Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A Standfast GOP Base for GWB

Fire of Liberty

Contrary to what the MSM is presenting to the American people, it seems that President Bush's approval numbers amongst fellow Republicans is pretty darn high. Here's what USA Today columnist/reporter Richard Benedetto has to say about recent polling data:

The Feb. 9-11 poll puts Bush's job approval at 37%, but among people who identify themselves as Republican or leaning Republican, his approval rating is 76%.

Thus, despite bad news from Baghdad and carefully crafted hand-wringing by high-profile GOP war critics in Congress such as Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, three of four Republicans in the country are hanging in there with the president.

The poll also shows that rank-and-file Republicans have higher regard for the president than they do Republicans in Congress. They gave GOP lawmakers a 63% job-approval rating, 13 points below Bush's. And 72% of Republicans do not think Bush made a mistake sending U.S. troops to Iraq.

So if congressional Republicans figure the key to re-election in 2008 is taking a hard line against Bush on Iraq, they could be dead wrong. They might lure some independents, but they risk alienating their GOP base. To win, you need solid support from your base plus independents, not independents alone.

Conventional wisdom also says the presidential ambitions of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., could be derailed by his strong support for the war. This poll, however, shows that his stance could be a plus among the base.

What does this high approval among Republicans mean for Bush? It means that as long as his party support remains that strong, he won't fall below 30% approval, a depth that would virtually extinguish his political power. The lowest Bush has fallen is 31%, still enough to make him a significant, although wounded, force in legislative battles with the Democratic-controlled Congress.

The latest congressional skirmish over Iraq underscores the point. In the House's non-binding vote to oppose the president's deployment of more troops to Baghdad, 17 Republicans voted with 229 Democrats to pass the measure. Four GOP representatives didn't vote. Lost was the fact that 180 Republicans stuck with Bush. By that count, Bush gets a 92% loyalty standing among House Republicans who voted. Hardly a GOP exodus.

All I can say is keep up the good fight Mr. President.

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