The wheels are visibly coming off the wagon:
Associated Press (poll conducted 2/22-2/24): "More than half of Americans, 55 percent, say they oppose the president's plan to create private accounts, while 39 percent say they support it, according to the poll conducted for AP by Ipsos-Public Affairs."
USA Today (poll conducted 2/25-2/27): "A USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll conducted Friday-Sunday found that 35% approved of Bush's Social Security record, 56% disapproved and 9% had no opinion. That was down from three weeks ago, when 43% approved. In March 2001, just after he took office, 49% approved...
The poll showed that Democrats have made headway in their opposition to Bush. In early January, Americans divided evenly when asked whether Social Security needs major changes in the next year or two. Now 59% say it doesn't need to be changed right away....
47% of Americans said they trust the Democrats more to deal with the issue of Social Security, a 10-point advantage over Republicans.
What kills me is the pretense that these numbers just mean the President needs to "educate" the American people more. He's presented his message, and gotten killed. Maybe most people just don't like the idea. But check out how this is being played by Republicans and the AP:
"This is the mother of all issues," said House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, adding that opponents of the president's plans "are better organized than we are."
DeLay, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and numerous other GOP lawmakers said Bush's public campaigning has begun to show results. "People have bought into the fact that we have a problem" with Social Security's future financing, said Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia.
At the same time, they said Bush has much more work ahead of him to build support for his plans for personal investment accounts as part of a bill to make Social Security solvent for the long term.
"The president will have to stay out there and lead on it, when a lot of political figures want to run and hide and when you have a lot of people who say there's no problem," Frist, R-Tenn., said in a shot at Democrats.
...The White House and Republican National Committee have set up an elaborate political operation to build support. But as DeLay's comments indicated, Democrats and their allies have been quick off the mark as they accuse Bush of seeking benefit cuts to pay for privatization of Social Security.
Chuck Schumer gets it, though - here's his quote from the same story: "'In two months, the President has created a firestorm against' his own plan." Indeed.