Bush approval ratings in low 80's; "disapproves" rising.
January 17, 2002 10:56 AM   Subscribe

Bush approval ratings in low 80's; "disapproves" rising. Is the growing Enron debacle catching up with George W.? The president's job approval ratings, once above 90%, are now threatening to fall below 80%, while his disapproves are at their highest since 9/11.

By any measure, his numbers are still good--but they do seem to be heading south. Is this temporary? Or is it the anticipated post-attack "correction," as Franzen might say?
posted by busbyism (32 comments total)
franzen, sexier.

(hey, look. there i am. also: rosecrans and andrew have problems.)
posted by moz at 11:11 AM on January 17, 2002

Nobody in his right mind would expect the Bush numbers to stay as high as they have been...all it takes is a war, at least at the beginning. Look at what happened to Bush Sr.
posted by Postroad at 11:27 AM on January 17, 2002

High approval ratings are like a high stock price: if you slip at all the analysts will be forever comparing your current numbers with your peak. "Bush's approval ratings are down 25% since their high in September" = "Amazon's stock has lost nearly a quarter of its value since its 12-month high of 18". Even if Bush's numbers go down twenty and then back up ten, the press will still say "down ten from his peak" rather than "up ten in the last month". For a guy who has made a policy of setting expectations low and then looking good just by showing up, this could prove to be a problem.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 11:43 AM on January 17, 2002

Funny on Letterman; "That scrape on Bush's face is from when he fell while choking on a pretzel. I guess you can call it a rug-burn. Hmm.. Didn't Monica get those on her knees?"

Bush's ratings are artificial because of the September 11 attacks and the resulting response. I don't think he's going to fair well during the recession, or through the Enron/Anderson scandal. He's going to very vunerable to criticism by the time the next election comes around, and I don't think he has the ability to climb out of it.
posted by rich at 11:47 AM on January 17, 2002

ok, let's see:

economy: crap
airport security: still crap
found bin laden: nope
in deep with enron: yup
gas prices: going back up

why this man has any approval rating post-pretzel is beyond me.

if he was a tv show he woulda been yanked quicker than Emeril.
posted by tsarfan at 11:53 AM on January 17, 2002

I think just the fact that a span of his presidency can be referred to as "post-pretzel" says a lot in itself. I used to hate pretzels. Now? Not so much.
posted by eyeballkid at 12:08 PM on January 17, 2002

in deep with enron: yup
no, not really, the administration didn't bail them out, as far as we can see now. we already discussed this: financial scandal, yes, huge, but political scandal? i wouldn't hold my breath waiting for impeachment hearings on this
posted by matteo at 12:09 PM on January 17, 2002

He fell ass-backwards into high approval ratings from many people who (let's face it), confused support for our country with approval of the president. Watch for a correllation between the drop in his approval ratings and the decreasing number of flags on cars and trucks.
posted by Hildago at 12:18 PM on January 17, 2002

It's probably a sign that the rally around the flag syndrome is wearing off. The same thing happened to Bush Sr. after the first phase of the Gulf War was successful.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:23 PM on January 17, 2002

It's Official: Things Are Normal Again!
posted by Shadowkeeper at 12:28 PM on January 17, 2002

I wonder: who will be left to defend Bush's White House once the entire Enron "wave of scandals" is uncovered? Granted, we know very little of substance about the shady dealings.. YET. But considering the loss of jobs, the hit against J.P. Morgan and other banks, as well as other power companies' losses from ill-conceived loans [e.g., $97 M from Dominion VA Power], the footprint of this collapse is far greater than Whitewater or Lewinsky.

Many maintained throughout the last year that Bush would eventually do something so atrocious, even his voting constituency would cringe. I'm doubling down on this one.
posted by legibility at 12:30 PM on January 17, 2002

Higdon had a quotable quote on polls from:

"I've read what others have had to say about the "man" that occupies the White House, and I've been pondering Bush's 90 percent approval rating.

There is no question in my mind that this poll is the most misleading sack of excrement (other than the pResident's so-called administration) placed before the American people for public consumption."

I wish I could write like that! :-)
posted by nofundy at 12:57 PM on January 17, 2002

My take (for what it is worth, and it is worth precious little to my ex-wife): The Enron scandal will reveal (1) Enron gave substantially more to GOP, esp. Texas GOP and gave much less to cover their bets to the Dems. (2) the Dems will point out that all the de-regulation that GOP wanted and got was fought by th eDems and Enron debacle the result. (3) the Dems will push campaign finance reform, point to GOP as against it, and note how it fouled up the system by not having it. (4) Joe Lieberman will ltry to get lots of tv coverage on Enron investigations/hearings to position himself as candidate for nomination for presidency. But he will not get it. (5) Bush and party will dig in--thought they would prefer not to--to bail out those who lost pensions in order to show what good folks the GOP is. (6) Nader will begin another run for the presidency by announcing any number of times that the Corporation (Enron) mess is just what he had been saying throughout his campaigning. (7) even more voters will decide it is a waste of time to vote.
posted by Postroad at 1:15 PM on January 17, 2002

It's pretty easy to get Enron burnout as more and more info gets discovered. Even so (and I know this is business as usual) the info that Enron didn't pay taxes 4 out of the last 5 years (even getting 382 million in refunds!) and that they had over 800 offshore subsidaries strikes me as a unbelievable. Also, Lawerence Lindsey, Bush's chief economic adviser and head of the National Economic Council, was a paid consultant of Enron.

So what? You say. Same old story. Yes, my question is, how many more Enron's would it take to get your average joe ready to revolt?
posted by jeremias at 1:21 PM on January 17, 2002

The only thing I worry about, and it's a madman's worry, but hey, we're dealing with bush here, is:

After seeing his approval spike during the 9/11 tragedy, he will engineer another similar tragedy towards the end of his first term in order to stay in office.

As I say, a madman's worry, but hey, it's Bush.
posted by swerdloff at 2:02 PM on January 17, 2002

It's also interesting that the number of "don't know"/"not familiar" has dropped sharply as well; people are apparently paying more attention, learning more, or just getting more opinionated.

not really, the administration didn't bail them out, as far as we can see

That's just one dimension of it. How did they ask for a bailout, while their books looked good, without anyone in the administration getting suspicious? Any inappropriate energy policy influence? What's with the executive orders to block document releases, and lying about who Lay sponsored? It's more complicated than the usual cash-for-favors deal.
posted by skyline at 2:34 PM on January 17, 2002

I read somewhere (can't remember where, or else I'd link it...) that "rally-round-the-flag syndrome" typically lasts for about 100 days. Hmm, aren't right around that milemarker now?
posted by spilon at 3:06 PM on January 17, 2002

As always, the problem is in the (perception of a) cover-up (ask the Clintons). The Bush team has done nothing but downplay, change the subject, avoid questions, and tell half-truths since the investigation started. That will become problematic for Bush very soon.

And while we're making predictions, here's mine:

- The economy, the environment, Enron, etc. (The 4 E's!)continue to drag Bush's approval ratings down over the next three years. He refuses to repeal his tax cuts or institute any new taxes (for fear of violating his "no taxes!" pledge and re-living his father's administration).

- As a result, Bush is narrowly defeated in the 2004 election by the Democratic nominee, Senator John Kerrey.

- Hillary, now in year four of her Senate term, is appointed by Kerrey to the Cabinet as Secretary of Health and Human Services. She narrowly wins approval from the still-Democratically controlled Senate.

- While Secretary, Hillary lays the groundwork for a national health-care system, effective in 2008.

- After four years in the Cabinet (and her previous four years in the Senate, and her previous eight years in the White House), Hillary declares that America is ready for a female President and announces her own candidacy for the 2008 election.

- Hillary wins the Democratic primary in a close race and faces Republican nominee Jeb Bush, who wins in an election even more narrow than the 2000 election, thus restoring Republicans to power after an 8-year absence.
posted by conquistador at 3:33 PM on January 17, 2002

I'd add in the middle:

- The new Democrat president, forced to raise taxes as a result of Bush's spending, gets labeled as a Tax'n'Spend liberal.
posted by skyline at 3:42 PM on January 17, 2002

... and then, in 2029, the computers will send a robot back in time to 1984, in an attempt to assassinate the mother of freedom fighter (and humanity's last hope) John Connor.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 3:46 PM on January 17, 2002

... but before that happens, "THEY" will finally get to Chris Carter, and force him to cancel the X-Files.

The truth is out there, though not quite as out there as this thread is getting ...
posted by MidasMulligan at 4:21 PM on January 17, 2002

" ... I read somewhere (can't remember where, or else I'd link it...) that "rally-round-the-flag syndrome" typically lasts for about 100 days. Hmm, aren't right around that milemarker now? ..."

Most have probably seen it, but this week's lead story in The Onion is about exactly that theme.
posted by MidasMulligan at 4:25 PM on January 17, 2002

How W's numbers will fare with the Enron scandal (and it really should be considered a scandal) is anyone's guess. On the one hand, yes, W has had much more involvement with Enron management that even the hounds of media are sounding. Some of these are best described here. And this might only be the beginning, as the greater energy power-mongers may soon find themselves in the media spotlight. On the other hand, never put money on a political struggle like this, as you never know what the powers-that-be might pull out of their hat. W's numbers go down? Hmm, time for another conflict chock full of heroes and media diversions. Or maybe a small pox breakout somewhere, and it's W to save the day with the $500 million advance to a small firm for a vaccine (in spite of the fact that the company, under a prior name, may have been involved in a scandal to provide a virus vaccine a few years back). Sorry, folks, just had to throw that in. If for no other reason, maybe so you can say you heard it here first. So anything's a go these days. All we can do is educate ourselves and forever be vigilent (and skeptical).
posted by TD at 6:18 PM on January 17, 2002

His rating shows the fallacy of opinion polls.
Sure I think he's doing a good job with the war, but then I realize there's Enron, public schools, the environment, campaign finance, his ultra-conservative cabinet and departmental appointments....
posted by themikeb at 7:09 PM on January 17, 2002

I find the republican talking point "it's business/financial scandal not a political scandal" to be pretty hilarious. Enron is in very deep with the republicans in the whole mess of lobbying and campaign financing. And in return for millions of dollars Enron gets to have their choices appointed as regulators, and write energy policy. Of course it is probably all legal but it looks so corrupt that it just may give campaing finance reform a chance and demonstrate why regulation/government oversite is a good thing. And if this becomes a campaign issue the republicans won't look good and the democrats won't look much better next to independents like Nader and McCain(whoops).

I really wish Holgate was here.
posted by chrismc at 7:55 PM on January 17, 2002

Yeah, what ever happened to Holgate? Sometime around November 29th, he just disappeared. Pity, too...
posted by hincandenza at 11:19 PM on January 17, 2002

W has already covered his back: This is an 'ongoing war' against terrorrism - anytime he wants he can scale it up and relegate Enron, the economy or whatever to the inside pages.
posted by niceness at 3:06 AM on January 18, 2002

If this is not a case of bought and sold politicians, if this is not a case for campaign finance reform, if this is not a case of money buying access to legislation and policy...yet, the scariest part is that the vast majority of Americans don't care, don't vote or don't understand (and don't want to). MeFi provides a forum for people who are actively engaged in thinking about politics, life, etc. Remember, this is not the real world. Nothing's gonna change until we get more people into the conversation. And how do we do that???
posted by willrich at 4:07 AM on January 18, 2002

I suggest we can do it best by leaving our political prejudices behind us and engaging in thoughtful debate on the facts, so as to generate more light and less heat. Otherwise, we're just contibuting to the same-old, same-old partisan bickering that makes people tune out in the first place (and which keeps them tuned out, and understandably so).

(Please note: This isn't a slam against anyone in particular, just my response to willrich's question.)

I'm just saying...
posted by verdezza at 1:04 PM on January 18, 2002

If anyone was in doubt as to the FOX network's political leanings, this story refers to Bush's 80% approval rating as "soaring". Isn't that supposed to be a term for something that's going up?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:36 PM on January 19, 2002


Metafilter Maroons Attack Bush Poll Standings?

Desperately looking for ammo.... What a joke. Have at it, FReepers - they need "help" with the truth. Cheers, CC :)

1 posted on 1/18/02 2:55 PM Pacific by CheneyChick
posted by y2karl at 3:28 PM on January 29, 2002

Considering 'All posts are © their original authors' as below, isn't it a little, well, illegal, to mirror the whole page, without permission?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:50 PM on January 29, 2002

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