Here’s a headline you’re not likely to see: Bush twice as popular as Congress. Not that that’s saying much, although more people think Bush is doing a good job than people think the average newspaper is accurate, which again isn’t saying much.
Now I think it’s normal for most President’s approval to trend downward with time because the art of governing in America is the art of comprimise while most Americans want victory on the issues that are important to them. At the start of a Presidency, the only thing people hold against him are promises not made. Over time, a President is bound to not deliver victory on more and more issues important to particular Americans. It’s harder on a President who lost party majorities in Congress and therefore can deliver on very little – although he can still keep his opponents from delivering victories for their supporters.
Since President Bush serves in interesting times, everything is magnified. While the war is clearly a big driver, the President’s failure to deliver on Social Security reform and his difference with his base on immigration reform are another two big hits to his approval. A mainstream media that continues to bend the truth to “get Bush” at all times is no help to his approval ratings either.
I think the real question is why is the approval rating of Congress so low, and what does it mean for America?