For the first time in Pew Research Center polling, disapproval of President Bush's job performance outnumbers approval by more than two-to-one (61% disapprove, 29% approve). Bush's job approval is down six points from April, and is three points below the previous low measured in November and December of 2006.This is the first credible poll I've seen where Bush has fallen into the twenties. I didn't think it would ever actually happen--his base is so loyal, and apparently a pretty stable third of the electorate, that I thought he'd avoid a Carter-like plunge late in his term.
So what gives? Immigration. His unshakeable base has finally been shaken, and now they're starting to fall away. Among Republicans, Bush is down 12% among self-identified conseratives and Republicans since April. Even more eyebrow-raising (and a good signal for Dems) is this:
White evangelical Protestants have been one of the groups consistently backing George W. Bush throughout his presidency. In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when the president's overall job approval spiked to 86% nationwide it was as high as 95% among white evangelicals. As recently as December 2004, more than three-quarters of white evangelicals gave the president a positive performance review. But the current survey finds just 44% of white evangelicals expressing approval of the president's job performance; roughly the same number (46%) say they disapprove.The poll also asked about current candidates, and I'm happy to report that Obama's rising among Dems--closing in on a dead heat with Hillary. Pew asks the question sort of oddly: "Is there a good chance, some chance, or no chance you would vote for [candidate]." Hillary is at 44%, Obama 40%.
More promisingly, Obama's crosstabs are looking up: he's in a dead heat among women (59%), is catching up among older voters and the poor (where Hillary had been killing him). He's now pulled ahead among black and religious voters. The trouble area is among less-educated voters, where he trails by 20 points. Still, these are improvements over his numbers a month ago.