Saturday, August 12, 2006

Bush Approval: Newsweek at 38% post air plot

Newsweek has the first poll to be conducted after the plot to blow up airplanes from Britain to the US was foiled. The Newsweek poll was conducted 8/10-11/06 and finds approval at 38%, disapproval at 55%. With these data included, the estimated approval trend (the dark blue line) stands at 37.5%. (That includes the AP outlier at 33.)

The addition of the Newsweek data point helps stabilize the trend estimate and reduce the leverage the AP poll at 33% was having on the trend estimate. I still don't know which way the trend will go, but it is now back to almost flat from being slightly down. This is unstable so we need more polls to clarify what's happening. Thanks, Newsweek, for providing that.

Newsweek notes that approval of President Bush's handling of terrorism showed a jump to 55% from 44% in their May poll. That May poll, it should be noted, was taken 5/11-12, the exact bottom of Bush approval in 2006, and Newsweek has not conducted a poll in the 3 months between that and this new one. Like many poorly analyzed stories, the Newsweek article gives credit for all the change between May and August to events which have just occurred, rather than recognize the long term change that took place during this three month period.

I recently added approval of Bush's handling of terrorism to the "Basic Trends" feature here. Based on those data, my estimate of approval of handling terrorism was 46.4% on May 12 when Newsweek's reading was 44%, a reasonable fit. My current (pre-plot) estimate was 48.3%, a modest upturn. It seems likely that the increased salience of terrorism will boost the President's standing on this issue, at least in the short term. Newsweek's reading of 55% would be quite an increase from the 48.3% estimate prior to 8/10. With the Newsweek poll added, the estimate increases to 50.2, though more polls will be needed for that to become a stable estimate. For now, we don't know where the level of approval will stabilize.

I'll update the Terrorism trend in the Basic Trends secion with these new data.

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