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March 20, 2006

Gallup: "Bush Approval Steady at 37%"

Helping to underscore the question I asked at the end of Friday's post, Gallup has released another national survey this morning that shows no change in the Bush job rating over the last week:

The March 13-16 Gallup Poll pegs his approval at 37%. This rating is virtually unchanged from the 36% measured over the March 10-12 weekend, and not statistically different from two February polls prior to that.

In general, it's clear that the public's assessment of Bush's job performance has not undergone a dramatic free fall, as some may think. Gallup's regular assessment of president job approval ratings allows us to determine that Bush's ratings have remained remarkably constant for significant periods. The pattern of late has been marked by periods with virtually identical ratings, followed by small shifts and then another period of stability.

The Gallup report is free to all for today.  Read it all.

Related Entries - President Bush

Posted by Mark Blumenthal on March 20, 2006 at 09:26 AM in President Bush | Permalink


I'd expect that two polls taken by the same firm only a few days apart with a reporting resolution of only 1 percent *ought* to look pretty much the same. One shouldn't focus only on whether approval changes or stays the same, but also on the time interval over which those changes occur. That's what Charles and I do.

Basically, with sample sizes of roughly 1000, it would be unusual (but not impossible) for any two closely adjacent polls to be signficantly different. Because Gallup tends to poll more frequently than others (see http://anonymous.coward.free.fr/polls/gross-vs-net.html ), its time interval between polls tends to be shorter. That's the kind of situation where *even if approval were changing smoothly* you'd expect to see step-like behavior.

Posted by: Robert Chung | Mar 20, 2006 10:49:23 AM

My gut read is that we're seeing consolidation of negative sentiment.

Approval will tend to drift up in slow news weeks (relief rallies; people still want to believe) and when Bush is attacked too eagerly by Democrats (energized Republicans; Indies using polls to signal social disapproval on the topic of the day).

Approval will tend to break down in heavy news weeks. (Most news will be bad news, and most Administration responses will be awkward, unpopular or at best controversial with W's remaining base.)

If Congressional R's run away from Bush (as D's ran from Clinton in 1994), deep new lows could be gouged out.

Posted by: RonK, Seattle | Mar 20, 2006 11:55:23 AM

To me, as a time series analysis guy, the interesting thing about Bush's approval rating as seen here :


Is the consistency of the decline. Except for a few step function changes, and a general increase around the time of the 2004 election, it's been pretty consistently down by ~ 1.6% / month.

This makes me suspect it might be modeled by a diffusion equation. It also means that you should expect to wait a few months before you see a decline that's statistically significant, for typical poll sizes.

Posted by: Marshall Eubanks | Mar 21, 2006 10:52:23 AM

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