The Day Democrats Never Thought Would Come, Is Here!

That tearing sound you hear throughout the land is the rending of garments by anguished Democrats. In a day they surely never expected would arrive, Barack Obama has a worse image than George W. Bush in the just completed WSJ/NBC September poll.

Of the three Presidents tested, Bill Clinton of course remains the most popular. He has a 56{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} positive/21{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} negative rating. That’s not the key data point here. The last time 42 was below 50{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} positive was way back in December of 2008. The last time Clinton was negatively perceived was June of 2008.

No, the big news from these data is that George W. Bush, the President Democrats had planned to run against longer than Republicans ran against Jimmy Carter, has a better image than the man who was going to slow the rise of oceans, heal the planet, end a war in the Middle East, and restore our country’s image overseas.

image 1.jpg

It’s not that Bush is suddenly beloved. He has a 37{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} positive/38{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} negative image now. That’s quite a change from the 31{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}-59{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} rating he received when he left office in January 2009. Bush’s negative rating did not consistently drop below 50{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} until May 2011, and did not drop below 40{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} until July of 2013 (the image ratings of the former Presidents are not asked every month).

Meanwhile, Obama’s fall from the days of Greek Columns and Brandenburg Gates (you know, back when he was good at the theater of politics) has been fast. At the time of his second inaugural just 20 months ago, Obama had a 52{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} positive/37{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} negative rating. By the next month, he had already slipped below 50{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} positive. And now, he is at 42{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} positive/46{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} negative.

So, while Bush is a net minus one on his image, Obama is a net minus four. This does not mean Republican candidates will start running on the Bush record, but it does prove that if you wait long enough in politics, you can see anything. Like many a toppled Greek column, the mighty have fallen!

Glen Bolger, a leading Republican strategist and pollster, is a partner and co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies. Martin Shull is a Senior Research Assistant at the polling firm. The data is from Wall Street Journal/NBC polls conducted by Democratic pollster Fred Yang at Hart Research Associates and Republican pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies. Mr. Bolger is on Twitter: @posglen

Similar Articles

  • Millenials: Will They Make or Break Hillary Clinton?
    read more

  • Swept up in the Presidential Primary Sweepstakes? President Obama still matters.
    read more

  • Opinions on Free Trade in Flux
    read more

  • Spirit of the Season Grips Americans as they Gift & Google.
    read more

  • SENATE DEMOCRATIC INCUMBENTS MAY HAVE ALREADY HIT THE OBAMA CEILING
    read more

Public Opinion Strategies helped us to clarify what we wanted to learn and then conducted research and analysis that shed light even beyond the questions we set out to ask. They were very receptive to our suggestions, responsive to our queries, and flexible when we needed them to be.

Public Opinion Strategies has consistently offered unparalleled advice and spot-on polling that has shaped how and where we spent money and deploy key resources. Additionally, they have always been an excellent steward of limited campaign resources, ensuring we spend wisely and not a dollar more than necessary in order to get the information we need.

Robert Blizzard and Public Opinion Strategies did a great job for us throughout our successful campaign for Congress. Robert gave us accurate data, spot on analysis, and professional advice, all of which were essential to our victory.

Public Opinion Strategies is one of our go-to pollsters when it comes to testing public support for bond ballot measures and other initiative proposals. They are available to provide ongoing consultation with regard to crafting of ballot questions, public outreach messaging, and related efforts.

ACLI has worked with Public Opinion Strategies for decades, through several tough industry battles—often ones in which public opinion does not naturally fall on the side of insurers. Yet Bill and his team consistently provide invaluable strategic advice by refining our messages and helping us frame our issues in a way that makes them understandable and persuasive.

The data from Public Opinion Strategies provided important insight and informed our public awareness campaign. We sincerely appreciate their professionalism and expertise in this arena.

Nicole McCleskey and the team at Public Opinion Strategies have been invaluable to me, both during my campaigns and as Governor of the State of New Mexico. It’s not just the accuracy of their numbers, but guiding the overall strategy that makes them so valuable.

Public Opinion Strategies has been a part of our team in Missouri for more than a decade. With their data and guidance, Republicans here were able to attain a majority in the House in 2002 for the first time in fifty years, and we have been able to grow that majority to the point that we now have a record, veto-proof majority.

In my tenure at two leading business associations, facing huge and complex consumer issues, I have benefitted enormously from the objective advisory skills of Bill and his team. They do their homework, they are rigorous, dispassionate and thoughtful. Turning questions into answers is a clever tag, but it’s also an apt description of the professional talents of the firm.

I consider Public Opinion Strategies to be a part of our team. That is the way we have always worked. They have helped us to understand our needs and fashioned research solutions to meet those needs. They have helped us to meet killer deadlines by being flexible, executing rapidly, and insuring quality. Teamwork is the best way to describe it.

Accuracy, speed, and deep knowledge of key issues and public sentiment are the hallmarks of quality opinion research, and on these measures Public Opinion Strategies consistently delivers. I have had the pleasure of working with Public Opinion Strategies for more than 15 years on dozens of issues, and they are undoubtedly the gold standard.

Public Opinion Strategies’ track record of success and wealth of experience in political campaigns and issue advocacy are why they are one of the most trusted and well respected public opinion firms in Washington, D.C. Their insights and perspectives have helped to inform a wide array of public affairs activities across multiple industries.