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January 18, 2004

Dubya- Higher Disapprove than Dad/Carter 80

In the new CBS News/NY Times poll, the remarkable number is how high Bush's disapproval numbers are given historical standards:

I've never taken approval numbers that seriously as a guide to reelection-- my rule of thumb is follow "approval on handling the economy" as both more relevant to reelection decisions and a more specific question that gets voters to think about more than the rah-rah patriotism that often distorts general approval numbers.

But DISAPPROVAL is actually a pretty good negative indicator-- a lot of time approval ratings go up and down as swing voters move from apathetic "don't know" to approval, but active disapproval shows a hard core of voters likely unavailable to an incumbent President.

And remarkablely Bush has generated a larger core of disapproval than either his Dad or Carter in 1980 at this points in their terms.

Folks sometimes wonder why I remain so hopeful on Bush's defeat-- maybe these numbers will expand the optimistic posse.

Posted by Nathan at January 18, 2004 07:50 AM