Bush’s Poll Numbers Up
Proving once again that what goes down must come up, President Bush’s poll numbers have rebounded from the low point they reached in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Bush’s poll numbers up (CNN)
President Bush’s standing with the public improved over the previous week as he made a highly visible effort to manage the consequences of the second major hurricane to hit the Gulf Coast in a month, a new poll out Thursday found. Bush’s job approval rating in the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll climbed to 45 percent, and 71 percent said they approved of his handling of Hurricane Rita, which struck land Saturday near the Texas-Louisiana border. By comparison, only 40 percent said they approved of his handling of Hurricane Katrina, which hit near the Louisiana-Mississippi line August 29.
A similar poll released last week found only 40 percent approved of Bush’s job performance, and 41 percent approved of his handling of Katrina. An easing of public concern over gasoline prices also appeared to have contributed to the upward bump in Bush’s poll numbers.
Only 61 percent said higher gas prices caused them financial hardship, compared with 72 percent in a poll taken September 12-15. Another 38 percent said the prices had not caused them any hardship. Sixteen percent said the spike in prices at the pump had caused them severe hardship — down from 21 percent in the previous survey — and 45 percent called their suffering moderate.
But many consumers said they expect no relief from higher fuel prices in the next year: 51 percent said they believed gas prices would be either somewhat or much higher by this time in 2006, while just 23 percent expect the price to drop. Another 25 percent said they believe the price will remain about the same.
Bush has very little control over gasoline prices, of course, but we have been conditioned to associate all events in our lives with presidential authority.
An approval rating of 45 percent is still quite low but not surprising considering the uncertainty in Iraq, high gasoline prices, and worries about a housing bubble.