The Corner

Presidential Poll Numbers

As I noted in the wake of passage of the prescription drug bill, presidential

approval numbers, when reported, are typically not broken down by

Republican/Democrat or Conservative/Liberal (or perhaps they are and this

number is not reported). Therefore, when the President’s job performance

falls (as I predicted it would), it is implied that this is a rejection of the

President’s more conservative policies (such as the war) when in fact it may

represent at the margin increasing disatisfaction among

conservatives and libertarian voters with his big-spending, no-veto domestic

policy. I saw a glimmer of this this morning in one poll reporting that more

voters trust Kerry to control government spending than they do Bush. This

seems clearly to reflect disapproval of the President by conservative and

libertarian Republicans and independents from his right. The question is:

what can he possibly do about it now?

The irony here is that Bush’s retreat from a conservative-libertarian stance

on the domestic front now threatens his more aggressive (but under-defended)

persecution of the war initiated against the US by radical Islamic

fundamentalists and their state supporters. If Bush had governed more like

Reagan (who I admit had his own domestic governance problems) and less like

the triangulating Clinton, it might be morning in America.

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