Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Bush Approval: Gallup at 44%

The latest Gallup poll finds approval of President Bush reaching 44%, the first time Gallup has been that high in the year since 9/26-28/05. The poll taken 9/15-17/06 also finds disapproval at 51%, also the lowest since September of 2005. With this poll included, my trend estimate rises to 41.1%. As the latest and also highest poll this Gallup exerts considerable influence on the trend estimate, which stood at 40.0% prior to adding the Gallup data. That's a lot of influence for one poll, and it is likely that the trend estimate will adjust down when more polling arrives. Gallup is at the upper end of the normal range of variation around my trend estimate-- not enough to be an "outlier" but certainly at the high end of variability. That strongly suggests that new polls are likely to be closer to 41% than to Gallup's 44%. The result will be some reduction in the trend estimate. At least that's the smart bet.

But what is very clear is that the trend in approval continues to move strongly up. This begs the question of how long the trend can last. Previous upturns in November 2005 and May 2006 ran their course in about a month, with a subsequent plateau. The November-December 2005 rise was followed by rough stability through January 2006, while the May-June 2006 increase was followed by a steady 37% plateau through most of the summer. By that standard, it is easy to imagine that the current improvement in approval could easily last through election day.

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