Morris claimed "Bush's ratings on the economy" and terrorism "are not bad" -- based on what?

››› ››› JULIE MILLICAN

Syndicated columnist Dick Morris wrote that if President Bush were to begin pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq, "he could begin to recover his personal ratings" and improve his party's chances in the 2008 election, because his "ratings on the economy are not bad, and he still draws commendations for his battle against terrorism." In fact, recent public opinion polls show that majorities of respondents disapprove of Bush's handling of the economy and that at least half disapprove of how he is handling the fight against terrorism.

In his June 27 column in The Hill, Fox News contributor and syndicated columnist Dick Morris wrote that President Bush's "ratings on the economy are not bad, and he still draws commendations for his battle against terrorism." According to Morris, Bush could "do[] himself, his party, and the country a big favor" by pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq because "[i]t is Iraq that is dragging the president's ratings down and killing his party's chances in the [2008 presidential] election." In fact, recent public opinion polls show majorities of respondents disapprove of Bush's handling of the economy, and the same polls found at least half of respondents disapproving of his handling of terrorism.

A June 18-19 Newsweek poll found that 60 percent of respondents "disapprove[d]" of Bush's handling of the economy, with 34 percent indicating their approval of Bush's performance on the issue; the poll carried a margin of error of +/- 4 percent. Similarly, a May 29-June 1 Washington Post/ABC News poll (margin of error of +/- 3 percent) found that 57 percent of respondents did not approve of "the way Bush is handling" the economy versus the 40 percent who did. Additionally, a May 18-23 New York Times/CBS News poll showed that 56 percent of the poll's respondents "disapprove[d] of the way George W. Bush is handling the economy," as opposed to 36 percent who "approve[d]."

Moreover, the same polls found that at least half the country did not approve of Bush's handling of the fight against terrorism. For instance, the Newsweek poll found that 50 percent of respondents "disapprove[d]" of how Bush is handling "terrorism and homeland security," while 43 percent of respondents indicated that they "approve[d]" of how Bush is handling the issue. The Washington Post/ABC News poll asked respondents whether they "approve or disapprove of the way Bush is handling" the "U.S. campaign against terrorism": 52 percent said they disapproved while 44 percent approved. Fifty-two percent of respondents in The New York Times/CBS News poll also indicated that they disapproved of the way Bush "is handling the campaign against terrorism," while 42 percent "approve[d]."

From Morris' June 27 column, "If Bush pulls out the troops, it might save the GOP":

Will George W. Bush try to steal a page from Richard Nixon and, reading the handwriting on the wall after a dismal showing in the congressional elections, begin to pull troops out of Iraq by the end of the year? If he does, will it save the Republican Party?

Recent indications of administration unhappiness with the failure of the Iraqi regime to use the period of the surge in American troops to enact basic reforms might presage just such a withdrawal. Clearly, the Iraqi government has done nothing to expand power-sharing with the Sunnis or to equalize access to oil revenues. Their failure to act could give Bush the rationale he needs to begin to draw down American force levels.

If Bush decides to act in this way, he will be doing himself, his party, and the country a big favor. There is still time to rescue the fortunes of the Republican Party in the 2008 election. It is Iraq that is dragging the president's ratings down and killing his party's chances in the election. Bush's ratings on the economy are not bad, and he still draws commendations for his battle against terrorism. If he began to pull out troops, he could begin to recover his personal ratings and move his party up.

Posted In
Economy, Government, National Security & Foreign Policy, Terrorism
Network/Outlet
The Hill
Person
Dick Morris
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