(guest blog by Taylor Marsh)
Intense and widespread opposition to President Bush is likely to be a sharp spur driving voters to the polls in this fall’s midterm elections, according to strategists in both parties, a phenomenon that could give Democrats a turnout advantage over Republicans for the first time in recent years.
Polls have reflected voter discontent with Bush for many months, but as the election nears, operatives are paying special attention to one subset of the numbers. It is the wide disparity between the number of people who are passionate in their dislike of Bush vs. those who support him with equal fervor.
Lately, there have been a lot more of the former — and even Republicans acknowledge that could spell trouble in closely contested congressional races.
"Angry voters turn out and vote their anger," said Glen Bolger, a pollster for several Republican congressional candidates. "Democrats will have an easier time of getting out their vote because of their intense disapproval of the president. That means we Republicans are going to have to bring our ‘A’ turnout game in November."
The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll showed 47 percent of voters "strongly" disapprove of Bush’s job performance, vs. 20 percent who said they "strongly approve."
The operative word is "may." But with only 20% strongly approving of Bush’s presidency, it looks pretty good for 2006. President Bush’s incompetence in Iraq, on Katrina, the Dubai port deal and everything national security, have driven his poll numbers down with ferocity. But it has also made his own Republican Party go soft on support.
Via Georgia 10, we get Gallup’s take.
Public approval of the job Congress is doing has dipped to its lowest level of 2006, and is now the worst Gallup has recorded since the closing days of the Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994.
According to an April 10-13, 2006, Gallup Poll, 23% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, while 70% disapprove. The current approval score is slightly below the 25%-27% range seen since January.
The current 23% approval rating for Congress is a near-record low for the institution. Gallup’s trend for this question, which started in 1974, shows lower approval scores on only three other occasions: October 1994 (21%), March 1992 (18%), and June 1979 (19%).
The GOP has killed 89% of the Democrats bills this year. In other words, they’re not interested in getting things done, just in sticking it to their opponents politically.
That’s exactly what happened when Frist and the Republicans tried to blame the recent immigration bill collapse on Harry Reid and the Democrats. I guess Frist has forgotten that Republicans hold the White House, the Senate and the House, with quite a few votes on the Supreme Court to boot.
Bush’s "do-nothing Congress" is about to set a record last held when Harry Truman was running for the presidency in 1948. So, what did they do? They went on a two-week Easter vacation.
Bush and the Republicans aren’t even trying to get things done. They’ve earned the low approval they are currently seeing.
The question is, will the American public’s anger at Bush and the "do nothing" Congress be enough in 2006 to get Democrats and Independents out to vote? How mad are you at Bush? A lot in 2006 is riding on the answer to those questions.