There's an interesting article on Salon today by Eric Boehlert, suggesting that Bush's speech on Sept. 7 caused a "holy shit" moment among Americans, leading to Bush's current drop in the polls.
It probably did help. Here's Boehlert:
The subsequent poll results have been stark for the White House. According to last week's New York Times/CBS News survey, just 47 percent of Americans approve of the way Bush is handling the situation in Iraq. That's down 10 points since August. A bipartisan 61 percent don't support Bush's request for $87 billion.
According to a Gallup poll taken between Sept. 19-21, 50 percent think the war in Iraq was worth it. That's down from 63 percent on the eve of Bush's September address. Gallup also found Bush lost 7 points off his approval rating immediately following his Sept. 7 speech, hitting the lowest point of his presidency.
Meanwhile, the New York Times/CBS found 51 percent – also a new low -- approve of the job he's doing as president. Perhaps even more telling was the 42 percent who disapprove of his performance as president. That's the highest negative rating the ongoing Times/CBS poll has ever recorded during Bush’s presidency.
Even the Fox News poll -- which has routinely found higher approval ratings for Bush than other surveys -- reported that his standing fell from 58 to 50 percent in the two weeks immediately following his Sept. 7 prime time speech. That 8-point drop represents the biggest survey-to-survey decline recorded by Fox since Bush took office.
But those of us who have been paying attention know that the myth of Dubya the "popular wartime president" has always been only that: a myth. Looking at his numbers in context show that he has never really had solid support, but people felt like rallying around the flagpole. Bush just had to stand near it.