On the October 8 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, Fox News political analyst and Weekly Standard editor William Kristol falsely claimed that Missouri, Virginia, Tennessee, and Ohio are "pro-Bush states." In fact, although President Bush carried those states in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, recent polls indicate that more respondents in each state disapprove of Bush than approve.
Survey USA polls, released on September 19, showed higher disapproval ratings than approval ratings for Bush in Missouri, Virginia, Tennessee, and Ohio:
- Missouri: Bush's approval rating was at 41 percent, while his disapproval rating stood at 56 percent.
- Virginia: Bush's approval rating was at 41 percent, while his disapproval rating stood at 57 percent.
- Tennessee: Bush's approval rating was at 43 percent, while his disapproval rating stood at 55 percent.
- Ohio: Bush's approval rating was at 34 percent, while his disapproval rating stood at 65 percent.
Among states carried by John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election, Survey USA found that Bush's approval rating ranged from 23 percent in Rhode Island to 42 percent in Hawaii.
Rasmussen Reports surveys, conducted August 15-September 18, similarly showed higher disapproval ratings for Bush than approval ratings in Missouri, Virginia, and Ohio, with Bush retaining a one-percent approval-rating edge in Tennessee:
- Missouri: 27 percent of respondents said they strongly approved of Bush, while 19 percent somewhat approved of him, yielding an overall approval rating of 46 percent. Ten percent of respondents somewhat disapproved of Bush, while 43 percent strongly disapproved, making for a 53-percent overall disapproval rating.
- Virginia: 27 percent of respondents said they strongly approved of Bush, with 21 percent somewhat approving, yielding an approval rate of 48 percent. Fifteen percent somewhat disapproved and 37 percent strongly disapproved, totaling a 52-percent disapproval.
- Tennessee: 33 percent of respondents said they strongly approved of Bush, while 17 percent somewhat approved, yielding an approval rate of 50 percent. Twelve percent somewhat disapproved and 37 percent strongly disapproved, summing to a 49-percent disapproval.
- Ohio: 22 percent of respondents said they strongly approved of Bush and 19 percent somewhat approved, yielding an approval rate of 41 percent. Twelve percent somewhat disapproved, while 47 percent strongly disapproved, totaling a 59-percent disapproval rate.
Among states that voted for Kerry in 2004, Rasmussen Reports' approval ratings ranged from 38 percent in New Jersey to 48 percent in Wisconsin.
From the October 8 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, which also featured Juan Williams, National Public Radio senior national correspondent and Fox News contributor:
KRISTOL: In the next two years, senators may well vote to confirm a Supreme Court justice. They may vote to make Bush's tax cuts permanent. They may -- they will vote to support the strong foreign policy and strong actions in the war on terror, or not. I think if Republican candidates in pro-Bush states, in red states -- Missouri, Virginia, Tennessee, Ohio -- make those issues central in the next three or four weeks, I think they can win all those states and keep Republican losses in the Senate to two and three.
And, you know, they can. They have a lot of money. And the good thing about elections is, at some point, the mainstream media loses control and people are actually entitled to use the contributions they've raised to go up on the air with ads. And you can go up with ads contrasting your positions with that of your opponent on these core issues of judges, taxes, and terror. And I think Republicans then hold the Senate.
WILLIAMS: But what they go up on the air with, Bill, is -- tends to be negative ads about the personal life of the opponent, and -- or, you know -- but it's not about these big issues that you think that the party should run on. When it comes to the war, when it comes to President Bush, those still are indicated -- indicated as drags on Republican candidates at this point.
What's most interesting to me is to look at Southern states like Virginia, like Tennessee, to see that the Democrats have a chance. Now, that would vindicate [Democratic National Committee chairman] Howard Dean, wouldn't it? Howard Dean, you know, contrary to [Rep.] Rahm Emanuel [D-IL] and some of the other Democrats, you know, Howard Dean said Democrats have to have a 50-state strategy. You have to put money into these red states. And, look, it seems to be paying off at the moment.
I happen to agree. I don't think that Democrats can capture the Senate this time around. They'll pick up the seats. But I think that what you're seeing here is a wave of Democrats doing very well in these midterms, which is not unusual, but I think maybe setting themselves up for 2008 in a very positive way.