Blue Nation

Chris Bowers, long irritated by the Red-Blue maps that came out after the 2000 and 2004 elections that “over-emphasized large, thinly populated expanses of land” is pleased to turn the tables with these county-by-county and state-by-state maps based on President Bush’s popularity levels.

2006 County-by-County

2006 State-by-State

“It is a blue nation. I’d love to see these map on television and in newspapers for a little.”

Well, the polls that make them up have been on television. Repeatedly.

The reason these maps aren’t getting prominent display is that they are an artifact of presidential elections and–This just in!–the fact that this is not a presidential election year. Indeed, George W. Bush is constitutionally ineligible to run again.

Furthermore, the 2000 and 2004 maps show the result of a competition. The president currently has horribly low poll numbers for a variety of reasons. Perhaps chief among them, though, is that even his fellow conservatives are exasperated with him for a variety of reasons. But if, rather than asking whether Bush is doing a good job as president they asked whether Hillary Clinton should replace him as president, there would be a whole lot more red on those maps!

It’s true that in generic polls, people prefer a Democrat to a Republican for 2008.

Newsweek Generic Presidential Poll

That’s not surprising. Bush, a Republican, is unpopular at the moment. But–This just in!–we do not have elections between generic candidates (Well…) but rather between specific candidates. That actually matters.

Poll Results Marist Presidential

Note: I compiled the charts by cutting-and-pasting the latest poll for all comparisons. Marist’s survey had the most combinations, by far, but their results were consistent with Newsweek, Cook, and Fox-Opinion Dynamics comparisons for the main candidates compared across polls, notably McCain-Clinton. All data found here.

Indeed, Bowers notes that “In eight states, his net disapproval is lower than anything Nixon ever achieved nationally.” I would note, however, that Gerald Ford, tainted with having pardoned Nixon and an accidental candidate who never would have gotten a party nomination on his own, barely lost in 1976.

The bottom line is that Bush’s poll numbers in May 2006 tell us almost nothing about the two candidates who will run in 2008. Time will tell whether they even have substantial impact on the congressional races this November.

FILED UNDER: 2008 Election, Best of OTB, Congress, US Constitution, , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. floyd says:

    bush’s lack of popularity doesn’t equal popularity for the left, it just makes decent americans without a choice, angrier.