AP uncritically reported Rove's false claim that Bush's favorability ratings are in the 60s

››› ››› JOSH KALVEN

A May 15 Associated Press article by staff writer Tom Raum reported White House senior adviser Karl Rove's assertion that President Bush's favorability ratings "are far higher than his approval ratings," even reaching "the 60s in some polls." But an examination of recent polling shows that Bush personal approval ratings have, in fact, been in the 30s and 40s in 2006, not the 60s. Furthermore, the most recent poll to find Bush's favorability rating at 60 percent or above was conducted in February 2005.

From the AP article, headlined, "Rove Blames Iraq War for Low Bush Numbers":

Presidential adviser Karl Rove blamed the war in Iraq on Monday for dragging down President Bush's job approval ratings in public opinion polls. "People like this president," Rove said. "They're just sour right now on the war."

Rove said that Bush's likeability ratings are far higher than his approval ratings. "There is a disconnect" because of the Iraq conflict, Rove told the American Enterprise Institute.

[...]

Despite low approval ratings, "I'm sanguine," Rove said. "I know our own polls."

He said that Bush's likeability, his personal approval ratings, were in the 60s in some polls. "Job approval is lower. And what that says to me is that people like him, they respect him, he's somebody they feel a connection with, but they're just sour right now on the war. And that's the way it's going to be."

But a quick check of national polls conducted in 2006 proves that Bush's favorability numbers are not nearly as high as Rove reportedly claimed:

Pollster

Date range

Percent favorable

Percent unfavorable

CBS News/New York Times

5/4/06 - 5/8/06

29%

55%

USA Today/Gallup

4/28/06 - 4/30/06

39%

60%

NBC News/Wall Street Journal

4/21/06 - 4/24/06

39%

52%

NBC News/Wall Street Journal

3/10/06 - 3/13/06

39%

50%

ABC News/Washington Post

3/2/06 - 3/5/06

46%

54%

Zogby America

2/27/06 - 3/2/06

45%

54%

CBS News/New York Times

2/22/06 - 2/26/06

29%

53%

Zogby America

2/15/06 -2/18/06

48%

50%

Fox News/Opinion Dynamics

2/7/06 - 2/8/06

46%

47%

NBC News/Wall Street Journal

1/26/06 - 1/29/06

41%

46%

CBS News/New York Times

1/20/06 - 1/25/06

37%

48%

Zogby America

1/9/06 -1/12/06

49%

48%

Moreover, it has been years since these surveys have shown Bush's favorability ratings in the 60s, as Rove claimed some do currently:

  • The most recent CBS News/New York Times poll to find Bush's favorability rating above 60 percent was conducted July 13-16, 2002 (64 percent).
  • The most recent USA Today/Gallup poll to find Bush's favorability rating at 60 percent was conducted February 4-6, 2005.
  • The most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll to find Bush's favorability rating above 60 percent was conducted in May 2003 (63 percent).
  • The most recent Zogby America poll to find Bush's favorability rating above 60 percent was conducted June 6-10, 2003 (66 percent).
  • The most recent Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll to find Bush's favorability rating above 60 percent was conducted August 12-13, 2003 (61 percent).
Network/Outlet
Associated Press
Stories/Interests
Polling
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