Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Bush Approval: Newsweek at 33%, Trend at 33.5%

A Newsweek poll taken 3/28-29/07 finds approval at 33%, disapproval at 60%. With this addition the approval trend estimate now stands at 33.5%.

The Newsweek poll, which often comes in with a below trend house effect, is very close to trend, so has little impact on the estimate. We've now seen several polls in the 33%-34% approval range, plus one at 37%.

The trend estimate has remained between 33% and 35% approval over the last 20 polls. While there appears to be a consistent but small negative slope in approval since the November elections, the rate of change is small enough that it has been hard to distinguish from stable approval. Individual polls, with a margin of error around 5 points about the trend estimate, cannot hope to reliably detect such a small rate of change. Even the trend estimate, with an uncertainty of about +/- 2 points is hard pressed to unequivocally call the current period a downward trend, though the bootstrap plot shows a small downtrend is a pretty good bet.

It is interesting that approval has not suffered a sharp downturn in the aftermath of the November elections and the Democratic takeover of Congress. Rather, it appears that public dissatisfaction with President Bush largely spent itself in the elections. Since then, the new opposition between Republican President and Democratic Congress appears to have stabilized opinion of Bush's handling of his job. As we saw in yesterday's presidential comments on funding for Iraq, the Democratic Congress provides a target for Presidential rhetoric which was lacking when Republicans controlled the Congress. The struggle over the emergency funding bill will provide an interesting lesson in the relative strengths of President and Congress.

The residuals remain well behaved, so no recent polls are currently "outliers".