It goes without saying that George Bush has been very unpopular for a very long time. In fact, it looks like the last time George Bush cracked 50 percent in an approval poll was in December in 2004. Even that poll was an outlier, because you have to go all the way back to July of that year to find multiple polls in a row showing W. at even or better in popularity.
So obviously, what the Bush Administration has been doing politically for the last couple of years has been an enormous failure and even though Bush doesn't have to run again, his lack of popularity is a big problem. As long as Bush is sitting at 35% in the polls, the Democrats will be emboldened, it will hurt the war effort, and it will make it very difficult for Republicans to make significant gains in 2008.
But, isn't it too late for George Bush to turn things around? Not at all if he's willing to change his tactics and start taking advantage of the opportunities that present themselves. So, what does he need to do?
#1) The war has obviously been a big drag on Bush's approval. However, the surge has proven to be extremely effective so far and we now have good reason to be optimistic about how things will turn out in Iraq. If, as expected, the Iraqis take over day to day policing of their own country by the end of the year, not only will American casualties in Iraq plunge, we'll be able to bring large numbers of our troops home in 2008. That may not make much of a difference to the hard core left wingers, but the rest of America would be quite pleased with that turn of events and it would certainly have a positive impact on Bush’s poll numbers.
#2) The tough on illegal immigration crowd, which comprises most people on the right, has been slugging it out with George Bush, John McCain, the Wall Street Journal and the rest of the open borders crowd for two years now. That has kept the right divided on the illegal immigration issue.
Moreover, that situation seems likely to continue into 2008 because the Democrats may push through an amnesty with the help of George Bush, John McCain, and a few other renegade Republicans, but it seems more likely that the Republicans in the House, with the help of some blue dog Democrats, will stop the bill in the House.