President Bush's approval numbers are dropping, including what's being called his "trustworthiness".

Continuing a decline that has gone on for more than a year, 55% of those surveyed said Bush was honest and trustworthy. That compares to 59% the last time the question was asked in November, and 70% when the question was asked in early January 2003.
Why are these numbers changing?

1. President Bush has actually become less trustworthy, and the poll results reflect an accurate assessment of this difference.
2. President Bush is just as trustworthy now as ever, and the public's earlier high marks were mistaken.
3. President Bush is just as trustworthy now as ever, and the public's current low(er) marks are mistaken.

Which possibility one prefers will reveal a lot. Number (1) seems the least likely, since people don't tend to change a great deal in a short period of time; then again, if anything were likely to change a person, it would be bearing presidential responsibility for the country in such a difficult time.

Most Democrats would probably claim (2) is true, and most Republicans would say (3). The difference, as I see it, is that most Democrats on the angry left probably don't care what the actual answer is and probably don't care if President Bush is actually trustworthy or not -- as long as his poll numbers go down. In contrast, Republicans tend to be more moralistic voters.



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