Monthly Discussion



Bush痴 Chances for Reelection


We see much in the news recently about Bush痴 declining popularity and his chances for reelection in a little over a year痴 time. But journalism can be deceiving. Journalists love to make waves, and the font size of a daily痴 front-page story can lead astray nave minds. The wise person needs to be suspicious of headlines and should try to understand things in terms of 斗aws, 妬nvariants, and more fundamental principles.

Let痴 take Bush痴 popularity. Like that of any president痴, it invariably jumps (upward or downward, as the case may be) following a significant event. But with time, things quite down again. Still, they may not end up going back to what was the case before the event took place. For example the 911 event propelled Bush to record-high levels of popularity: over 90% approval in a Gallup poll. Exhibit 3 tells us that the aftermath was a steady decline in Bush痴 popularity. But a natural-pattern decline indicates that his popularity would not drop much below 50%.

Exhibit 3. The rather respectable Gallup Poll. Two S-curves are fitted to the different sections of the data series data.


We did not get the chance to find out how far Bush痴 popularity would have dropped because the declaration of the Iraq war propelled Bush once again to new highs. It is known that action gets the audience excited, as it happens with James Bond movies. But once again the excitement subsided with time. However, this time, the natural decline promises to leave Bush with 58% approval rate!

Besides the Gallup poll, I looked at a poll that addressed more directly the question who you would vote for today with the question: "If the election were held today, would you definitely vote to reelect George W. Bush as president, consider voting for someone else, or definitely vote for someone else as president?" see Exhibit 4.



Exhibit 4. Ipsos-Reid/Cook Political Report Poll. S-curves are fitted to the data.


Here the Iraq war seems to have less of an impact. Bush痴 voters went down from 55% to 43% mostly because people are ready to vote for someone else. But Bush痴 decline has stopped (turquoise line) and those who値l vote for another (purple S-curve) has a ceiling of 35%. There is a crucial

100 43 35 = 22% of the voting population unaccounted for!

Bush could well be reelected with his 45% given the likelihood of the other votes being split among different candidates and non-voters. Alternatively, Bush痴 popularity may jump a yet another time following some new 殿ction event.


One way or another, Bush is more likely than not to be reelected!


The data come from http://www.pollingreport.com/