As long as Bush remains unpopular, there are no more safe Republican House seats. That’s the message I want to get across. But first:
It’s been a long time since I made a map of Bush’s approval ratings. But Bush has been holding steady at record low approval ratings for the past four months – I just had to see that lovely sea of blue spread across the country. The problem is, Survey USA is now doing 16-state surveys instead of 50-state surveys. So, averaging all the polls I could find over four months, and throwing in a few estimates, here you go, everybody:
Why the heck should we care about Bush’s approval ratings anymore? Because they could guarantee our majorities in the House and Senate. An explanation below.
What a soothing picture. Deep calming blue in the Northeast, with just a spot of green from our friends in Rhode Island, leading the way with approval of Bush in the teens. The solid south – solidly disapproving of Bush, that is. And of course that persistent pink stain in the mountains.
But what does this mean? Well, one thing we know is that approval of Bush’s handling of the Iraq war is generally a few points below his general approval rating. So looking at this map, we should be seeing every single Senator voting against Bush’s war plans. But we’re not: now that might be good for electing Democrats in 2008 and 2010, but it’s not good for the soldiers and their families or our national security. So, Senators, act in your own self interest and oppose Bush.
The approval ratings for 28 states came from averages of polls that were conducted from January to April 2007 available at SurveyUSA and Pollster.com. Also, I found two polls for Utah (see below). For the remaining states, approval ratings were calculated from a regression of Survey USA polling averages from January to April versus those from June to October for 16 states. For an example, see this diary.
Our friends in Utah
What with Mayor Rocky Anderson of Salt Lake City calling for impeachment, and the alternative commencement at BYU protesting Dick Cheney, why is Utah still so stubbornly pink? One poll puts approval of Bush at 61% in January and another at 56%. Otherwise, the estimate would be 52%; the map shows a compromise between the two. But the true approval may well have diminished since January. Another poll shows support for Bush’s handling of the war among Utah’s Mormons tumbled in the five months prior to January, from 65% to 44%, possibly due to negative comments about war in general (from the LDS leader Gordon Hinckley) and the Iraq war in particular (from prominent Mormon politicians). Support for Bush’s handling of the war among all Utahns was 41%. Again, Iraq war job approval is generally only a few points below overall job approval for Bush. Once people decide they disapprove of the war, they may decide they don’t approve of the Decider either. Don’t give up on Utah yet!
So what? Bush is a fried duck anyways.
A lot of people have posed this question, in my diaries and elsewhere. My stock reply was that Bush’s low approval ratings represented an opportunity for Democrats, but was no guarantee of electoral success. This turned out to be true. Now I have some more detailed answers, from looking at data from the 2006 House elections. I served the pretty map for dessert first: now here’s the meal.