June 21, 2007 – In 19 months, George W. Bush will leave the White House for the last time. The latest NEWSWEEK Poll suggests that he faces a steep climb if he hopes to coax the country back to his side before he goes. In the new poll, conducted Monday and Tuesday nights, President Bushâ€™s approval rating has reached a record low. Only 26 percent of Americans, just over one in four, approve of the job the 43rd president is doing; while, a record 65 percent disapprove, including nearly a third of Republicans.
The new numbersâ€”a 2 point drop from the last NEWSWEEK Poll at the beginning of Mayâ€”are statistically unchanged, given the pollâ€™s 4 point margin of error. But the 26 percent rating puts Bush lower than Jimmy Carter, who sunk to his nadir of 28 percent in a Gallup poll in June 1979. In fact, the only president in the last 35 years to score lower than Bush is Richard Nixon. Nixonâ€™s approval rating tumbled to 23 percent in January 1974, seven months before his resignation over the botched Watergate break-in.
The war in Iraq continues to drag Bush down. A record 73 percent of Americans disapprove of the job Bush has done handling Iraq. Despite â€œthe surgeâ€ in U.S. forces into Baghdad and Iraqâ€™s western Anbar province, a record-low 23 percent of Americans approve of the presidentâ€™s actions in Iraq, down 5 points since the end of March.
But the White House cannot pin his rating on the war alone. Bush scores record or near record lows on every major issue: from the economy (34 percent approve, 60 percent disapprove) to health care (28 percent approve, 61 percent disapprove) to immigration (23 percent approve, 63 percent disapprove). Andâ€”in the worst news, perhaps, for the crowded field of Republicans hoping to succeed Bush in 2008â€”50 percent of Americans disapprove of the presidentâ€™s handling of terrorism and homeland security. Only 43 percent approve, on an issue that has been the GOPâ€™s trump card in national elections since 9/11.
Is it any wonder that the Republicans are now trying to distance themselves from this doofus? It isn’t going to work, though. They’ve been his enablers for the past six and half years. It is now time for them to pay the piper.