Democrats Not Gaining from Bush’s Low Poll Numbers
While the Iraq War and high gas prices have pushed President Bush’s poll numbers into the low 40s, the Democrats are not getting a boost in those polls.
Democrats fail to gain traction from Bush slip (Washington Times)
Democrats hoped they would be scoring political points in this year’s election cycle as a result of increasing terrorist violence in Iraq and skyrocketing gasoline prices that have combined to send President Bush’s job-approval ratings plunging into the low 40s. But things are not turning out as they hoped. The Democrats are beset by internal division over the lack of an agenda, carping from liberals who say party leaders are not aggressive enough in challenging Mr. Bush’s nomination of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to the Supreme Court, bitterness among abortion rights activists after criticism by Democratic leaders that forced them to pull a TV advertisement attacking Judge Roberts, and complaints from pollsters that they have no coherent message to take into the 2006 elections.
ndependent pollster John Zogby says that although Mr. Bush is not doing well in the polls, the Democrats aren’t doing any better. “The Democrats aren’t scoring points in terms of landing any significant punches on Bush or in terms of saying anything meaningful to the American people,” Mr. Zogby said.
In a slap at his party, Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg said earlier this month that his surveys show that “one of the biggest doubts about Democrats is that they don’t stand for anything.”
Greenberg is on the right track, I think. It’s not so much that the Democrats don’t stand for anything. It’s just that, like the anti-Clinton Republicans in the latter half of the 1990s, the perception is that they are knee-jerk critics of whatever the administration proposes and have no real alternative vision.
It wasn’t true of the Gingrich Republicans then and isn’t really true of the Dean-Reid-Pelosi Democrats today. But Americans respond poorly to attacks on their president which, for a variety of reasons, are often viewed as an attack on the country itself. So, even though most Americans now think the Iraq War is going badly–and even a mistake–the Democrats do not gain from running the war (or its leader) down as “failure.”