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NBC/WSJ: Bad News for Bush, Good News for GOP?

The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll has President Bush's job approval sinking to a new low of 36%. Coupled with a 3-point drop in Rasmussen's daily tracking poll (which is a big one-day move for the Rasmussen poll) Bush's job approval in the RealClearPolitics Poll Average dropped below 35% for the first time ever, at 34.8%.

As I wrote last week when the FOX News poll showed the President's approval at 33%, this might be the beginning of a more serious deterioration in Bush's poll numbers. CNN's poll this week registering 32% is hard to gauge given it is a new polling firm and it is their first poll. All in all, below 35% in the RCP Average is a problem for the President and indicates loss of core Republican support.

One ray of good news for Republicans in the NBC/WSJ poll is while Bush's support ticked down 1-point to a new low, the generic ballot for Congress (the way Peter Hart and Bill McIntuff ask it) registered a 7-point bounce towards congressional Republicans. In their previous poll (taken Mar 10 - 13) Democrats held a 13-point edge in who the public wanted to control Congress, compared to only a 6-point lead today (45-39). Given that Democrats always poll a little more favorably in this question, that result is bad news for Democrats dreaming of taking over the House.

But before Republicans jump for joy they should remember that this is one isolated poll and all of the other generic polls continue to show Democrats more solidly ahead. The RCP average has Democrats leading by 10.8%.

It will be interesting to see what the new round of major polls coming out soon will indicate on the generic ballot. It's possible that Republicans in Congress have picked up overall support from the immigration issue, where the President has not, because he has been closer to the McCain/Kennedy approach and out of step with many in the GOP.