Some Context on Those Poll Numbers

How many times have we seen headlines like this one, from UPI this morning: “Iraq war drags Bush to record poll low.” So many “record lows” have been announced in President Bush’s poll numbers that the casual headline-watcher could be excused for thinking that no President in history has ever been so reviled.

As we noted here, however, Bush’s poll numbers are typical for just about any president at his low ebb. Bush, according to UPI, is currently at 33 percent. Here are the low water marks for presidents from Lyndon Johnson through Bill Clinton:

*Johnson: 35%
*Nixon: 24%
*Ford: 37%
*Carter: 28%
*Reagan: 35%
*Bush I: 29%
*Clinton: 37%

Contrary to what you might surmise from screaming newspaper headlines, every president from Johnson to the present has gone through a period when his poll numbers were around where Bush’s are now; in several instances, lower. So maybe it’s time to ease off on the poll hysteria and get back to talking about the substantive pros and cons of the president’s policies.


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