President George W. Bush's job approval ratings have dipped to record lows in both Wisconsin and Iowa, according to the latest round of surveys released this month by the pollster SurveyUSA.
In a poll of 600 adults conducted May 11-13, only 32 percent of Wisconsinites approved of Bush's performance—down from the previous low of 33 percent set last month. This is the lowest approval rating by any public poll in Wisconsin released during Bush's tenure in the White House. A record 67 percent of Badger State residents disapprove of Bush's performance. One year ago, Bush was polling in the mid- to high 30s in Wisconsin, and two years ago, when SurveyUSA began regular approval ratings, Bush received marks in the low 40s.
In Iowa, SurveyUSA measured the Bush approval rating at 31 percent—a record low, just as the 67 percent disapproval rating was a record high for Bush in the Hawkeye State. The previous lowest approval rating measured by SurveyUSA was 34 percent, set last month.
The low marks in Iowa reported by SurveyUSA were trumped, however, by the latest KCCI-TV / Research 2000 poll, conducted May 14-16 of 600 likely voters. In that poll only 30 percent of Iowans approved of Bush's performance, while 68 percent disapproved.
This "Bush drag" unquestionably hurt GOP Congressional and state legislative candidates in the November 2006 elections. If Bush's approval ratings do not improve in the next year and a half, the question will become whether or not this drag will be trumped by the enthusiasm the new Republican presidential candidate can buoy with Republicans and independent voters in crucial swing states, like Iowa and Wisconsin.