[A]ccording to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, the fortunes of the Bush administration and the Republican Party have not yet begun to recover.
For the first time in the poll, Bush’s approval rating has sunk below 40 percent, while the percentage believing the country is heading in the right direction has dipped below 30 percent. In addition, a sizable plurality prefers a Democratic-controlled Congress, and just 29 percent think Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers is qualified to serve on the nation’s highest court.
"Any way you slice this data, I think these are just terrible sets of numbers," said Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff...
48 percent say they prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress, compared with 39 percent who want the Republicans to control Capitol Hill. In fact, that nine-point difference is the largest margin between the parties in the 11 years the NBC/Journal poll has been tracking this question.
People also seem to be turned off and unhappy with high gas prices. According to the survey, 69 percent believe the worst is still to come with energy and fuel prices. Just 25 percent think the worst is behind us.
Because of this generally sour attitude, the NBC/Journal pollsters doubt that Bush will be able to climb out of his standing anytime soon. "His trampoline [is] made of cement," Hart said.