Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup poll, said Bush's slowly sinking job approval rating, down to 46 percent in his latest survey, was similar to the dropping trajectory of the last three incumbents to lose their elections -- George Bush, the current president's father, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford.
In contrast, the five most recent incumbent presidents who won their elections never dipped below 50 percent in their job approval rating at any point in the election year, he said.
"The Bush campaign has to be concerned and worried at this point," Newport said. "When you look at the trend, you certainly see that Bush is beginning to track the trajectory of the three losing presidents rather than the winners."
The 46 percent who approved of Bush's handling of the job in Monday's Gallup poll was the lowest of his presidency. An NBC/Wall St. Journal poll last week put his approval rating at 47 percent, with 49 percent saying he did not deserve re-election and 50 percent saying the country was headed in the wrong direction.
UNDECIDEDS OFTEN GO TO CHALLENGER
Low approval and re-election numbers are particularly bad for an incumbent, who already is well known to voters. Undecided voters, who have had plenty of time to evaluate the incumbent, often break heavily for the challenger.
Polls have found growing majorities of Americans, confronted daily with depressing pictures of death in Iraq and abuse of Iraqi prisoners, disapprove of Bush's handling of Iraq and of the economy.
The events of the past week or so have been surreal, but we need to stay focused. Getting the asshole who caused this mess out, and putting the grownups back in charge.