Bush's poll tumble: the fine print

class=img_thumbleft> The Harris Poll released on November 17 contains the lowest approval rating for George W. Bush yet logged by any major survey firm: 34 percent, compared to 65 percent disapproval. That's down 16 points from Bush's 50 percent approval a year ago, around the time he was re-elected. And it's 14 points below his Harris Poll high-water mark for 2005: 48 percent back in February.

As the media have noted repeatedly, the Republicans in Congress aren't faring much better in the court of opinion. Their 2005 Harris rankings, approval number first:

November 27% 69% August 32% 64% June 37% 58% April 36% 61%

But there is a kicker that nearly everyone seems to have overlooked. The Democrats in Congress remain even more unpopular than their Republican counterparts. Their Harris ratings from the same periods:

November 25% 70% August 31% 65% June 33% 61% April 34% 64%

It appears the grand Democratic strategy of standing back and letting the Republicans sink themselves is working roughly as well as it did in the 2004 campaign.

Read the WSJ's free-database story on the 11/17 Harris Poll.