Even liberal pundits have been recently amazed at how low the President’s approval rating has gotten. One report had it as low as 29%.
The very worst approval rating for Richard Nixon, they note, was 26%. And that was right before he resigned.
But in fact the Bush approval rating can go much, much lower. And it likely will.
Why? One word — hopelessness.
When Nixon hit 26%, there was a Democratic Congress. There was "light at the end of the tunnel," a feeling that the Nixon era would soon end.
Such is not the case now. With a Republican majority in Congress, and Republicans dominating the courthouses, with Republicans purging even the CIA of dissent, there is a mix of hopelessness and (yes) fear in the American public today the likes of which we have seldom seen.
It’s tinfoil hat time.
In that kind of environment, the only way many people have of
expressing their fears is to say "no" to the President, even if their
natural political inclination is to say yes.
I seem to remember that, at one point, Boris Yeltsin had something like a 5% approval rating.
It can go that low.
This also means we need to re-adjust our outlook for the coming Congressional elections. Democrats are acting like Charlie Brown before the football. They are sure that thing is going to be pulled away by something — an attack on Iran, a success in Iraq, a coup, electronic voting machines, something. And many are afraid of even considering the idea they might win, or the responsibilities that might bring them.
Past watershed elections have seen swings of 50 House seats, and up to 10 Senate seats. On numbers that were better for the incumbents than those we are now seeing.
And there is also something you must understand about gerrymandering. The math works this way. If the voters are 50-50, you give your own guys 60% wins and their guys 80% wins to "guarantee" you retain a majority. But if the swing is 11% or more, you could be wiped out.
Republicans could be wiped out this fall. Absolutely wiped-out. And they know it. Democrats don’t even want to think it. Republicans may be left with the "Goldwater Base" — Arizona and the five deep South states of Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas.
Could be even worse than that.