Rumors of Bush's Demise

Polls at this point in the election are a little bit like that 14-day forecast during the weather report—interesting, but very limited in predictive value. That said, it looks like the Dems’ jubilation over Bush’s approval rating diving near or below the half-century mark (interpreted by those on the left as a sign that the country was becoming as fed up as they are with Bush’s wicked ways) was a bit premature.

According to this CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, Bush’s approval rating has climbed back up to a respectable 56 percent. Not too shabby, and about what one would expect from an incumbent president with strong support from his own party and an impending on again/off again economic recovery.

Perhaps more interesting, though similarly limited for prognostication purposes, are the numbers for the Democratic candidates.

Clark has to be pleased to be on top, but his 18 percent preference rating may be a bit inflated. Clark has managed to steal some of Dean's "outsider" appeal, but may suffer over the long haul as Democrats realize that he's not that liberal, he doesn't have clearly defined policies, and just isn't that exciting. (Okay, I'm conjecturing here, but it feels right.) Dean is discovering that there isn't room enough for two outsider candidates, and has sunk to Lieberman levels. Better than Edwards, though, who's the third wheel of the outsider candidates at this point. Kucinich, of course, is right off the map, both politically and figuratively, and looks like he'll be the next to drop out. When he can't match Carol Moseley Braun or Al Sharpton in popularity, there's not much the candidate can say for himself.

So what about that weather forecast? From here it looks partly cloudy with a chance of precipitation. Which is to say, anything can happen. Is Bush beatable? Sure, but it depends on many variables, some of which we don't even know yet. One of the biggest, though, is whether the Democrats can get behind a single candidate capable of winning the election. Because I really don't mind raining on their parade (or torturing a tired metaphor, apparently), I'll just say that it appears the Democratic candidate will have to win the election; Bush doesn't appear magnanimous enough to lose it for them.

Posted by Greg at October 14, 2003 12:44 AM | TrackBack (1)