End Game on Bush's Approval: Realignment
by Chris Bowers, Fri Nov 11, 2005 at 01:51:07 PM EST
Poll Date Approve Disapprove Gap Fox 11/9 36 53 -17 AP 11/9 37 61 -24 NBC 11/7 38 57 -19 Pew 11/6 36 55 -19 ABC 11/2 39 60 -21 Zogby 11/2 39 61 -22 CBS 11/1 35 57 -22 Mean ---- 37.1 57.7 -20.6This is really, really bad. However, just how bad it is has not yet sunk in to the country at large. Taking a long view, this is the second lowest approval of any President over the last 25 years. Clinton never sunk to these lows (his lowest poll was -14). Reagan never sunk to these lows, although he did have a -21 approval poll in early 1983. In fact, the only President since Carter to sink to this low point over the last twenty five years was Bush's father from June through October of 1992. Even then, Bush Sr. never reached 61% disapproval. In fact, besides Bush Jr., only Nixon has hit that high point in the last 50 years.
So where does all this lead? We busted through the 40 point floor a long time ago. We have now busted the 60% disapproval ceiling. What's next--29% disapproval? Is that our goal? And after that, is it another arbitrary number? Or is Bush's resignation / impeachment our goal?
In a word, no. Now that we have passed 60% disapproval, there are no more numeric goals when it comes to Bush's disapproval. Sub-35 would be nice, but it is not necessary. The goal now is realignment. Bush's disapproval is so high, and his position as the face of the Republican Party is so assured, that it is now possible to envision a vast national realignment away from the Republican Party based primarily on backlash against Bush-ism (aka, contemporary conservatism). Bush Sr.'s extended period of disapproval at this level led to the Perot and 1994 realignment, which helped us greatly in 1992 but on which we utterly failed to capitalize in 1994. Carter's extended period of disapproval led to the 1980 realignment, which saw Republicans sweep the senate and the White House, as well as the first serious defections of Dixiecrats from the Democratic Party. Johnson's extended struggles from 1966-1968 also led to a realignment in 1968.
Bush's approval is now low enough for a realignment to take place in 2006 and 2008. A realignment is far more important to Democrats and progressives than Bush's impeachment or resignation could ever be. This is a generational event and, considering the timing of previous realignments, 1968, 1980 and 1992-4, the timing also suggests that the opportunity is ripe. Also, the realignment will clearly come from Independents, not disaffected Republicans, as Jerome first envisioned several months ago, and as I have also documented as well. As Ruy Teixiera has called it, the opportunity before us is the Indycrat realignment.
This is it. This is our chance--our once in a generation window. If we keep Bush's approval low, results like we saw for Paul Hackett on August 2nd and across the country on November 8th will become the norm. Apart from withdrawal, I'm not even sure we need a major platform adjustment or roll-out. People pretty much already know what we stand for. As long as they grow convinced that Bushism doesn't work, they will come over to our side.
We probably won't get another chance like this for at least another decade, so we have to make it count. There are 1089 days between now and November 4th, 2008, the day of the next Presidential election. Make it happen.