The mainstream media just can't get it right. The latest big thing they are trying to sell you is that Bush won some kind of great public relations victory over Iraq in September and SCHIP in October and somehow the Republican Party is on the road to recovery. As is usual with such hype, nothing could be further from the truth.
As you can see from this handy-dandy blended poll from Pollster.com, Bush's popularity has begun to fall again, from 33% to 32.6%. Not such a big fall in itself, I agree, but look at the shape of the polls from this year. Bush began the year with a fairly stable 34% approval. His numbers fell off a cliff when he began pushing hard for an immigration reform program that embraced what many Republicans considered to be "amnesty" for illegal aliens. Bush's support for amnesty caused his support to fail even within his base, and his approval sank as low as 29% in the blended poll. Bush recovered most of what he lost when he renounced amnesty, getting back to 33% before the September battle over Iraq funding.
Bush gained nothing from the Iraq debate or SCHIP, and now his numbers have begun to slide again. A glance at the chart reveals that this is part of an ongoing pattern where Bush loses approval and then recovers partially, before the slide starts again.
The new combative Bush that vetoes important bills just to feel relevant isn't going to win any popularity points. When you consider what is on the horizon: $100 oil, the housing market crisis, the looming recession brought on by his policies, and his war mongering, Bush is poised for another long slide downwards.