A new poll just released by Zogby International has Bush's job performance rating at its lowest since 9/11. Bush is in the negative on all specific issues except the war on terrorism. Significantly, on the “if the election were held today” question Bush is loosing (46 to 47 percent). Finally, opinion of him as a person has reached a post 9/11 low. Pollster John Zogby sees the last number as the most illuminating:
What has been propping up the President in the past few months is his personal favorability rating. To me, what is most ominous is this alone has slipped nine points in the past month. If he cannot count on a large majority of Americans to like him personally, this could spell doom for his re-election hopes because he has little support for his overall performance and how he is rated on the issues.
I think Zogby has half of the formula. Bush’s approval numbers have been propped up by the rally around the flag instinct and by the perception that he is honest and sincere. The bungled peace and the intelligence revelations are undermining both of those perceptions.
Even though most people feel the ouster of Saddam was a good thing and that it retroactively justified the war, they can’t be entirely indifferent to the fact that Bush lied. The more inescapable the fact of his deceptions becomes, the more they will start to draw away from him. As the body bags and angry soldiers come back from Iraq, they will be unable to avoid questioning whether he has made us more secure. People want to rally around a strong leader when they feel vulnerable, but they want that leader to deserve their support. A dishonest and incompetent leader does not deserve support.