Most assessments of this that I've read attempt to encapsulate the larger phenomena affecting these numbers, and how they square with the "national mood", as it were.
The hell with that. Let's cut right to the chase, shall we? As a statistically empirical fact, these trends of lower approval and higher disapproval (not exactly the same thing, though obviously associated) are due two conditions, of varying degrees:
- There is an addition of a set of respondents; that is, they either didn't respond before, or they were part of the perennial "don't know" brigade. To which I say, what the hell have you been waiting for?
- There is a certain amount of people who heretofore supported the administration, and have now come around and changed their mind over the last six months. I assume this is the larger of our two presumed groups of respondents.
To this second group, I have to wonder just what the hell their basic synaptic malfunction might be. Whatever Bush's flaws (and good God is he rife with them), he generally attempts to do what says he wants to do, whether a majority of American citizens like it or not. This is not news. He has made himself pretty clear on what he wants to do, and the process (or lack of) which informs (or not) his conclusions.
So what was it, folks? Didn't like his Social Security scam? It wasn't like he didn't warn you; true, he hardly mentioned it during the campaign, but up until the "privatization" terminology got tabled in '02 to let the marketing elves work their lingo magic, he was pretty serious about it. Terri Schiavo? Stem-cell research? Bush has never made any secret of his eternal kinship with that peculiar breed of wingnut that will upturn heaven and earth for blastocysts and vegetables, but couldn't possibly care less about any other form of human life.
Much of the growing discontent probably centers around the war on terror in general, and Iraq in particular. This is more understandable, but only slightly. There is no excuse for not being informed about all sides of this issue. Maybe they were cowed by the chickenhawk pundits. Whatever the case, they can't say they didn't know, that they weren't warned, over and over again.
The first huge clue as to how these guys do things should have been the "Mission Accomplished" aircraft-carrier appearance. Showboating, preening, strutting around after forcing the carrier and its crew to turn around (to get San Diego out of the background camera shot) and sit in the harbor for hours until Himself got his ass there to strike his action-figure pose. Then, in the wake of criticism, they had the gall to insinuate that the crew had hung the giant premature ejaculation sign of their own accord.
It's all been corner after corner turned since then.