Saturday, June 17, 2006

Bush approval rise continues: CNN 37%

President Bush's approval rating continues up in the latest CNN/ORC poll taken 6/14-15/06. The new poll has approval at 37% and disapproval at 53%, a one point rise in approval and a four point decline in disapproval.

Since Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) took on the CNN polling in April, approval has risen five percentage points in the CNN/ORC polls.

With the new data point my estimated approval trend (the blue line) stands at 36.3%. At the low point of all time Bush approval, polling completed on May 12, my estimate was 33.98%, so the increase since the President's immigration address has been 2.3% in just over 1 month. That is a healthy rate of increase. In the November 2005-January 2006 rally, Bush's estimated approval rose by 2.7% in the month between November 11 and December 11. For comparison, approval fell by 2.2% in the month preceding November 11, and by 1.8% in the month before May 15. Thus the White House is making up ground at a little better rate than they were losing it over the spring. Whether the rally can be sustained long term is, of course, the $64,000 question.

These recent changes have also demonstrated how uncertain any prediction of approval in November is. When I wrote about that here, I estimated a range of approval anywhere between 20.4% and 40.8%, a huge range. If the current rate of increase were sustained, the President would be around 47% approval by election day, and even wider range.

The history of approval of President Bush has shown few periods of sustained rallies. The period from early 2004 through election day was the single most prolonged gain since he took office. However, that runup amounted to only a total of 5 percentage points, from 46% early in the year to 51% just after the election. The current rate of rise is much steeper but sustaining it over four and a half months would be unprecedented in this administration.

So the uncertainty about November approval looks bigger than ever. There is still a long way for approval to climb before the President could again be considered "popular" (except among Republicans), but the trend is certainly far better for Republicans than what they faced before May 15.

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