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Monday, August 14, 2006

The Politics of Terror aren't Working Anymore

Technorati tags: , , , , s push 'tough on - yawn

Interesting polling came out today. Turns out the big UK/US terrorism scare hasn't helped Bush out at all. CBS News reports:

Americans are signaling strong support for air travel restrictions in the wake of last week's foiled terror plot in Britain, a CBS News poll finds.

Three in four said banning U.S. air travelers from packing liquids such as drinks and gels like toothpaste in their carry-on luggage was necessary.

Nearly as many -- 70 percent -- said even tighter restrictions in England - permitting passengers to carry on only their wallet, passport and prescription medicine - were necessary.

The poll also found that news of the U.K. plot has heightened concerns about terrorism in the U.S.

While the war in Iraq remains the number one problem facing the country, terrorism has risen to the number two concern, according to 17 percent of the respondents, up from just 7 percent last month.

So concerns over terrorism have shot up 10% in a month, but 'the arrests in Britain have not helped President Bush's popularity so far, the CBS poll finds. His job approval remains exactly at 36 percent, where it was a month ago. Even the president's rating for handling terrorism – his strongest suit – remains unchanged at 51 percent' (as always when we're talking about Bush and polling, we make sure to go to to check how many find Bush annoying - 64.54%).

Annoyance aside, look at the President's polling (see chart). There is no poll that shows him without a majority disapproval. The man is about as popular as a fart in an elevator right now. The CBS poll shows that he's seen as strong on terrorism, but even this remains unchanged. And concern over terrorism has risen. What's the drag?

Iraq. A month ago, 23% thought that the war was the most important issue. Now it's 28% - a five percent change. The 10% rise in concern over terrorism is about the only major change in the poll, other than the rise in concern over Iraq. Nothing's gone down. So this increase on both questions must come from the category 'other/undecided'. Some 15% of those who didn't have a good answer in July have come down on either the war or terrorism in August.

Which puts Team GOP in a tight spot. November is coming fast and their panic button isn't working anymore. All polls show a preference for a democratic congress (see chart).

I've pointed it out before, but the republicans are the only ones who are really freaking out over Lieberman's loss in the Connecticut primary. I think this shows just how desperate the GOP is right now. They think they stand a very real chance of losing not only the congress, but the senate, and pro-Bush democrats are pretty much their only hope of putting the brakes on congressional investigations into GOP corruption, the lying prior to invading Iraq, and Bush's abuse of privacy protections. Keeping congress is plan A, keeping democrats who roll over on command is plan B.

As long as Bush polls badly, so will the GOP. Many republicans are running at a distance from their President, but it's far too late for that to work. Everyone remembers the lockstep mentality that ruled the party until things started to go south.

There's reason to believe this terror bust was engineered to coincide with Lieberman's loss. If this is the case, they just pulled the dirtiest of tricks and came up empty.