Guess the Exit Numbers

The LA Times notes that George Bush is getting a bit of a lame duck bump these days — his approval rating at the moment is 28%, up from a low of 24% — and suggests that our 43rd president’s approval rating may go up even futher in the next six weeks before he heads off to Texas. I can certainly believe it; I mean, now that I know he’s on the way out, he doesn’t cause me nearly as much intestinal distress as he has over the last several years. This is not exactly the same as getting my approval, mind you. But his not actively pinging the disapproval centers of my brain is an uptick.

My question for you to consider this lazy Sunday: What do you think Dubya’s final approval numbers will be? Personally I think he’ll finish up at 34% or so, which is still low enough, and in my opinion better than he deserves. But hey, I can afford to be big about these things. I have only 44 days left with the dude. I can hold my breath until then.

Your thoughts?

62 Comments on “Guess the Exit Numbers”

  1. He may continue to rise a bit while he stays mostly quiet, but in the waning days he’ll get busy with a string of pardons and executive orders and he’ll nosedive again. By Inauguration Day, he’ll be below 27%.

  2. You haven’t been watching Rachel Maddow’s Lame Duck Watch then.

    He’s been doing tons of stuff the last few days trying to frak with the country on things like abortions.

  3. I’m with Nora on this. I thought I was over being outraged at the Bush administration, although I do hope Obama spends some of his political capital on investigating the various serious violations of law.

    But then I saw lists of possible pardons, and I got my blood up all over again.

  4. No guess on the final number; but if he continues to try to sell this turkey of a maladministration as he’s done with the Charlie Gibson interview, he may just succeed in reminding us why the notion of “Bush haters” exists.

  5. So he’s back over the Crazification Factor, then. I figured it would probably happen, but hoped otherwise.

  6. If he pardons Bernie Evers, there are a lot of Mississippi folks who will be looking for blood. People lost their retirements because of him. Because he personally convinced them to invest in his company way back when and it was converted to stock when it when public and they lost it all. Not to mention all the jobs we lost here in a matter of days. He thinks he’s done enough jail time? Not on your life. If he did a year for every life he severely negatively affected, he’d never get out.

    #7, you are right. I need to pay attention to that.

  7. PF @ 9, !00% for departure, LOL.

    Too right. The party at my house on inauguration day will be one for the records. It starts before the swearing-in and lasts until……. we run out of libations and food, which could take 10 or 12 hours. We arranged to have the two days off on Nov 5th. It will feel so good to celebrate.

  8. @12 watercolor — There’s likely to be a fair amount of backlash in Illinois if he pardons Gov. Ryan. For those who aren’t familiar, George Ryan was sent to prison for operating a massive bribery scheme involving the DMV. It really hit the fan when 5 children in a family were killed in a particularly horrible fiery wreck that involved a truck driver who got his license through bribery. Why Sen. Durbin even floated the suggestion of clemency is beyond me.

    @16 Jim Van Pelt — Yeah, very depressing and a little confusing to me, too. Especially since even the politically conservative folks I know have been using words like “duped” to describe what the out-going administration has done to them.

  9. 30%. I’m basing that on the ease in which the media can round up a few unearthed scandals and bastions of incompetence from what he did to the various cabinet departments and other groups, and what the people he put in charge did or failed to do.

    If the media is generous, 35%, because there’s enough morons who’d be swayed if someone puts out a rah-rah TV special in Bush’s honor

    Of course, when the Obama appointees get to work in fixing the damage done, people will think even less of him. Right now, we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg for the damage he did. Fixing the metaphorical ship is almost certainly going to reveal more scandals.

  10. 30 percent.

    The going-away party we’ll be having will be something else. Fortunately he won’t get invited – I suspect he’s the kind of guy who trashes the place wherever he is, either at parties or when he moves out.

  11. At the risk of acting as if I’m not included in this–hell, I didn’t vote for him–I thought when he go re-elected that the American people got what they deserved. Apparently they got what they wanted. Hell, if you were stupid enough to vote for him…

  12. 2 to 3 years ago I asked my son:

    “is George W. Bush the worst president in the history of the United States?”

    He answered: “To soon to tell. He hasn’t made his worst mistake… YET!”

  13. No 16: I wonder if many “pro” respondents don’t, in effect, identify “approval” with loyalty to the commander-in-chief, or to the president in office, or even with being a reg’d Republican since times immemorial. IOW, the statistical slice who think “you ain’t gonna get me to talk against my president, whatever’s happened”. (Ya friggin’ liberal pollster you.)

    This may help the figures make more sense.
    BC, Ottawa, Can.

  14. The historian in me would ratchet up approval if he declared himself dictator for life and had to be hauled out like a spoiled child by heavy handed overtaxed volunteer soldiers.

  15. I’m going to go with 31% only because I just can’t imagine finding slightly more than 1 in 3 people who approve of him. I would have said 32% or 33% but well… the guy bugs me, and I’m pretty even tempered so I can only imagine how other people feel about him.

  16. Given the amount of aggressively ignorant people out there who will vote for Caligula just because he is supposedly on their team(party), he’ll likely end at 26% or so.

    If people paid attention, the fact of his ongoing efforts to destroy the national Parks/Lands would kill his numbers. In the West alone, his frantic attempts to poison the Colorado river should get him a 0% rating.

  17. I think he runs around 30% if he continues to pull horrific last-minute moves.

    On the other hand, if he turns himself in to a war-crimes board and rats out Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, and Rove for assorted war crimes, crimes against the Constitution, and electoral fraud, he might manage to pull that up as high as 35% :-)

  18. I figure he will leave office at an even 33%, by 2010, should be around 75%, though it might only get as high as 67%.

  19. Nargel

    Given the amount of aggressively ignorant people out there who will vote for Caligula just because he is supposedly on their team(party), he’ll likely end at 26% or so.

    Yeah. And the proof is that Democrats of Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District nominated William J Jefferson in the most recent congressional election.

    Then the district gave him the plurality of the votes in November.

    Fortunately, he lost the runoff.

    The fact is, though, that when elections don’t go “our” way, people in general tend to fall back on blaming “ignorant people” for their loss. But this isn’t the reality of the situation.

    The reality is that elections are like a massively distributed computing system with everyone processing information with different filters. And all of these filters, however trivial you may assess them, are useful for the final result.

    The final selection on election day, I think, is usually the better, and more capable, of the two candidates. At least this has generally been the case in my lifetime.

    The only exceptions to this are Johnson in 1964 and Carter in 76, but there were reasons why the process was short-circuited in these cases.

    Johnson was elected as a reflex to the Kennedy assassination and Carter as a reflex to the Nixon resignation.

    Other than those, I think pretty much the best man has won. We’ll see if the Obama selection holds to this, but I’m guessing it will.

  20. 30% and I’m hoping it dips lower when people realize what crap ass rules and regs his admin is passing right now. At least Obama has a team that working on those last minute gifts from George so as to get them reversed/tossed/flushed ASAP.

  21. Depends…Does Marc Rich need another pardon?

    His rating will be at least3 times as much as congresses…


  22. I’m not going to be big about it. Eight years of disastrous decisions and thousands of lives lost. I fear what he will do every single day he is in office. Worst. President. Ever.

  23. I’ll call 32%. What’s helping him here is that he seems to be going out of his way to provide a smooth transition for Obama. It makes Bush look less petty then he typically seems.

  24. He leaves with 28%, which will spiral down after word of his last minute wholesale pardonfest gets out, then go lower after Congress does some investigations, then will completely crater after he becomes baseball commissioner and brings the Bush Touch to our national pastime.

    And the sad thing is it would take something as pointless as screwing up baseball to get the people who still love him to realize what colossal screwup George W. Bush is now and always will be.

  25. 30% in the ecstasy of his leaving, and over 45% near the end of Obama’s first term, maybe over 50%.

  26. I don’t know what his rating will be, but I sure hope HR puts a big, fat “Do Not Rehire” on his personnel folder.

  27. Hey, could be worse. If he really held grudges, it’d be simple enough to pardon every federal inmate in currently held in states which voted Democratic…

  28. I didn’t vote for Bush the first time. I did vote for him the second time.

    I could care less what his poll numbers are right now.

    I do think his historical long-view rating depends entirely on two things: a) how quickly the economy recovers and b) if Iraq remains stable and prospers in the decades ahead. A quick economic recovery and stability and prosperity in Iraq is certain to give Bush a big boost — at least among future historians who can examine this period in U.S. history with more detachment than we can.

    An economy that performs poorly for a decade or more, combined with a meltdown in Iraq, would probably put Bush near the bottom. Not worst ever. I think that’s kind of a ridiculous statement. But probably near the bottom. In the same league as Hoover?

    I just hope Obama is every bit the national savior he was touted as being. I didn’t vote for him, but I will in 2012 if he shows us he can make the right decisions — read that as, not always the decisions his adoring legions might want him to make — and these decisions bear fruit. He does seem remarkably smart. But being smart, and being wise, are two different things.

    Ahhh, for a truly wise President. I don’t think we’ve seen one in a while.

  29. Frank
    If you expect me to defend Jefferson, you’re going to be waiting for a long time. Unlike some, I do not vote party over principal.

    Your point about ‘Nixon’s resignation’ seems either badly phrased or rather telling since a more accurate statement would be ‘Nixon’s illegal and unconstitutional actions which caused him to resign to avoid impeachment’.

    Rather than address the rest of your post, I will just look at 2 points.
    1) After all the negative things that Bush has done and enabled, much less the itema he is rushing to get done as a lame duck, you STILL claim he was “the best man”? Twice?
    2) You chose to complain about my reference to the party-first-and-allways crowd. Just that. Interesting.

    A couple of fact-check corrections: a) the economy was fine untill Bush got into office. I will admit the republican-heavy Congress managed to start greasing the skids the term before Bush got in but the slides started after Bush’s Administration started implementing the republican mantra’s unopposed and full time.
    b) Starting an unprovoked war of choice (second front no less) and lying about/screwing up all the facets from then on does not strike me as a positive. What ‘stability’ there is in Iraq at the moment seems to be related to the massive and ongoing bribery of the dissenting factions. The fact that most of that money seems to be going back out to buy arms tells me that when we stop bribing, the mess will be much worse than it would have been if the root causes had been addressed instead. Of course that will then happen on Obama’s watch, such a suprise.

    Also, worse than Hoover. At least under Hoover a lot of the crooks were charged. Under Bush’s heavily politicised Justice Department, just about all of the major crooks either got away (so far) or were let off with a slap on the wrist.

  30. At this point, why would they even take another survey of his approval numbers? Seems like money down the drain, since he’s just about the lamest duck we’ve had. Assuming they do take at least one more survey after the holidays, I’ll say 31%.

    Historically, he did at least as much constitutional damage as Nixon. This administration will probably also be noted for its incredible lack of competence in matters ranging from intelligence (assuming they really were “misled” about the WMD) to disaster management, to keeping contractors honest.

    I can’t really ding him too much for deciding to invade Iraq, since I gave him the benefit of the doubt at the time, even though my personal reaction is that he was out in right field. The country was still in post 9/11 paranoia mode. The way the invasion and occupation was handled is another story. About the only thing I can give this administration some credit for is the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and the credit crisis. They responded quickly and at least in the right general direction in each case. Not close to perfect, but not FEMA-like, either.

  31. One may argue about whether he was worse than James Buchanan or Franklin Pierce, but he was far and away the worst two-term President we’ve ever had; and the fact that he won a second term after his disastrous first is a mystery and a disgrace.

  32. “but he was far and away the worst two-term President we’ve ever had”

    I suspect some would argue that Grant could give him a run for the money in that category.

  33. Nargel,

    Could you be any more in the tank, as a transparent Bush-hater?


    I stand by post #42

    I also have to wonder about your intel on Iraq, and which sources it’s getting filtered through. Your picture of the situation seems very… dated.

  34. John Scalzi @ #47,

    Great point, and one which I wish was made more often. Grant’s two terms were very poor, largely because Grant’s abilities as a General Officer were ill-suited to the environment in Washington D.C. Only his legacy as the man who won the war for the Union buoyed his popularity with the public. In brass tack terms, Grant’s 8 years sucked!

  35. I like what Chris Rock had to say in his “Kill the Messenger” comedy tour.

    “Bush is not just the worst ever president of the USA, he’s the worst ever president, period. Of anything. City council president, junior college president, PTA president, Kiwanis Club president, glee club president, senior class president, …”

    I’m guessing that if he tries really really really hard, he’ll figure out a way to surprise us all and end up with an approval rating of -14%.

  36. Nargel

    you STILL claim he was “the best man”? Twice?

    Given the choices? Yeah. Though admittedly, in the pre-9/11 days Gore looked OK.

    But I’m pretty sure that Gore would have suffered the same fate in 2004 as did Kerry.

    Both parties have not done well in putting up candidates; Democrats have just sucked more.

    Clinton won with his centrist themes and help from Perot. Obama won by slipping by the Left in the primaries and miraculously selling himself as a centrist in the General. Of course he did get a lot of help from the 5th estate. Oddly, given the way things appear at the moment, he downright snookered the Left. If he does well in his Presidency, he no longer needs them.

    Which is just fine with me.

  37. Sadly, it looks like the hoped-for conclusion isn’t going to happen and I’m going to owe John cash. Grrr…

  38. Sub-Odeon
    I’ve never claimed not to despise the current resident and his gang of crooks and thugs. I’ve also pointed out why I feel that way, backed up with facts that have not been disputed. Some people’s steadfast adherence to being loyal bushies, in the face of evidence that makes that stance unrealistic, has also been quite clear.

    Go ahead and stand by @42, it still doesn’t make it any less wrong.

    Not sure how 9/11 made Gore look worse to you. I somehow think that stamping his feet, sticking his fingers in his ears and yelling “I’m not listening. La la la.” when he was told during the transition to keep an eye on Bin Laden and Co., didn’t make Bush look too effective.

    Yes, I get it that you don’t like the Left. I’m not sure how trying to make life better for everybody as opposed to just the already rich is such a bad thing. Tell me, is the Robber Baron economy working out so well for you as to merit such blind faith and adherence from you?

  39. Nargel,

    Were those people in the transition the same ones that told Bush Saddam had WMD? The same people who had the opportunity to remove Bin Laden from the equation in 95 but didn’t?

    I don’t mind that the left wants to makes things better for everybody. What I object to is them telling me what I am suppose to do to help.

    I worked hard to get where I am, made a few sacrifices a few mistakes on the way, but I EARNED what I have. The only thing “given” to me were the loans I took to go to school. Why should I give up some of what I’ve earned to those who haven’t earned it right? Is it an issue of “fair”? When was life supposed to be fair and equal? Being an American I’d like to think that I had the exact same opportunities as everyone else here, I worked hard, am making something of myself. If I had worked harder earlier maybe I could have gone to an Ivy league school instead of a state college, if I worked harder maybe I would have had an “A” average instead of a”B”…if…if…if…But I am where I am today because I worked to get here. It wasn’t easy. And if I could do it, why can’t some of these others? Do they lack opportunity? Or do they lack motivation?

    I don’t mind that the left wants to makes things better for everybody. What I object to is them telling me what I am suppose to do to help, and how anyone who disagrees with their “vision” is either inherently blind, evil, uncaring, etc…

    Take a look around at all the non “Robber Baron” Economies out there. Are they doing OK? North Korea is a paradise, Cuba is a paradise, the USSR is…well, wait, that non Robber Baron economy didn’t quite work out, did it?

    Is what we have best for everyone? No. But are we supposed to?


  40. Andrew @55: Many do lack the opportunities, yes.

    And many more things were given to you than just those school loans. You were, I suspect, given adequate nutrition as a child; most likely you were given a stable home situation that enabled you to concentrate on your studies to get through high school, and you were probably rewarded and encouraged (or at least supported) in getting through. You didn’t have to drop out of school to get a job to help support your family; nor did you have to choose between college and supporting your family once you graduated from high school. You had teachers who were sufficiently competent to teach you well enough to successfully apply to a four-year college, and who had the time and materials to use that competence. Being male, you were probably raised with the expectation that you would make something of yourself on your own merits and intelligence and hard work (rather than through marriage, beauty, or being a “helpmate”), which you appear to have internalized and which seems to have stood you well. I suspect you were raised in a culture in which most people who worked reasonably hard were well rewarded, and thus it was easy for you to believe that your work would be rewarded.

    Even in America, any one of these advantages are nowhere near a universal. And none of them are things that a kid could make up for through “hard work”.

  41. Andrew wrote: The only thing “given” to me were the loans I took to go to school.

    So as a wee lad you vaccinated yourself while educating yourself until those college years, ensuring the safety of your food supply while all the time keeping a watchful eye on your community and defense? Truly, you are a god among men.

    More seriously, how well does this ‘money’ thing work without government and society? I think you’re a fish swimming in water who doesn’t notice all the bonds of community, but at least you weren’t born on third base and think you hit a triple.

    Let’s also consider this: I presume you’re against crimes being committed on your person. If childhood education and intervention reduce the crime rate, would you prefer to A) spend money to make the nation a safer place or B) spend -more- money to incarcerate criminals after they’ve committed crimes, possibly on you? A) may result in them being given things they haven’t “earned”, by your standards. What’s more important to you – improving the general welfare of the country, or satisfying your outrage that somewhere, someone’s getting something they didn’t work quite enough for? (If you voted for Bush, you don’t get to pick the latter.)

    Please note that this thing we call “reality” has settings other than “Cuba” and “crony capitalism”. If you don’t want a country dedicated to promoting the general welfare, I suggest you consider emigrating to a libertarian paradise like Somalia.

  42. Nargel

    I’m not sure how trying to make life better for everybody as opposed to just the already rich is such a bad thing.

    That’s a fine thing and I’m all for it. But your statement assumes that those not on the Left are for something else, when in fact, we simply disagree on the methods.

    The United States is by far the most successful economy in the world. And people keep trying to screw with the things that made it that way. Clearly there is room for improvement, nothing’s perfect, but America was founded on the principle that people should be afforded the opportunity to succeed. It was not founded on assuring that you would succeed.

    Clearly we can do a better job of leveling the playing field and improvements in this area are welcome, I would imagine, by all sides. But where we part company is when you advocate leveling the reward for taking risks.

    I am simply not interested in a solution that makes everyone the same on the benefit side because it will also tend to equalize them risk-taking side: i.e. people will become risk averse.

    And we as a society are already too risk averse.

    We are what we are because we encourage risk-taking and we allow the reward that comes with succeeding. Unfortunately that means people are also allowed to suffer the consequences of losing their bet.

    Generally speaking, and when you look around the world, you can either have a powerful economy or a welfare-economy but you can’t have both.

    This is the land of opportunity. That’s why people want to emigrate here.

    There are plenty of welfare economies in the world. We don’t need to turn America into one.

  43. In the short term, Bush will leave office around 33%. Long term Bush will be ranked at the bottom 2 or 3 of presidents or middle high range, depending on how the country goes.

    IF Ahghanistan and Iraq conclude as victories, Bush will go to the mid-rank, regardless of how poorly the economy does. IF the economy straightens out short term, he’ll go even higher. A 100 years from now, no one is going to care about the Patriot Act or Gitmo.

    IF Iraq and Afghanistan go down the tubes, Bush will be considered one of the worst. But so will Obama. Like it or not, Bush popularity will be tied to how well Obama can finish the job, with failure rebounding against Obama every bit as much as Bush, perhaps even more as Bushites will have some success to point to prior to his leaving office.

    And I doubt that Bush will be big into pardons. He is too rigidly moral to let Ryan, etc. off the hook and, despite his faults, Bush does not seem the type that would sell a pardon, unlike Clinton.

  44. I think Bush’s approval rating is going up because he seems to be genuinely cooperating with the Obama transition team. Add to that the reluctance of Obama team to criticize Bush while relying on that cooperation, and Bush seems to approach the minimum competence level.

    Of course, he could still blow it with some high-profile pardons or regulatory changes.

  45. Bush has been pretty stingy on the pardons, and I think it depends on what regulatory changes he makes and how the upcoming congress chooses to deal with them. The most recent one I recall is allowing drilling somewheres in Wyoming (maybe Colorado) that doesn’t necessarily make a good argument for the Dems to win. Maybe if he were to pardon himself and everyone else in the administration? :-)

    If it’s Obama picking and choosing which battles to fight, I think he has a better than even chance to get reelected in ’12. If its some of the congresspeople leading the charge, its going to be a different story.


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