Monday, February 02, 2004

NH GOP Primary Again

Mickey Kaus points out that the revised figures for the NH GOP primary show Bush with 79% of the vote, not 87%. Actually, by my math, he got 80%. (Check for yourself here.)

I'm still not convinced that this shows a serious weakness for Bush. 80% is pretty good even if it's lower than Reagan, who sets the gold standard for measuring Republican support.

More worrisome for Bush is that in SC, he's only leading a generic Democrat by a margin of 45 to 43. I'm skeptical about the exact numbers--Bush won the state by 16 points (57-41)--but it is clearly well below where you would expect him to be. Furthermore, this is on top of several polls showing his approval rating in the low 50s or below and running behind John Kerry.

Why the lagging polls? Several things come to mind. First, the focus on the Democratic nomination has given the Democrats a clear field for the last month--lots of Democratic criticisms and very little Republican response. I'd be interested to see Reagan's approval and reelect numbers in the first few months of 1984 and Clinton's in 1996. Second, despite some relatively good GDP numbers, the economy, and jobs in particular, don't seem to be improving very rapidly. Third, the revelations about no WMDs in Iraq clearly have to be hurting Bush's credibility.

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