Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Approval (?) ratings

An ABC News/Washington Post poll finds President Bush's polling numbers are weak.
Salon digs deeper than just bad low approval ratings:
The Post, though, offers no historical context. If the paper had, it would have cast Bush's current standing in an even more negative light. The facts are that upon easily winning reelection in 1972, Nixon enjoyed a 59 percent approval rating, according to Gallup. The reason Nixon's rating quickly nose-dived to 51 percent in Gallup's Jan. 12-15 survey was that the poll came on the heels of Nixon's controversial decision to bomb North Vietnamese population centers, such as Hanoi and Haiphong, without pause from Dec. 18 to Dec. 30. Otherwise known as the Christmas Bombing, the raids killed an estimated 1,600 civilians; 70 U.S. airmen were either captured or killed. The bombing was condemned worldwide, and for an American public fed up with nearly a decade of war in Vietnam, it sparked a new round of street protests as well as knocking Nixon's approval ratings down nearly 10 points in one month. Yet even against that stark backdrop, Nixon's rating was just one point below Bush's current standing, despite the fact that Bush -- unlike Nixon -- has made no bold or controversial initiatives since November.