Though they have no bearing on the November elections, some new polls from Gallup reveal not-so-encouraging news for Democrats: on issues that will likely decide this election, President Bush’s approval rating has increased; the GOP is seen as stronger when it comes to security and foreign policy issues; and Bush beats all Democratic contenders head-to-head.
Bush on the Issues
The Nine-now-minus-Moseley-Braun have repeatedly lambasted President Bush over his “mangling” of the economy, his “rush to war” with Iraq, and his foreign policy that is a “miserable failure.”
So how do George Bush’s approval ratings look on these issues which will be front-and-center in the minds of voters in this election year?
Economy: As the economy has picked up so has Bush’s approval rating on the subject, and the Left’s shrillness over it has been tempered.
- December 2003: 48%
- January 2004: 54%
Iraq: The angry anti-war, anti-Bush crowd repeatedly cries that Bush is a warmonger with imperialistic goals of taking over Iraq and, more importantly, their oil. They are sure that if they are loud enough and vitriolic enough the American people will eventually view Bush the same way they do. It looks like their efforts are, at best, ineffective, at worst, backfiring.
- December 2003: 50%
- January 2004: 61%
Foreign Affairs: Dick Gephardt has said innumerable times that President Bush’s “foreign policy is a miserable failure.” Apparently, Dick, the American people disagree with you.
- December 2003: 53%
- January 2004: 58%
GOP on the Issues
Not only have Bush’s numbers improved on issues that will likely decide the 2004 election, namely issues of security and foreign policy, but so have the Republican Party’s.
In a report released by Gallup today titled “Republican Party Favored on Security Issues, Foreign Policy,” the GOP is revealed to have a decided advantage over the Democrats on Terrorism, Iraq, World Affairs, and Gun Policy.
GOP advantage over Democrats (percentage points):
- Terrorism: +30
- Iraq: +16
- World Affairs: +11
- Gun Policy: +9
Bush’s Head-to-Head Competition
Though it is no prediction of the November election, a poll released on Tuesday shows that President Bush leads all major Democratic candidates by 12 to 15 points among likely voters.
- Bush 56% — Dean 41%
- Bush 56% — Clark 42%
- Bush 55% — Gephardt 42%
- Bush 55% — Kerry 43%
On these numbers Gallup offers some interesting insights:
- Bush is in a good position at this time. With the capture of Saddam Hussein, and improvements in the economy, his job approval rating — currently at 59% — and his electoral strength against possible Democratic candidates have improved.
- Although the results presented here are for “likely” voters, the poll shows little difference between the preferences of likely voters (representing about half the adult population) and the preferences of the larger population of “registered” voters.
- Bush’s advantage over Dean among registered voters has been as low as 3 percentage points (last September), and as high as 23 points (in mid-December).
- Shortly after Clark announced his candidacy, he enjoyed a 3-point margin among registered voters over Bush (in a Sept. 19-21 poll), but in mid-December, Bush’s advantage was 16 points.
- While some political observers, as well as Democratic candidates, have suggested that Dean is less electable than other Democrats, the poll provides no corroborating evidence. At this point of the campaign, each of the major candidates appears about as strong as the other.