At a press conference on October 4, President Bush argued that he was the right person to bridge the racial divide in America:
You address the racial divide in a variety of ways. And, obviously, the tone matters from leadership. It matters what leaders say. It matters that somebody, first of all, understands there’s a problem and is willing to talk about it. And I will continue to do so as the President.
Apparently, it isn’t working so well. A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll finds that just 2 percent of African-Americans approve of his leadership. NBC’s Tim Russert — who called the number “a dramatic setback” — looked into it, and he could not “find a pollster who can remember any President ever getting just 2 percent approval from African-Americans.”
To be fair, the margin of error on the poll is 3.4%. So Bush’s actual approval among African Americans could be anywhere from -1.4% to 5.4%.
RUSSERT: And Matt, the most astounding number in this: 2 percent – just 2 percent – of African-Americans give George Bush a positive rating for his performance as President. The memories of Katrina very much in their minds.
LAUER: Is that what this is all about? I mean, obviously that is just a startling number, 2 percent of African-Americans. Is this all about the aftermath of Katrina?
RUSSERT: Well, the imagery of that along with the economy and fuel prices and Iraq, but that event, Matt, really did have a searing effect. George Bush and the Republican Party has tried very hard to reach out to African-American voters, but this is a very dramatic setback. I cannot find a pollster who can remember any President ever getting just 2 percent approval from African-Americans.