it's the economy...
There's an interesting article in the WaPo suggesting that the war isn't going to make many Americans' concerns about the economy go away:
Frank Miller drives a truck for a living, moving cargo from the port, paid by the trip. Work is slow and getting slower. "I think I'm your typical American," Miller said. "All we talk about is the war. But all I think about is my paycheck."
As the country prepared for war last week, something else was bothering many Americans as much if not more: the economy. The stock market is jumpy. Consumer confidence, which drives spending, is flaccid. Jobs are harder to find. People who are laid off are more likely to stay that way longer. States are raising taxes and fees. The long-awaited recovery seems to keep receding into the future, delayed to next month or next quarter or next year.
Now, the article makes clear that the public doesn't hold Bush solely responsible for the economy, but it's certainly fair to suggest that voters are prepared to evaluate Bush's economic policies on their perception of their own benefit. Bush is indeed certain to spend the post-war, pre-election months "talking about the economy non-stop," but I think people aren't so much interested as to whether they perceive Bush as caring about the economy--which, of course, however sincere it may be (pause for derisive snort), is also inextricably bound to his chances for re-election--as his efficacy in reviving the sluggish economy.