I thought it would be fun to plot data from the two polls on the same graph and I came up with this:
The plots look amazingly complimentary as if "approve" was being plotted against "disapprove" on the same issue asked of the same people; the totals for each year -- except 2002, which is a special, post 911 case -- are approximately 100%! Could there be a negative correlation between Bush's approval rating and pharma's?
It's interesting that the chart shows Bush -- and by extension the Republican party -- and the pharma industry parting ways. From the looks of it, you certainly cannot say "As goes Pharma, so go the Republicans."
It should be noted that the Republican party fared no better in the Times/CBS poll on a number of issues, including health care and the price of drugs for the elderly: only 19% of respondents felt that Republicans are more likely to improve the health care system (vs. 62% for Democrats) and only 18% felt that Republicans are more likely to make prescription drugs for the elderly more affordable (vs. 61% for Democrats). See the NYT chart.But, you don't need a chart to see that. In the 2 years, notable Republican Congressman have distanced themselves from the drug industry in very public ways. First, presidential hopeful Senator Frist lambasted the industry on DTC advertising (see "Deconstructing Frist on DTC"). Then there's Senator Grassley constantly launching investigations of industry practices.
The NYT/CBS poll results suggest that all this anti-industry grandstanding hasn't helped the Republicans much. Maybe they need a less "less unpopular" target, like the oil industry?