Where’s the bounce?

Americans are -- surprise! -- divided on the president's handling of Katrina. It's been a long time since 9/11.

Topics: George W. Bush, War Room,

Again and again Monday, we heard CNN’s Bill Schneider say that an ABC News/Washington Post Poll shows that Americans aren’t ready to blame George W. Bush for the federal government’s slow response to the Hurricane Katrina.

Oh, really?

It’s true that the poll didn’t show a majority of Americans disapproving of the president’s efforts on Katrina, but a within-the-margin-of-error plurality did: Forty-seven percent of respondents said they disapproved of Bush’s Katrina efforts while 46 percent said they approved. Given the way most of the president’s poll numbers have looked lately — his overall approval rating is floating in the 40 to 45 percent range — maybe a 47-46 split should be considered some kind of victory.

But before Karl Rove breathes a sigh of relief — and we know that he isn’t — it might be wise to keep these poll results in perspective: In a USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll taken not long after 9/11, 88 percent of the public approved of the job Bush was doing. Americans rally around their president at times of disaster. They aren’t doing it this time, at least not yet.

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