The latest Fox News poll shows that President Bush’s approval rating has risen by 6 percentage points during the past three weeks. It now stands at a not so lofty but not dreadful 42 percent. The swing isn’t surprising inasmuch as the economy is booming, the stock market is climbing, gasoline prices are sinking, and the president is finally defending himself and his policies with respect to Iraq. The poll results suggest that the president’s speech on Wednesday may have helped his rating.
These trends could easily produce further increases in the president’s popularity. However, to get to break-even (and certainly to get much beyond that point) I think we’ll have to see a reduction in the level of violence in Iraq, or a disengagement of a decent share of our forces with no surge in the level of violence.