Much has been made of a CBS News poll that showed President Bush’s approval rating at 34 percent and Vice President Cheney’s at practically nil. That poll is an outlier, which is not surprising when one realizes that Republicans are underrepresented in the sample even after adjustments(see here for a discussion of this issue). With the CBS poll, Bush’s Real Clear Politics average approval rating is 40 percent. If that poll is discounted, as I think it should be, the average rises a bit.
Still, the president’s poll standing has slipped. For example, he is down from 48 percent to 43 percent over the past month in the Rasmussen poll. The decline is mostly due, I believe, to increased disapproval by Republicans who are upset about the ports deal. Bush can probably win that support back, but to get back to break even numbers, he will also need to improve his standing among independents. I doubt that he can accomplish this in the absence of a sizeable reduction of our force in Iraq, coupled with no serious deterioration in the situation there.
But since Bush is not running again, he faces no serious temptation to draw down our forces prematurely.
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