POLL NUMBERS….MyDD has a bunch of charts up today showing Bush’s historical approval ratings, all of which have been declining steadily since 9/11. This isn’t really news ? they’ve been declining steadily, after all ? but just in case you ever doubted that these numbers are driven more by outside events than by actual performance, consider this: after 9/11, Bush’s approval rating for handling the economy jumped from 54% to 72%.

This obviously has nothing to do with either the economy or with Bush’s handling of it, so take these polls with a big grain of salt. But there is at least one thing to take away from this: perceptions matter. Bush is vulnerable in 2004, but convincing people of that depends on both good luck and good marketing by the Democrats, not just on substantive policy.