With the election now less than 50 days away, I thought it might be fun to highlight some late evening/morning news items that the media might chose to ignore. After all, in the past three business days, the press have chosen to mostly ignore plummeting natural gas and heating bills as reported here, and plummeting gas prices as reported here. What might represent their most absurd negligence today?
Well, here are two obvious candidates; you decide. First up has to be the just released results of a USA Today/Gallup poll indicating that President Bush’s approval rating has risen to 44 percent (highest in a year), and that likely voters are now evenly split between Democrats and Republicans in the upcoming elections (details to follow).
The second item the media could ignore is the fabulous news just released by the Labor Department concerning wholesale inflation:
US inflation at the wholesale level rose slightly in August, but prices outside of energy and food fell for the second consecutive month as car and truck prices fell sharply, the Labor Department said Tuesday.
The department's Producer Price Index, which measures inflation pressures before they reach the consumer, rose 0.1 pct last month, slower than the 0.3 pct gain analysts had expected. The PPI rose also rose just 0.1 pct in July.
The so-called core-rate of wholesale inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, unexpectedly fell 0.4 pct in the month after falling 0.3 pct in July. That's the first time the core-rate of wholesale inflation has fallen for two consecutive since November and December 2002. Economists had expected the core rate to rise 0.2 pct in August.
Great news, yes? Think Brian, Katie, or Charlie will tell people this evening? Or, how about all the neat little details from that USA Today/Gallup Poll:
Amid falling gas prices and a two-week drive to highlight his administration's efforts to fight terrorism, President Bush's approval rating has risen to 44% in a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll. That's his highest rating in a year.
The poll also showed likely voters evenly divided between Democratic and Republican candidates for Congress, 48%-48%.
The hits kept on coming in this poll:
The new findings reflect "a consistent, persistent, tenacious effort to make ... the Republican Party's ability to deal with terrorism the No. 1 issue in the campaign," said political scientist Richard Eichenberg of Tufts University, who has studied presidential job ratings during wartime. He called it "a carbon copy" of the successful 2004 playbook.
Bush's approval rating has edged up largely on the strength of Republicans coming back to the fold — 86% with him now compared with 70% in May.
Scott Reed, a Republican strategist who ran Bob Dole's 1996 presidential campaign, said GOP fortunes have turned since Labor Day: "This has been the best two weeks Republicans have had since Bush was re-elected."
The new poll found likely voters more prone to vote for candidates who support Bush on terrorism, 45%-28%, and evenly divided on those who support and oppose Bush on Iraq. More than a quarter said Iraq is their top concern this fall. For the first time since December 2005, a majority of people did not say the war there was a mistake; the split was 49%-49%.
Bush's terror-fighting techniques drew mixed reviews. A 55%-42% majority supported his policy of wiretapping phone conversations between U.S. citizens here and suspected terrorists in other countries without getting a court order.
Will any of this get reported this evening? Cast your votes, folks.