The Washington Post's
Chris Cillizza provides his
own take on that "generic" White House trial heat we have been talking
about the last few days. He amplifies a point I tried to make, likely bolstered
by his own sources:
Although Bush is not named in the
question, survey experts believe that voters have a difficult time envisioning
anyone other than the current president when asked to think of a
"generic" Republican candidate for president. Thus, it follows that
in a poll where Bush's favorable rating was 38 percent and his unfavorable mark
was 59 percent, and where just 32 percent approved of his handling of the war
in Iraq compared with 65 percent who disapproved (including 54 percent "strongly"),
the "Bush effect" would hurt a generic Republican presidential
candidate's ability to compete with a generic Democrat.
It also follows that when actual
candidates are put into the mix, the Bush cloud seems to disappear.
That's about right.