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Monday, October 17, 2005

Bush's mind-boggling approval numbers

...according to the latest USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll

Among registered Republicans: 84%
Among registered Independents: 32%
Among registered Democrats: 8%
Overall: 39%

I'll resist the temptation to point out that these numbers are the lowest of Bush's presidency. (Oh wait, I just did point that out.)

What I want to point out instead is the tremendous (84% vs. 8%) gap in Bush's approval between Republicans and Democrats. This is an amazing, quantitative indicator of just how large the gap in perception is between Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, red states and blue states, etc. etc. etc. This is a stunning indication of the "Two Americas" principle - although even the book I linked to is written from one of the two perspectives.

What does this mean? I'd like to hear your thoughts. Hit the "Comments" button below this post and let me know what you think. But here's what this data indicates to me: convincing people on the "other side" is going to be a lot more difficult than we - or they - think it is. And we even have a case of that here in our own little corner of the blogosphere, with the sad case of Tim Therrien. I hope that Bush's approval rating and Tim's blog can teach us the same lesson - that if we have any hope at all of convincing our political opponents, it can only be through months or years of civil discourse. The prospect is scary, frustrating, and true.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to suggest a potentially less scary reading of the data. Because these are registered Republicans and Democrats all the approvial rating difference might be is a party loyalty test.

It could be that Republicans think Bush sucks too, they just don't want to drag "their guy" down and jepordize the "coat-tails" effect in the up-comming mid-terms.

But this is just speculation. I'm currently reading a methods book and just got done with the "linking the President (or any high power/prestige offfice/person) to any question changes the question" part of the book.


Monday, October 17, 2005 3:30:00 PM  
Blogger Jordan Raddick said...

Thanks, FHRM. This is definitely a less scary interpretation. I know a bit from reading about how tricky it is to design good survey questions, although I've never designed anything remotely validated.

So how can we remove this "loyalty test" effect from Bush's approval ratings? (Or can we?)

And it's encouraging to see that Independents, who don't have this loyalty test effect, approve of Bush at a level of 32%. Should this give us pesky Democrats some hope at midterm election time?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005 8:53:00 AM  

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