The Baltimore Sun reported about an Associated Press-Ipsos Poll about Bush’s job approval rating has risen from 37% in November to 42%.
Before anyone starts panicking lets not forget that 57% still disapprove of the overall job Bush is doing overall, still higher than in most other polls through this year and throughout his first term. The Baltimore Sun also reports that “Those disapproving totaled 55 percent on the economy, 58 percent on Iraq, both down slightly from November.
The rise in Bush’s popularity appears to be the result of an increase in his numbers in the West and Northeast. It’s true that over the last month Bush’s approval rating in the West has climbed from 34% to 42% and in the Northeast it has climbed from 27% to 41%.
But let’s not forget what the final 2004 vote totals were:
West: Kerry won 49.8% to 48.7%.
Northeast: Kerry won 55.7% to 42.9%.
In the West Bush still has an approval rating 7.7% lower than his 2004 vote total. In the Northeast his approval rating is still 2% under his 2004 vote total. Not even the full amount of those who voted for him in each region are supporting him.
As for those who might be concerned that Bush’s approval is above 40% keep this in mind: Over the last six decades, candidates from both major parties have recieved 40% or more of the popular vote even when they lost in a landslide. There are three exceptions: Bush Sr. got 39% in 1992-but would’ve gotten at least 40% if not for Perot (though he still would’ve probably lost the 1992 election).
Goldwater in 1964 and McGovern in 1972 also got under 40%. Other than that, if you won your party’s nomination-you got 40% of the vote. Stevenson in 1952 and 1956, Carter in 1980, Mondale in 1984, Dole in 1996. All were defeated soundly (if not in a huge landslide). But they still got that 40%. For those with a clear memory of Reagan’s 1984 shellacking of Mondale, remember Mondale got 41% of the vote. Bush has an approval rating that is only 1% higher than Mondale’s vote total. Hardly the numbers of a “popular” leader.