Friday, May 12, 2006

Poll numbers for Bush & the rest of us: It was the best of times, and the worst of times

Some good news-bad news being released in the polls hitting the news this morning.

First, the good news. Our not-so-beloved president has just broken the big three-oh mark on his approval rating. Wahoo! The Wall Street Journal reports:

President Bush’s job-approval rating has fallen to its lowest mark of his presidency, according to a new Harris Interactive poll. Of 1,003 U.S. adults surveyed in a telephone poll, 29% think Mr. Bush is doing an “excellent or pretty good” job as president, down from 35% in April and significantly lower than 43% in January. Approval ratings for Congress overall also sank, and now stand at 18%.
Over at AMERICAblog, they’re popping champagne corks, but I’m not ready to do that yet, particularly when you take a look at this next poll. The Washington Post reports:

A majority of Americans initially support a controversial National Security Agency program to collect information on telephone calls made in the United States in an effort to identify and investigate potential terrorist threats, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The new survey found that 63 percent of Americans said they found the NSA program to be an acceptable way to investigate terrorism, including 44 percent who strongly endorsed the effort. Another 35 percent said the program was unacceptable, which included 24 percent who strongly objected to it.

When taken in conjunction with Bush’s 29 percent approval rating, this poll leaves me feeling somewhat baffled. How can Americans not see what’s going on? Of course, the Post points out that the poll may be inaccurate and has a large sampling error. This also seems to be a pretty small sample for judging the national mood.

A total of 502 randomly selected adults were interviewed Thursday night for this survey. Margin of sampling error is five percentage points for the overall results. The practical difficulties of doing a survey in a single night represents another potential source of error.
I guess we’ll have to just wait and see what happens, and more importantly, keep talking, explaining and uncovering the truth about what's happening. The real test will be what happens in the next few weeks, and in November, of course.

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