He’s lost 19 points among moderate and liberal Republicans in the last five months, and 29 points since January ’05. By contrast, only 11 and 14 percent of conservative Republicans abandoned ship during the same periods. Seems counterintuitive considering that Bush himself is a RINO in so many ways, but of course there’s a strong correlation between how far to the left or right one’s political views are and how strongly one supports the war. As things drag on in Iraq, Bush will pay a bigger price with centrists.

Danielle Pletka and Michael Rubin of AEI had an op-ed in the LA Times last week that might also partly explain the defection. According to P&R, Bush has betrayed the initial idealism of his foreign policy by buddying up to thugs like Qadaffi and Hu Jintao. Quote:

At his second inauguration, President Bush declared: “The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.”

Since that soaring pronouncement, the Bush administration has watched Egypt abrogate elections, ignored the collapse of the so-called Cedar Revolution in Lebanon and abandoned imprisoned Chinese dissidents; now Washington is mulling a peace treaty with Stalinist North Korea.

The question is, which group would object to this more fervently: moderate/liberal Republicans, or strong conservatives? I suspect the latter, which might explain why the lion’s share of those 14 points he’s lost among hardliners disappeared so recently.

More polls? Well, Rasmussen decided to re-run the 2004 election and discovered two things. First, Kerry wins this time by seven points. And second, he’s still a terrible candidate:

President Bush is still trusted by a few more voters than Kerry on the National Security issue. However, the President’s advantage is much smaller than it was during the election season–44% now trust the President more while 41% opt for Kerry…

On immigration, 43% trust the President more while 40% prefer Kerry.

You don’t need a poll to tell you how terrible he is, though. Some of the righty blogosphere’s heaviest hitters are reacting this morning to news that Kerry wants a rematch with the Swift Vets. Captain Ed, Patterico, Tom Maguire, and Jon Henke are incredulous.

Finally, here’s a fascinating poll from Gallup about trends in public attitudes towards various moral issues. Note the numbers for capital punishment, stem-cell research, and abortion. I have no explanation, but if anyone wants to venture one, I’m all ears. Insofar as they suggest the emergence of a “party of death,” I’ll bet Ramesh Ponnuru has some theories.