A Polarizing Bush Despite a New Cast





Mr. Bush, by temperament, governing style and political design, is a polarizing president like no other, pollsters say. And no reshuffling of administration staff members or an incremental wave of good news is likely to change that.

Consider the numbers. Over the last year, Mr. Bush’s approval rating among Democrats has hovered around or below 10 percent in The New York Times/CBS News Poll. At the same time, his approval rating among Republicans has hovered in the 60s and 70s.

That gap between the views of Democrats and the views of Republicans was at its peak in 2004, and it has remained consistently, remarkably, large.

On average, it has been substantially higher than for any other modern president, said Gary C. Jacobson, a political scientist at the University of California, San Diego.

“The numbers are very clear on this,” Mr. Jacobson said. “No one comes close to him.”


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