So much for that bounce

The combination of the good GDP growth number and the PR offensive about Iraq give GWB a little bump in the polls, and Right Blogistan rejoiced.

Gallup now has Bush back to where he was in mid-September, at his lowest approval (50) and highest disapproval (47) so far in his Presidency. [Everything else is consistent; his favorable/unfavorable, which (opposite to Clinton’s pattern) is always better than his job performance, is also near its lows, as are the “re-elect” numbers and the trial heats.]

The real question now, to which I don’t think anyone really knows the answer, is whether Bush is now down to his bedrock support, or whether he has further to fall.

The pattern so far has been clear: Bush’s popularity drifted down from election day to 9-11, leaped sky-high, then drifted down again until it got another, smaller bump from the war in Iraq, then drifted down again until September, got a little tiny bump from the economic news and “Operation Push-Back,” and now seems headed down again.

The simple, gleeful Democratic spin on this is that Bush’s popularity drifts down unless there’s a crisis, and without another war scheduled between now and Novemeber he’s in trouble. But insofar as he has just been giving back voters who were never really his to start with, that part should now be over.

Any further losses come out of his base. That would be bad news for him.

Correction I really like the story about the pattern told above, but it has one little defect. It’s wrong. I should have checked Professor Pollkatz’s index before writing; it shows no bounce at all, just a flattening of about a month in the downtrend. The mean spread between approval and disapproval is now at 5.1%; the pre-Iraq-war trough was 15%.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: