The new NYT/CBS poll shows some slippage in support for Bush. Some of this is due to the fading of the surge he saw after the capture of Saddam Hussein, but there also seems to be a turn toward more pessimistic assessments of the economy and Bush's handling of it. For example, only 39 percent has confidence in Bush's ability to make the right decisions on the economy--the lowest level of his presidency. Also, only 23 percent think Bush cares a lot about people like them, again the lowest ever.
Not only has Bush slipped but assessments of the Democratic candidates, particularly Dean have jumped. Since December, Dean's approval rating has jumped 10 points in the last month.
All of this should concern the Bush people since, if anything, things in Iraq have gotten a bit better. If things take a turn for the worse there, Bush's public support could really go south.
Bush does retain some significant strengths, particularly in approval of his handling of terrorism, evaluations of him as a strong leader. Furthermore, and perhaps most interesting, Bush continues to bridge the gender gap by drawing equal support from men and women.