White House strategists are feeling a new rush of optimism about President Bush’s remaining 10 months in office. One reason is a new internal Republican poll, obtained by U.S. News, which indicates that while Bush’s job-approval ratings remain low, some of his major policies have become quite popular. If Bush and his surrogates can make the policies better known, GOP strategists believe that will lift not only Bush’s approval ratings but the overall standing of his party.
What has the West Wing buzzing is a survey by GOP pollster Ed Goeas of the Tarrance Group that found that, for all his troubles, voters still like the president. “Fully 56 percent of likely voters approve of the president personally, driven by voter sentiments that he is a person of strong moral character and integrity,” Goeas writes in a private analysis designed for Republican leaders. “If the situation in Iraq continues to improve and the national economy improves, this goodwill will be crucial in allowing voters to change their assessment of his job performance.”