Zogby has some new numbers out that, for the most part, may not mean a great deal. Dean’s gained, Lieberman’s slipped, neither a big surprise. Perhaps the most interesting piece of information is this:
A plurality (48%) says they dislike the President as a person, compared to 38% who say they like him, while 14% are not sure.
This, I think, is huge. Americans really want to believe in their President, especially right now. 9/11 created a great opportunity for any sitting President to muster strong support. This one did, even though many people had deep reservations about his intellect and ability.
Though they have dipped into the mid-50s recently, Bush’s approval ratings have probably said more about what we as Americans want to believe than what we deeply do believe. Bush has his hard core 35% or so that would support him even if he spit in their eye. The rest of us may have wanted him to succeed (including me), but will not give him a free ride forever (in fact, I’m done). Without 9/11 Bush’s approval rating would probably hover around 35% right now. That means 3% percent of the people who actually like him as a person, still wouldn’t approve of his performance as President.
This man is deeply vulnerable. This country remains deeply split. Bush took the American people’s good will to be his own personal entitlement and has soared to a level of hubris even his strongest detractors probably would not have dreamed. But as the dust starts to settle, American’s look at the guy and see the smug, cocky frat boy with the attitude brought about from never having to earn anything. He didn’t even have to earn his once sky-high approval rating. That came courtesy of Osama and over 3,000 dead Americans. He had a wonderful opportunity to bring us together. Most of us sincerely wanted him to. But, he just does not have it in him.
See Egg on face update Othewise, my assessment stands.