Apologies for slow posting since Wednesday - it's been a busy week. Taking a step back from the Connecticut primary, two new national polls were released this week, and both show slightly lower job ratings for George Bush than most of the other national surveys released in late July or early August. Do these indicate a new downturn for Bush? Our friend Charles Franklin has crunched and graphed the numbers and says no.
The most recent Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll (story, results) puts the Bush job rating at 36% approve, 56% disapprove. However, as Franklin points out, the approval rating on this latest survey is exactly the same as their last poll fielded July 11-12, but the disapproval rating is three points higher. His post goes into detail on the
The poll getting more attention today comes from AP/IPSOS and shows a drop in Bush's approval from 36% to 33%, "matching his low in May," as the AP story puts it. Franklin takes a close look and concludes the latest AP result is a statistical outlier from the most recent poll trend. That is, other national polls have shown Bush's job rating holding steady or slightly rising, while the AP result is a sharp departure. He continues:
It is possible that the AP result signals a sharp break from the past. Given the track record of outliers in these data (over 1100 polls in all) that is not likely. Far more likely is that new polls will confirm that the trend has changed by modest amounts, either up or down, and that the next poll will be closer to 38.7% (both above and below) than to 33%.
This is not to say that the trend cannot change. We have seen three very clear examples of reversals in aproval trend since January 2005: in November 2005, February 2006 and May 2006. At some point approval may again trend down (or more sharply up, for that matter.) But it would not be a statistically good bet that the AP poll is where approval really stands right now
Read it all.