THE FALL OF 2005 WAS A PERFECT STORM of troubles for the Bush administration and the Republican Congress: overspending, public tiring of the Iraq War, Katrina, Harriet Miers, the indictment of Tom DeLay, the Abramoff scandal, the Valerie Plame affair and its possible threat to Karl Rove, skyrocketing gas prices, and collapsing approval ratings for President Bush and the Republican Congress.
Bush's personal approval rating fell from 50 percent the day he was re-elected in 2004 to 39 percent in November 2005. The public sense of right track/wrong track moved from 44/51 in January 2005 to 33/64 by early December 2005. October 25 saw the 2,000th American death in Iraq, and fully 60 percent of Americans said they no longer thought the war was worth it. Americans felt the Democrats would do better than the Republicans on Iraq by 6 points, on the economy by 12 points, and even on taxes by 8 points.