WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush's approval ratings have sunk to a personal low, with only a third of Americans saying they approve of the way he is handling his job, a national poll released Monday said.You know, I personally wish CNN had used the more mathematically correct description: Less than one third of Americans approve. But given what the numbers actually are, I'll spot CNN the 1.333%.
In the telephone poll of 1,012 adult Americans carried out Friday through Sunday by Opinion Research Corporation for CNN, 32 percent of respondents said they approve of Bush's performance, 60 percent said they disapprove and 8 percent said they do not know.
There's actually something much more interesting in the bottom of that poll (PDF), however:
6. How worried would you be if the price of gas were twice as high as it is now but you had no difficulty finding gas to purchase -- very worried, somewhat worried, not too worried or not worried at all?So people are saying that they would prefer some difficulty in actually getting gas, to higher prices in a market they could still get gasoline in. It would seem that we can infer a number of conclusions from these results:
Very worried 70%
Somewhat worried 21%
Not too worried 5%
Not worried at all 4%
No opinion 1%
7. How worried would you be if gas prices did not rise but you had to wait in long lines to buy gasoline or if there were restrictions on when you could buy gasoline or how much you could buy -- very worried, somewhat worried, not too worried or not worried at all?
Very worried 47%
Somewhat worried 35%
Not too worried 9%
Not worried at all 8%
No opinion 1%
1) People are not inimically opposed to the idea of rationing, or fuel lotteries, or any number of restrictive policies the likes of which Nixon and Carter used. Indeed, they might prefer them to the alternative.
2) 91% of respondents say they're somewhat or very worried about a further doubling of fuel prices. I don't think there's much more room for the price of oil to go before the US sees a major recession. I expect it's actually a lot less than a doubling - $150/barrel sound like time to start hoarding dry goods to me.
Seems to me there's a real opportunity for Democrats in the US and Liberals or NDP here in Canada. As gas prices climb, people will demand that the government do something. Now, I haven't seen a price cap that I thought would actually help matters, but that's not to say some restrictions on demand might not work, especially if they were coupled with major investments in mass transit.
Expect some proposal like this to be made, and to be immediately attacked as the next worst thing since the Gulag Archipelago.