Bush’s Ratings Edge Up

The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll shows President Bush’s approval rating up slightly at 56%; 42% disapprove of his job performance.
It is striking to note that these numbers are almost exactly the same as the last poll prior to Sept. 11, 2001, when respondents approved of the President by a 55%-41% margin. Also interesting is the fact that while overall approval has cllimbed a bit lately, “strong” approval has declined, to a current level of 30%. That’s still pretty good; it represents a slight plurality. But again, it is only slightly higher than the 26% that strongly approved of his performance immediately before 9/11. Consistent with the conventional wisdom that our politics are currently highly polarized, most people have a strong opinion of the President, with 30% “strongly approving” and 29% “strongly disapproving.” The difference is that 26% “somewhat” approve the President’s job performance, while only 13% “somewhat” disapprove. That margin represents his standing, still relatively strong, among independents and swing voters.
This poll was conducted before the third quarter economic data came out. They reflect some, but not all, of the current problems in Iraq, but there is likely more upside than downside for the President in these numbers, depending, of course, on future events.