Tuesday, May 09, 2006

CBS/NYT have Bush approval at 31%

The new CBS/NYT poll (appearing in tomorrow's papers) has approval of President Bush at 31% and disapproval at 63%. The 31% approval matches yesterday's Gallup/USAToday approval result. This represents an 11 percentage point decline since late January. In a CBS poll taken 4/28-30, just over a week earlier, approval stood at 33%. With this addition to the data, my model of approval trend estimates current approval to be 32.96% (the blue line in the figure above).

In approval by party identification, the new CBS/NYT finds 69% of Republican's approve, while 28% of Independents and 8% of Democrats do. That is quite close to Gallup's most recent approval by party id, 68/26/4%. I said here yesterday that I was surprised by the 13 percentage point drop in Gallup's Republican approval rate, and that I'd expect to see it rise a bit in the next poll. The CBS/NYT approval by party id has tended to produce somewhat lower approval rates among Republicans than has Gallup. So to find these in near agreement is a bit of a puzzle. The house effects usually put CBS/NYT 2.7% below Gallup, so for them to match overall approval is slightly unusual. I'd guess we will still see a bit of a rebound among Gallup Republicans and perhaps Gallup overall. However, the downturn in approval is at least continuing and perhaps slightly accelerating. So those Gallup Republican approval rates may well slip into the lower 70% range in the next week or two. (Or stay in the 60s as now, in which case I'm wrong and the White House is in for still worse times.)

The CBS/NYT data are full of bad news. On specific components of job approval, the president does even worse than his overall job rating: foreign affairs: 27%, economy: 28%, Iraq: 29%, gas prices: 13%, immigration: 26%, terrorism: 46%. Only the old standby of terrorism remains above 40, and even there dissapproval tops it, 46-48%. The gas price approval at 13% is quite astonishing. While reporters (including the NYT account of this poll) attributes the President's approval problems to Iraq, I find it hard to say which is the "cause": Iraq at 29, economy at 28, immigration at 26? It probably is true that the steady bad news from Iraq for over 3 years has been the leading anchor tied to the president's ratings, but at this point the public is about equally negative across the board. Indeed, one would have to ask "why as high as 31%" when the economy and Iraq are lower.

We haven't heard from ABC/WP or Pew lately. Likewise it has been a while for Time, Newsweek and the new LATimes/Bloomberg partnership. Now would be a good time to see if Gallup and CBS/NYT are harbingers of things to come, and what other polls are seeing in support among Republicans. Approval by party id is the crosstab to look for. By it hangs the tale.

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