Republican stalwarts, after a few days of tearfully watching Bush's numbers fade in the Rasmussen poll, are high-fiving their hands raw over the new Gallup poll. Bush is at 44 percent! The GOP ballot test is up to 48 percent! Andie, he came here alone!
Indeed, a boost in the president's ratings after a week of 9/11 memorial coverage and beaucoups free media is a stunning development that no one could have predicted. But look at the other questions in the poll. Seventy-two percent of voters think "Iraq is in a state of civil war." That's a Democratic talking point bellowed daily by John Murtha and debunked less-than-daily by George Bush. And people believe Murtha over Bush. At the same time, the number of Americans who want to leave Iraq is at a multi-month low. Forty-eight percent want to leave now or get out within 12 months. That's down from last month's record 55 percent. And fifty-one percent want to stay "as long as needed" or send more troops. That's up 10 points from last month.
Millions of voters who think American troops are playing referee in a civil war are nonetheless willing to keep them there? Figure that out. [And check out Byron York for a breakdown of how the Bush 9/11 push moved numbers on the wiretapping issue.]