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November 03, 2005

Bush And Nixon Battle It Out

With the latest CBS poll putting Bush's approval rating at 35%, he's genuinely entered into Nixon territory. Since polling began, Nixon is the only two-term president with lower approval ratings at a comparable point in his presidency:

Johnson 66% (Oct. 1965)
Reagan 63% (Oct. 1985)
Clinton 57% (Oct. 1997)
Eisenhower 57% (Oct. 1957)
Truman 49% (Oct. 1949)
Bush 39% (Oct. 2005)
Nixon 29% (Oct. 1973)

So, I've helpfully graphed both Bush's approval rating and disapproval rating against Nixon's. Note Bush still has about a year to go before he gets to the point in Nixon's presidency when Nixon resigned.

(All polls are Gallup.)

Posted at November 3, 2005 11:10 AM | TrackBack

I hope you intend to continue to graph this...its absolutely fascinating and I'm sure I'm not alone in wanting to know how it turns out.

Cool beans, Jon.

Posted by: alexis S at November 3, 2005 11:28 AM

The Pollman cometh -

Posted by: Jesus B. Ochoa at November 3, 2005 11:40 AM

I dunno - see, they don't record their conversations for posterity anymore. And it's not because they are any shorter on the megalomaniacal side now, but their mafioso side has evolved significantly. Hard to nail.

Posted by: abb1 at November 3, 2005 03:05 PM

Bush can totally break the Nixon record! He's nothing if not excellent at sucking. Nixon had a congress controlled by the other party, that was willing to impeach him. Bush has a congress controlled by his own party, that won't impeach him, so he won't get chucked out at 25%. If Bush plays his cards right, I bet he could get into single digits. He's already there with African Americans.

BTW, at what point on the graph do Agnew/Cheney resign?

Posted by: clete at November 3, 2005 03:11 PM

In all fairness to Bush, Nixon didn't have the dang librul news media hounding him 24/7 with their deep and profound dissection of policy. Plus the camera hated Nixon; the camera loves Bush, it makes him seem so human-like. It's the microphone that's not fond of him.

Not to mention - Nixon didn't have all the hard work that our dear, bedraggled Mr. Bush has. Remember, people, Bush is fighting a war on two fronts: The bottle's calling incessantly and the dog doesn't like him much.

Posted by: cavjam at November 3, 2005 03:31 PM

Agnew resigned October 10, 1973, so Cheney is almost a month behind schedule so far.

Single digits, baby!

Posted by: Sid Fish at November 4, 2005 05:30 AM

Jonathan, what's the margin of error with these polls - are they constant?

Posted by: mk at November 4, 2005 06:25 AM

I am among the 42% who think Bush is honest and trustworthy - I really think he is doing the best job he can to fight the terrorists. What I want to ask on these polls, however, is why we don't see a dual "personal" approval rating like the press invented for Clinton to give him some political cover? Does anyone else remember that?

Posted by: Larry at November 4, 2005 06:41 AM

Single digits is unlikely, though well-deserved. Bush's folks have more control over the media than Nixon's (Fox, Clear Channel, etc.)

Posted by: rick at November 4, 2005 09:02 AM

What an incredible load of delusional shit!

What sort of witless, worthless, parasistic pile of brainless fecal material (or dim-witted Democrap type individual) can swallow this stuff without laughing to the point of a hernia?

Posted by: juandos at November 4, 2005 09:40 AM

single digits? You are forgetting the "Craxification factor" which posits that there is a bottom for public approval in the vicinity of 27%.

I'd also like to suggest a "Crazification correllary, which posits that a minimum 27% will disapprove of any president under ordinary circumstances (the whole country went nuts after 9-11, so those numbers don't count.)

So there is about 46% of the American public whose opinion is really in play. And Bush appears to have lost (depending upon the poll you choose) between 60 and 80 percent of those people.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at November 4, 2005 09:52 AM

Evidently Dick Cheney has exploded the Craxification factor, or crashed through it, or something. He's at 19% approval.

Look out below!

Posted by: bling at November 4, 2005 10:48 AM

Lukasiak has a point. To be in the single digits Bush would have to eat live puppies on TV. Repeatedly. At 8pm central. On all channels.

Nah, they'd probably blame the media...

Posted by: abb1 at November 4, 2005 11:31 AM

Eating puppies is nothing.

"I also wonder how much further these ratings will fall before they bump up against the hard BTKWB limit, the theoretical minimum for Bush approval. BTKWB (the President’s approval ratings the morning after he pre-empted Monday Night Football in order to Bind, Torture, and Kill Wilford Brimley for his own sexual gratification) has generally been taken to be somewhere in the 32-36% range, depending on the theoretical models used, and depending on if he uses up the MNF timespot completely, or just pops in during halftime. It is generally assumed that between 68-64% of the general public would disapprove of Wilford Brimley being sadistically murdered on national TV while the President of the United States leered and drooled in a blood-drenched homoerotic fugue that they would be willing to undermine the troops in the field by saying so, and would continue in their disapproval even in the face of such arguments as “the President needs a way to unwind from the pressures of his job”, “there was no other way to be sure he wasn’t a terrorist”, “many terrorists have mustaches, you know”, and even “he might have been hiding Saddam’s WMD in his Quaker Oats”. We may at last get some useful empirical measurements of this fundamental constant of political science."


Posted by: Scott H at November 4, 2005 11:40 AM

Nixon resigned after the House Judiciary Committee voted to recommend impeachment, and after he was informed there were actually enough votes in the House to impeach him. Here is a contemporary article on the HJC vote:

Bush faces little theat of impeachment, however low his polls go. I expect him to hang on until the bitter end.

Posted by: grytpype at November 4, 2005 11:58 AM


What an incredible load of delusional shit!

What sort of witless, worthless, parasistic pile of brainless fecal material (or dim-witted Democrap type individual) can swallow this stuff without laughing to the point of a hernia?

What I enjoy most about this critique is the description of shit ("brainless fecal material") that "can swallow" other shit ("load of delusional shit"). What happens after this swallowing occurs? Hopefully juandos will return and explain.

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at November 4, 2005 12:24 PM

I don't think Bush can possibly get to single digits --- I think you've forgetten the built-in pity factor. He's sort of like Forest Gump: No matter what happens around him, people see him as a moron, the nice uncle who can't tie his own shoes. As a result, many of those people who want to hate him can't help but feel sorry for him.

Posted by: chuck fields at November 4, 2005 12:42 PM

Bush's "personal approval" rating is at 33% in CBS, two points lower than his "job approval" rating. The reason you don't see this mentioned in the RWCM is they are all owned by Bush cronies.

Bush is going for a record, can he go below the "Mendoza line" established by Nixon?

Posted by: MD Patriot at November 4, 2005 12:49 PM

"Nah, they'd probably blame the media..."

No. They'd blame Clinton.

Posted by: Leslie at November 4, 2005 01:11 PM


I just heard the other day that Gov. Taft of Ohio
had a 15% approval rating. I don't know how this
relates to the minimum approval rating for a president, but is suggestive.

Hasn't President Chirac had a 20% approval rating
now or in the past? Are the French tougher critics than americans?

Posted by: Fletcher Kittredge at November 4, 2005 01:49 PM

Naturellement les Français sont plus durs que vous de gros bâtards américains malheureux ! Nous avons appris à regretter nos erreurs -- ou à leur transmettre à vous des baises idiotes. S'est-il jamais produit à vous il y avait-il une raison que nous sommes sortie du Vietnam dans les années '50 ? Ce s'appelle la pomme de terre chaude foutue, vous les singes marécage-affectueux de l'impérialisme !

Posted by: Monsieur Sullivan at November 4, 2005 02:05 PM

The question remains as to when this is going to make a difference. He can't be re-elected, and Cheney isn't running, and there are too many die-hards to impeach him. These charts are not surprising, Bush is not well-liked and is not likely to gain much ground in his remaining term, he'll either hold it or lose more.

What I am hoping is that in 2008, the delusional far-right who think the public is behind them will divide with the more moderate [read: not insane] Republicans and have a showdown in the primaries. The far-right crazy folk will lose the primary to a more moderate person (McCain?) and the Democratic primary victor will likely also be a moderate to try to get more than 49% of the vote. This is a win-win situation for all Americans. Hopefully the far-right will keep being crazy enough for this scenario to play out.

Posted by: Iko Iko at November 4, 2005 02:43 PM

Every president since 1963 has had approval ratings at one time or another that were lower than Bush's current rating. Those ratings include Lyndon Johnson's 35%, Richard Nixon's 24%, Gerald Ford's 37%, Jimmy Carter's 28%, Ronald Reagan's 35%, the elder George Bush's 29% and Bill Clinton's 37%.

Posted by: KCZ at November 4, 2005 03:11 PM

But it looka like Bush already has the honor of falling further...

Someone please start the impeachment process!

Posted by: Eric at November 4, 2005 05:15 PM

I could care less what any poll says, I lived through both of these presidents and this is a, no contest, hands down, the fat lady has sung, insert your own cliché metaphor... no-brainer.

For everyone's sake I'll avoid going into the historical facts, which are numerous, and all to telling in any comparison between these two presidents.

I'll just say that I'd rather have an intelligent crook and liar in the White House, then a crook and a liar who not only can't think for himself, but can't be honest with himself. Those are always the scariest kind of people, the ones who lie to themselves. Doubtless Nixon did the same thing often enough, but he at least he was smart enough to know better, something that can't be said for George W. Bush.

Lord help us, it's not over. If nothing else I guess we can all point to this time in our lives and say we lived through some of the darkest moments of 21st century US history.

The reign of Dubya I, and the conservative movement's inept faltering new dawning in America.

All hail our imperious leader!

Posted by: Aaron at November 5, 2005 09:11 PM

"Naturellement les Français sont plus durs que vous de gros bâtards américains malheureux ! Nous avons appris à regretter nos erreurs -- ou à leur transmettre à vous des baises idiotes. S'est-il jamais produit à vous il y avait-il une raison que nous sommes sortie du Vietnam dans les années '50 ? Ce s'appelle la pomme de terre chaude foutue, vous les singes marécage-affectueux de l'impérialisme !"

AH !! This is internet translated English ! so funny... Took me a while to figure out what "baises idiotes" where, and then I got it. "fucking idiots". Very funny comment though. Sounds very poetic in French "les singes marecages affectueux de l'imperialisme"... don't really know what would be the original English sentence. Swamp monkeys fond of imperialism ? Magnifique, simplement magnifique.

Posted by: Karine, la française at November 6, 2005 03:29 PM

Sorry-- my French is a little rough around the edges. That was the best I could come up with for "imperialist quagmire monkeys."

More importantly, has anyone read what Froomkin CALLED Jon? I can only hope we have a war of aggression on our hands.

Posted by: Sully at November 6, 2005 04:31 PM

It is simple. In 2000 I knew he was bad for the country then... and I know he is bad for it now. I fear for the future. It will take us years to repair the mess he has made

Posted by: Jon at November 7, 2005 08:46 AM

It is simple. In 2000 I knew he was bad for the country then... and I know he is bad for it now. I fear for the future. It will take us years to repair the mess he has made

Posted by: Jon at November 7, 2005 08:46 AM

Great graph! No way he sinks below 35. If he does the puppet masters will remove him through impeachment. They aren't going to sit around and let all those corporate contributions go down the crapper.

Posted by: Steve at November 11, 2005 11:08 AM

Oh he's gonna drop more. Once he announces his plan to attack the "evildoers" in Syria, Iran, or someother oil producing country, I think some folks in the Military may not continue their "blind allegence" to Dubya incompatence. Then he have to back pedal and he lose the hard core right wingers. I bet he finishes up at 18%.

Posted by: Mark at November 12, 2005 01:17 AM

What makes you think Dubya is going to stop at single digits.
This guy's going to keep digging until he hits rock bottom; then he'll get a pick-axe and dig deeper.
He may go down in history as the only President to owe the poll points!

Posted by: George at November 16, 2005 08:38 PM

I find (half of) this country's choice to simply look the other way when their candidate commits atrocities against the American people, not to mention the rest of the world, to be deeply saddening. What does Bush have to do to make us ALL objectively see him as the REST of the WORLD sees him? Break international law? Check. Disregard the Geneva Convention? Check. Disregard the U.N. when it's convenient? Check. Deride our former ALLIES that WE trained/outfitted, Al Qaeda, when they start to see us for what we are? Check. Take a record budget SURPLUS and turn it into a record DEFICIT in four years?! Check. Call one's self the "moral" President/candidate, yet set a record for executions as Governor, eradicate the assault weapons bill, and bomb a country without justification killing tens of thousands of Iraqis? Check. How absurd or INSANELY obvious does his hypocrisy have to get before the ENTIRE country says... "wow, he really IS at the very least, completely hypocritical and unethical." How many elections are we going to allow to be SIGNIFICANTLY tainted, before we include OURSELVES into the group of third-world countries we used to look down upon and ridicule for not being able to conduct an election that is beyond reproach?

America? Life is about MORE than your OWN financial interests and investments. Life is about MORE than promoting YOUR religious beliefs and forcing them down the throats of the unwilling or spiritually "unwashed" as you would categorize them. Life is about MORE than defecating on the environment and the rights of those less fortunate (see: "blessed are the meek..." in YOUR book) just to fatten your already bursting wallets and 401ks. Life is about people, and respecting EVERYONE, not just those that agree with YOUR opinions. Celebrate our differences, don't crucify those that would differ.

WAKE UP AMERICA!! WE'RE A GLOBAL JOKE!!! One more thing... the environment is NOT a partisan issue. We ALL need clean air and water. We ALL need food sources that aren't tainted with our toxic waste products. ALL our kids will need the same. And one last thing... Fox "News" isn't "news." It's a RNC propaganda machine. It SHOULD be fairly obvious, but apparently the collective intelligence quotient has dropped as fast as the deficit has risen. To record peaks!

Posted by: E-Dogg at November 19, 2005 09:13 AM

presidents do not, and should not, govern according to popularity polls that swing wildly from one week to another!! Also, those of us familiar with how polls are taken, how questions are framed and who conducts polls have very little faith in their accuracy. And, above all, it seemss that a majority of our political junkies (your organization one of them) who try to shape the Americans opinions have consistanly failed to comprehend the depth and seriousness of the threat posed by the Islamic fundamentalists to our country and to western civilization for that matter!! To all of you I say; pull out your head from sand and see what is really happening or in a generation or two there will not be any polls for you to read and comment about!!

Posted by: arman at December 2, 2005 09:44 AM

An interesting poll to conduct would be to query Americans about Bush and 9/11. Do they think that Bush had foreknowledge and "let it happen" or perhaps authorized an inside job? New Yorkers were asked about this, and many believed that US government officials "knew" about the hit before hand, even many Republicans want NY's attorney general to open a grand jury on the matter. Those poll numbers were astounding given the unanimous and unquestioning support in the capitalist media for the official conspiracy theory about Osama and his 19 Arabs with boxcutters.

Posted by: Stephen at December 7, 2005 03:39 AM

arman, this has nothing to do with statistical errors or framing of questions. Here is a graph of every major polling institution. There is only one way to read this data. It is a slow consistant downward trend. Yes any one poll is suspect but a meta-analysis of all polls is irrefutable.

Posted by: Andrew at January 29, 2006 08:44 PM