Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bush Approval: Still around 33%

President Bush's approval rating remains about where it has been for several months: 33% plus or minus a fraction. The current trend estimate is 33.2%, including December polling from LATimes/Bloomberg, AP/Ipsos, CBS/NYT, ABC/WP and USAToday/Gallup, the last from 12/6-9/07, finding 37% approve and 58% disapprove.

This now represents one of the longest periods of stable approval for Bush. His presidency has been characterized by a long decline from the post 9/11 highs, interrupted by generally short rallies and spikes due to the start of the Iraq war and the capture of Saddam Hussein. The most important exception has been the long rise in approval starting in March 2004 and continuing through the election in November of that year. The second term has been marked more by long term decline, but with rallies up in late 2005 and the late spring and summer of 2006. Rarely has support simply held stable, neither rising nor falling.

The only period of nearly comparable length was the winter and early spring of 2007, when approval held at a steady 34% for nearly 4 months.

The current plateau at around 33% has now lasted slightly longer, starting a rise in late July and stabilizing around 33% by September. Since that time, trend estimates have varied within less than a percentage point of 33%.

The current polling shows considerable variation, from a low of 28% in CBS/NYT to a high of 37% in the latest Gallup poll (both taken within a week of each other.) The CBS/NYT just barely crosses over into outlier territory in the residuals plot below. Even with these two extremes removed, the remaining polls also balance around 33%.

The final plot below shows that the sensitive "red" estimator is in agreement with the more conservative "blue" standard trend estimate. Neither see much change in recent polls.

If you want dynamic exciting polling, better turn to the primary races.