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The Economy & Presidential Approval Rating, Redux.

In recent weeks, there has been much hand-wringing about the President's approval ratings. Every blog and columnist and talking head has had a different explanation. It was either illegal immigration, or Terri Schiavo, or Social Security, or the theocons, or Iraq, or Bush himself, or any number of other factors that were allegedly bringing Bush's numbers down.

Each explanation was really said more about the individual making the claim than the actual political situation in America. Think of the explanations as a series of ink blot tests. The pet issues on which people wanted the President to lose ground, they simply asserted a connection. It's hard to disprove any of the explanations. It is not difficult to be intrigued by some of the more creative flavor-of-the-month explanations, as well, but unfortunately, the reality is pretty bland.

In late April, WILLisms.com explained that it was the economy, stupid. It almost always is. In a detailed post, we elaborated on the idea that Consumer Confidence and Presidential Approval are highly correlated.

Well, today, the President's Gallup poll numbers are up, right along with consumer confidence. Daly Thoughts is also all over it.

Check out the Consumer Confidence numbers over the past year:


Notice how the graph traces a path very similar to the President's slump about this time last year, which lasted until a rebound just prior to the election.

Rasmussen also indicates higher levels of consumer confidence.

So, what happened? The economy was performing roughly the same then, as it is today.

For one, the incessant drum beat on the local and national network news of "high gas prices will mean the end of civilization as we know it" has ceased.

Secondly, it's hard to argue with the ever-growing number of jobs that have been created in America over the past two years:


Gallup also indicates that Americans are finally becoming more confident about the economy:


Meanwhile, the President's approval rating rose accordingly, from a net minus 4 (approval - disapproval) to a net plus 1 (via PoliPundit).

If and when Americans perceive the economy at a commensurate level to reality, you can expect the President's numbers to improve further. If, somehow, Americans continue to view the economy in an irrationally pessimistic way, expect the President's numbers to remain low enough that emboldened Democrats will feel they can continue to get away with the kinds of antics we've seen over the past few weeks.

Unfortunately, despite almost daily indications of a strong economy (and getting stronger, especially relative to that of our European cousins), perception is reality in politics, and until the media coverage becomes more favorable on the economy, to reflect the reality out there, President Bush will likely hover near a ceiling of 50%.

Posted by Will Franklin · 31 May 2005 05:23 PM


Do you suppose it had anything to do with his Social Security reform plan? Could it possibly be that Americans are sick of Socialist Dems. like Harry Reid or Howard Dean? ... Somehow, is it possible americans are opening their eyes and seeing freedom and democracy are spreading through out the world? Maybe they are seeing our President isn't the man portrayed by Michael Moore. George W. Bush is a very good President. He has had quite alot thrown at him! I am so thankful he was our President during these trying times! Our economy is looking up, but one of the most important things is Freedom and Democracy are spreading through out the world!

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at May 31, 2005 07:05 PM