On Sunday, in Bounce Or No Bounce, I wrote about post-Zarqawi polls, which seemed to conflict on whether the terrorist’s demise had benefited President Bush’s political standing. I noted that Scott Rasmussen’s generally-reliable poll showed no trace of a bounce. I wrote that I thought medium-term prospects in Iraq are good, and if more people become convinced over the next six months that the Iraq war has turned out to be a success, the President’s numbers should show improvement. I concluded:
I think the Rasmussen survey’s inability to find even the hint of a bounce reflects the fact that immigration is by far the dominant issue at the moment. President Bush, with his usual penchant for doing what he thinks is right regardless of political considerations, has put himself on the wrong side of that issue, politically. It’s too bad, since the Democrats are actually to his left, occupying ground that is acceptable to only a tiny minority of Americans. But it’s President Bush who has visibility on the issue, and he’s the one who has taken the hit. It appears that even the biggest of successes in the war on terror can’t compensate.
This morning, Scott Rasmussen, writing on Real Clear Politics, expressed a similar conclusion:
The more intriguing question is why there was no bounce for the President. One possibility is that there have been so many potential “turning points” in Iraq that the public has adopted a wait and see attitude. Rather than celebrating a turning point, Americans may be waiting for proof in the form of decreased violence and reduced U.S. military involvement in Iraq.
Another possibility, suggested by a wealth of polling data, is that Iraq and the War on Terror are no longer the dominant voting issues. For the first time since 9/11, we will have an election decided on issues closer to home. Immigration, the economy, and other domestic topics may ultimately decide the critical election contests this November.
All the more reason why the Republicans on the conference committee that will soon reconcile the House and Senate immigration bills need to get it right.
UPDATE: Tom Bevan catches ABC downsizing the President’s approval rating. Call me cynical, but I have a feeling that the MSM won’t be able to part with its beloved Bush-suffering-record-unprecedented-low-poll-numbers theme for the remainder of his administration, no matter what the data actually say.