Can George W. Bush Be Beaten in 2004?

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U.S. President George W. Bush's approval rating dropped to 49 percent last week in an NBC-Wall Street Journal poll, his lowest rating since the 2001 terrorist attacks. Amid a still-sluggish economy, concerns about postwar Iraq and ballooning budget deficits, some are wondering aloud whether one of the candidates in the heated-up Democratic race could defeat Bush in 2004. However, many other presidents experienced similar drops in approval before being elected to second terms, and some political commentators dismiss the low approval rating as irrelevant. What do you think? Is Bush untouchable in 2004, as he seemed to be several months ago, or has the nation's mood changed enough to elect one of the Democrats to the presidency?

Please limit your responses to 80 words or less. The best entries reflecting the balance of opinions expressed will be published on throughout the week.

Some of your responses so far:

Unfortunately no, I don't believe so. Bush has too much money and the backing of big business, and right or wrong, the richer guy usually wins in American elections. But then again Americans rejected his "unbeatable" father because of his poor handling of the economy, so maybe history will repeat itself? For the good of the world I certainly hope so.
Darragh Halpin

Can George W. Bush be beaten in 2004? Yes, he can. Will he be beaten? With the lack of a serious opponent, probably not. Though Bush has been sub-par in areas such as the economy and enviornment, the weak field of Democrats will keep him in office another term.
Mike Anderson
Syracuse, N.Y.

A year ago I held my new granddaughter in my hands realizing that she might live across the entire 21st century. For her sake — with looming issues such as climate change, runaway debt, environmental indifference, and a growing divide between the rich and poor — George W. Bush must be soundly trounced.
Erik Esselstyn
Hartland, Vt.

No, I simply don't think that George W. Bush can be beaten in 2004. He has done too much in this war and brought this country back to what it's supposed to be — no matter how much the mainstream media would have us believe! I'm so glad for Rush Limbaugh, to tell the truth!
Colleen Cashin
North Carolina

Yes, George Bush is beatable! And, thank goodness. His leadership, or lack thereof, has already greatly diminished our position in the world today. I'm ready for the election now!
Emily Turner
Florence, Ala.

Hopefully, for those Americans who are counting on some sort of Social Security and Medicare coverage in their old age. His tax cuts and federal budget deficit are a thinly veiled declaration of of war on these benefits for future generations of Americans. If this is something the average American is made aware of, I am sure Bush will lose big.
Christian Winther
Copenhagen, Denmark

Yes, he can. He needs to get back to basics. People elected him because he took to heart their needs. He came across as the guy next door with the same concerns. Now he has distanced himself from those people. He has become only about the war. He needs to get back in touch with Americans and their fears at home, about home.
Candy Murillo
Chula Vista, Calif.

Yes, I believe he can be beaten. I do wonder, however, why the poor and middle class vote for people like Bush. If the economy tanked tomorrow, Bush and his like could still afford a doctor, buy groceries and pay their electric bills, while most of the people who voted for him couldn't! It is the children of the poor and middle class who are cannon fodder for Bush's war. I think when this sinks in the country will vote him out.
Pamala Anderson
Bristol, Fla.

President Bush is the present candidate who has his feet to the ground. At my age I have seen and heard so much spin; you cannot tell when the truth is being told by the media. Too bad the younger generation can't tell fact from fiction. My vote is no. He will get a second term.
J. Sharp
Alvin, Texas

George Bush will be a very difficult incumbent to unseat next November, the main reason being the party he belongs to. Republicans are simply more loyal and committed to their leaders than Democrats. Democrats felt that Al Gore was too boring and dull to rally behind in 2000. The Democrats didn't show up when it mattered — election day. It happened in 2000 and will likely happen again in 2004.
Pasha Sidhu
Toronto, Canada

America's existence depends upon it. As an overseas resident I have seen a groundswell of support for the U.S. following 9/11 turn into overwhelming contempt and hostility, due primarily to George Bush. He has damaged the U.S. more profoundly than 100 Osama Bin Ladens ever could. We have lost the world's hearts and minds because Bush has neither. How can anyone forget Vietnam?
D. Childs

Beaten? I believe the question is can he be re-elected. Before even discussing Iraq, a firm case can be made against Bush for his failures with education, the environment, and obviously our struggling economy. We need a president who is going to find a way to put those almost four million Americans who lost their jobs back into the work force. Not another leader who goes out of his way to save money for the upper class, while our nation sinks further and further into debt.
Jonathan Butler
Rindge, N.H.

Can President Bush be defeated in 2004? Certainly, as any incumbent president could. Would his defeat be good for America? No. My prediction is that by September 2004, the economy — including new jobs — will be reserved and Iraq will be seen as a major success — to the chagrin of many who read this publication.
Mike Wiley
Champlin, Minn.

Not very likely. The main reason is that this is a weak field of Democrats. It will only take some good news from the economy or the war on terror, to assure total victory for the Republican party.
Daniel J. Gale
Shepherdsville, Ky.

Yes. Historically voters are influenced by their wallets. Since jobs are still scarce, many voters will opt for a change. With a war that has yet to be finished, a debt that is skyrocketing, a foreign policy that is costing us international support, Bush hasn't accomplished his mission nor has he shown much ability to. If the Democrats get their act together, his bid for a second term will come up short just as his father did 12 years ago.
Rick Spicer
Langley, Wash.

Bush can only be beaten by someone who makes Americans feel more secure. Foreign policy experience is a must, as is a certain paternal demeanor. The candidate must project stability — a steady hand at the wheel. As I see it, only John Kerry and Wesley Clark can take down the standing President.
Walter Fekete
Jersey City, N.J.

Last Week's Question: What do you think is Ronald Reagan's legacy?