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"Look at These Numbers"

Reported by Judy - February 8, 2005

John Gibson certainly knows how to drive home a point, whether it's a valid one or not. During Tuesday's (February 8) "Big Story" Gibson repeatedly told us how great George Bush's latest approval rating is.

Democrats, he said, "hammer, hammer, hammer" and Bush's numbers go up. Later, he said, "Honestly, these are very high numbers." Yewt again, he told Democratic strategist Dan Gerstein, "Look at these numbers."

OK, let's look at the numbers. Unfortunately, Gibson never showed us any. He just told us that these "very high numbers" amounted to a 57 percent approval rating. Well, Bush just was re-elected for crying out loud so somebody must like him. He's had the public stage virtually to himself for months, with nothing going on except inaugural galas and the State of the Union speech. Throw in only 44 people killed during the Iraqi election, and is it really so amazing that his approval rating would go up?

What I was looking for from Gibson was some context so that I could decide for myself if "honestly these are very high numbers." You know, the old "We report, you decide" concept. Didn't get it from Gibson, so I went looking for myself.

The 57 percent Bush approval rating came from Gallup Poll from a sampling of Americans taken Feb. 4-6. Bush's highest rating in the Gallup Poll was 90 percent shortly after 9/11 and 46 percent last May.

Furthermore, according to Gallup, "Public opinion on the 'state of the nation' can be assessed in a review of three key measures: the current president's job approval rating, the public's satisfaction with the way things are going in the country today, and public confidence in economic conditions."

Looking at those other numbers, which Gibson didn't share, the numbers are not so rosy for Bush. According to Gallup's latest measure, taken Jan. 3-4, only 46 percenty of Americans were satisfied with the state of the nation, while 53 percent were dissatisfied. The numbers for confidence in the economy also are worrisome for the president: 41 percent thought it excellent or good, and 59 percent fair or poor.

For comparison, the highest satisfaction level for the state of the nation recorded by Gallup was 71 percent in 1999 and the highest level of confidence in the economy came in both July and August 2000, when 74 percent thought the economy excellent or good and only 25 percent thought it poor or fair.

Now, those are really high numbers, honestly. But we all know who was president then and why Gibson didn't provide them.

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