share towards that end already….

  23. I’m skeptical that even the Presidency will change hands in 2008, given that McCain has been openly hostile to Bush for six years (and has enjoyed six years of gushing love from the press as a result) and can easily position himself as a different sort of Republican.

    Gulp. I’d rather have another 8 years of Billary Clinton in office than even 4 years of McCain. That guy is a genuine menace to society. Although at least he wouldn’t be a senator any longer….

  24. Rick-

    You have a point. A potentially troublesome point. Still, I think that partisan rancor, and the fact that the Dems can be good at pretending to care about civil liberties (calm down, everybody else, I said “pretending”), could slow down some of the scariest things coming out of this White House.

    My fondest hope is that in 2008 we’ll have a Dem in the White House and Republicans running Congress. Preferably really, really partisan Republicans. Get the biggest wack jobs that the GOP can provide. Identify the 60 most frequent posters on FreeRepublic and put them in the Senate for all I care, as long as there’s a Dem in the White House. Let them hold hearings where witnesses testify that the Dem in the White House is using UN black helicopters to bring gay Mexicans across the border illegally, or whatever crazy theories they want to spout.

    Dan-

    Sadly, I think you’re right about the incumbents.

  25. The neocons, who have taken the GOP along with the rest of us into the Iraq war, will not shed a tear if the political ramifications of that con job fall hard on the GOP.

    Recall that Rupert Murdoch, who owns the Weekly Standard and Fox, hosted a fundraiser for Hillary. The neocons are just backing anyone who advocates that the US attack Israel’s enemies. That’s their priority. Super hawk Hillary fits the bill nicley. And she’s probably become a hawk in order to ingratiate herself with neocon influence. And then recall that that Bill Kristol, who heads up the leading neocon periodical, The Weekly Standard, said:

    “If we have to make common cause with the more hawkish liberals and fight the conservatives, that is fine with me,”

    http://www.antiwar.com/pat/?articleid=2371

  26. thoreau PhD,

    Yeah, slowing down some of the anti-civil liberties initiatives coming out of Bush administration seems like the only other good thing, along with possible impeachment, that could result from a Dem congress. But I fear that, that would literally cost us billions. The Bush administration attack on our civil liberties is already meeting resistance and it seems that most of those attacks, except the Patriot Act, will go away when Bush does.

    Yep, there were certainly many good for liberty results when we had Clinton and the GOP congress. It was a groovy gridlock and I wish we coulda thrown away the key!

  27. thoreau wrote: “(Ideally that Dem will win the electoral vote but lose the popular vote.)”

    I’d rather that not happen. Listening to another six months of non-stop bitching and moaning about the electoral college is not my idea of fun.

  28. It was a groovy gridlock and I wish we coulda thrown away the key!

    Damn good, Rick. Damn fucking good.

  29. Jack,

    I tend to agree with you. Only an dickhead would want another 2000 election soap opera.

  30. Jack,

    I tend to agree with you. Only a dickhead would want another 2000 election soap opera.

  31. Divided gov’t in the USA is way over-rated. Here in NY the assembly’s been controlled by Democrats and the senate by Republicans for many decades, and tha’s no benefit. And when it comes to the US gov’t, although spending might be worse with party-united gov’t, really awful policies of other kinds seem to emerge disproportionately during party-divided gov’t regimes. Nixonomics, for example. Mutual Assured Destruction. Or just about anything with president Truman and Republicans in Congress.

  32. Good to see Rick Barton going to back to those super-looney style super bold emphasis points.

  33. Hi Brian: In my crystal ball gazing column at beginning of the year I predicted:

    A rising tide of voter disgust with corruption will toss the Republicans out of the U.S. House of Representatives in November elections and a new blessed era of gridlocked government will begin.

    Want to make a bet? A bottle of good wine? Dinner?

  34. Dan:

    You’re right about people liking their own representative – but since this is a poll of Americans rather than likely voters, we can hope that a lot of those people who sort-of-like their representative will be hostile enough to Bush that they won’t go out and vote for them.

    Also, we don’t know how that 62% approval-of-your-own-member-of-Congress is distributed. If it’s 70% in Democratic districts and 50% in Republican districts…..

    From the overall polling it would also appear that the Dems have the edge in open seats. I believe that Busby is slightly ahead in CA-50 at this point, for example, which is a strongly Republican district – and yes, I know why that’s a special case, but still….

    I know, I’m grasping at straws here…..

  35. Rick,

    You’re reading from a thirty year old playbook with your “big spending Democrats” line.

    The last three Democratic presidential candidates have been Bill Clinton (who passed a deficit reducing, spending-restraining budget bill with only Democratic votes), Al Gore (his VP, who led the fight against the Reich faction and kept the administration committed to fiscal discipline), and John Kerry (who supported Graham Rudman back when Jack Abramoff was wearing skinny ties around Boston).

    The alternative to this is the Congressional caucus that gave us the last six federal budgets, and who believe that “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter.”

    I wonder how long it will take for dictionaries to start labelling the term “fiscal conservative” as archaic?

  36. I’d rather that not happen. Listening to another six months of non-stop bitching and moaning about the electoral college is not my idea of fun.

    Yeah, but it would be fun if it came from the other side! And it would just solidify the Congressional Republicans’ resolve to oppose the Dem President if the Dem lost the popular vote.

    Mind you, I don’t want an outcome like 2000, where it’s so close that endless recounts go to the courts. I want clean outcomes in every states, or at least in every state that matters to the outcome (if the electoral vote margin is 15 votes, I don’t really care if, say, New Mexico has to recount), but I want that clean outcome to be that the Dem wins the electoral vote and loses the popular vote.

    And I want the GOP majority in Congress to be led by the biggest lunatics we can find.

    Sadly, I consider it unlikely that all of these events will happen at once.

  37. joe, you mean fi&#383cal con&#383ervative?

  38. Ron—Dinner about tests the limit of my conviction that I’m correct on this one. Let’s keep it to the House, OK? GOP keeps the House after 2006 election, I win—Dems get it, you do.

  39. No, no–it’? “ye?”.

    The code for the long s is ſ . I reveal it because I went to the trouble of looking it up. I really should work more and goof off less. I mean le??

  40. Excellent Rick!

    nice to see the loonies trying to make fun of you again 🙂

    happy friday and greetings to the Coors state 🙂

  41. The Dems will overreach and it will cost them, but I can’t believe they won’t at least take the house.

    I still have no idea who the prez candidates will be, and if the Repubs are smart they will be able to distance themselves from Bush between now and the election. I don’t think all of the stink has to cling to the congresscritters.

  42. Ron—I should note that in a sense, whatever the result of our bet, we both lose….

  43. I’m seriously confused by those who are pissed at the Repubs and asserting that they can’t vote Democratic because… they’ll act just like the Republicans have been acting.

    What?

    I thought Libertarians enjoyed shakeup.

    Not to say I like either of them, but dayum, the Republicans need a few terms in the wilderness.

  44. joe:

    …Bill Clinton (who passed a deficit reducing, spending-restraining budget bill with only Democratic votes),

    I think that Bill Clinton was more fiscally conservative than King George, however the fiscal record of his administration was that much more conservative because of the GOP congress enforcing spending restraint such as it did when it shot down Hillary Care. Please cite a source for the vote that you mention.

    Al Gore (his VP, who led the fight against the Reich faction and kept the administration committed to fiscal discipline),

    Good for Gore in opposing Reich in this area back then. I catch Reich occaionly on CNBC speaking up for the Dems.

    and John Kerry

    John Kerry has been one of the biggest spenders in the Senate. But what we’re talking about is congress, and the GOP members of congress vote for far less spending then their Dem counterparts:

    http://www.ntu.org/main/misc.php?MiscID=13

  45. Hey VM. Good to see ya! Hi Ho to Chi-town!

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