Already the press is saying that President Bush’s approval ratings are going down due to all the Wall Street scandals.
Bush’s approval rating, according to most polls, is still around 70 percent, which is better than internal GOP predictions placed him. (In fact, even if the Zogby poll was correct, the GOP had counted on Bush’s approval ratings being around 65% at this point in time anyway.) Moreover, asking if Bush will be reelected or not now is patently rediculous as a measure of Presidential performance. The current scandals are unlikely to be a campaign issue in 2004, and the economy will probably be back on its feet long before then.
The bad economy will have a negative effect on Congressional Republicans, but it’s unlikely to be a windfall for the DNC either. The economy in general isn’t seeing the kind of negativity that Wall Street is feeling. The fact is, the corporate accounting scandals aren’t necessarily going to hit home for a lot of people. Yes, people are worried about the retirement accounts, but the market is likely to recover in the next few months to a year. People who were stupid and invested solely in one company or sector will get hosed, but those with diversified portfolios geared towards long-term investments will come out fine in the end.
For most people, this election won’t be about Enron or WorldCom, no matter how much the Democrats would like it to be. It will be about local issues and the quality of candidates, as it almost always is. Bush’s decline in approval ratings is natural after his historic highs post-September 11. They would have fallen with or without the latest corporate scandals. Those in the media screaming about an anti-Bush backlash are engaged in either a campaign to talk down the President or are simply misreading the electorate.