Friday, August 25, 2006

Bush Approval: Time at 38%

A new Time Magazine poll, taken 8/22-24/06 finds approval of President Bush at 38%, a three point rise since Time's last poll, done 8/9-10. The Time story (here) does not report the disapproval rate. With this latest poll, my approval trend stands at 37.4%. There has been a bit of settling of the rate, now mostly recovered from the CNN and Gallup high outliers at 42 (and the earlier AP low outlier at 33.) The trend remains quite flat with considerable spread, as is obvious in the figure above. Equally obvious is that my trend estimator is doing a pretty good job splitting the difference among a number of widely varying polls since June.

A small note is that Time has generally tracked my trend very closely. The three polls before this one were all about two points below trend. That isn't far in comparison to other polls, but was unusual for Time. With this poll, they return to within a point of the trend estimate. Time's "house effect" is only +0.3, making it the second closest to the overall trend of the 22 polls I track.

With Labor Day coming up soon, and the unofficial start of fall campaigns, it will be very interesting to see what happens to the approval trend. The last 2 or 3 months have been a remarkably stable period for approval. At times I estimated it trending up (at less than a point per month) and at other times trending down (again, but less than a point per month.) As of now, the retrospective estimate using all the polls of summer, argues pretty strongly that most of June and all of July and August (so far) has represented an unaccustomed calm. No previous period of the Bush presidency has seen so long a period of stable approval. It has almost always been either trending up, down, or just turning around. It is hard to imagine the fall campaigns will not leave an imprint. But what direction?

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