A bad news Wall

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A bad news Wall Street Journal poll for the president …

Almost three months into President Bush’s second term, a raft of economic and social issues — Social Security, immigration, gay marriage and the recent national debate over Terri Schiavo — is splintering the Republican base.

After winning re-election on the strength of support from nine in 10 Republican voters, the president is seeing significant chunks of that base balk at major initiatives, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows. One-third of Republicans say Democrats in Congress should prevent Mr. Bush and party leaders from “going too far in pushing their agenda,” and 41% oppose eliminating filibusters against Mr. Bush’s judicial nominees — the “nuclear option” that Senate Republican leaders are considering.

Also of note …

On his centerpiece initiative of Social Security, for instance, 32% of Republicans call it “a bad idea” to let workers invest payroll taxes in the stock markets.

Despite Mr. Bush’s cross-country tour to sell his plan, that proportion has held steady since January, while resistance among Democrats and senior citizens has driven overall opposition to 55% from the 50% recorded on the eve of his second inauguration. On Social Security, “opinions are hardening in a way that makes Bush’s job more difficult,” Mr. McInturff says.

On judicial nominations — a cause of contention between the White House and Democratic leaders — resistance among rank-and-file Republicans is even higher. Four in 10 say the option of filibusters should be preserved.

Tomorrow, more on the <$NoAd$> doctrine of Rovian infallibility.

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