Bush Job Approval Edges Back Up

George W. Bush, American President, Fundraising, Money, Financing CBS

President George W. Bush's overall job approval rating has risen slightly in the past few weeks, and as he travels through Asia discussing terrorism with leaders in the region, confidence in his ability to handle international crises has also risen.

Six in ten approve of the way he is handling terrorism, but approval for his handling of other issues like foreign policy, Iraq, and the economy, remains below fifty percent.

More than half of Americans are confident in Bush's handling of an international crisis, up from a low of 45 percent in late September. Still, this evaluation does not approach the highs Bush has received on this question in the past.

CONFIDENT IN BUSH'S HANDLING OF INTERNATIONAL CRISIS?
Yes
Now
53%
9/2003
45%
4/2003
66%
1/2002
76%

No
Now
42%
9/2003
50%
4/2003
31%
1/2002
21%

Despite this trip, the Bush Administration is faulted for not doing enough to gain the support of other world leaders in the fight against terrorism, and there are worries that the President does not command the respect of many of them. Concerns about the U.S. role in Iraq also remain. But the Administration does receive some credit for making the country safer from terrorism. And the President now leads an unnamed Democratic opponent as the choice of registered voters in 2004, a clear gain from August and September.

TERRORISM POLICY
Many Americans still think the Bush Administration has not done enough to enlist the support of other countries in the fight against terrorism. 68 percent think the Administration should be doing more to enlist their support in fighting terrorism, while 25 percent think the Administration has done enough.

HAS BUSH ADMINISTRATION DONE ENOUGH TO GET SUPPORT FROM FOREIGN LEADERS ON TERRORISM?
Yes
25%
No
68%


Even 52 percent of Republicans think the Administration should be doing more to get support from other world leaders.

45 percent think that world leaders have respect for Bush, while almost as many think foreign leaders do not respect him. Bush has received similarly mixed ratings on this question nearly every time this poll has asked it.

DO WORLD LEADERS HAVE RESPECT FOR GEORGE W. BUSH?
Yes 45%
No 43

Although the Bush Administration may not be viewed as being successful in gaining support overseas for anti-terrorism efforts, it does receive credit for making the country safer from terrorist attacks; 43 percent think the Administration's foreign policies have made the country safer from terrorism. 31 percent think the Administration has had no effect on terrorism, while about one in five think they have made the country less safe.

BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S FOREIGN POLICY HAS MADE COUNTRY...
Safer from terrorism
43%
Less safe from terrorism
21%
No effect on terrorism
31%

Just under two thirds of Americans think the war against terrorism is going well for the U.S. right now -- less than the percent who felt this way one year ago. The number who thinks the war on terrorism is going badly has risen slightly during that time.

HOW IS WAR ON TERRORISM GOING FOR U.S.?
Well
Now
63%
10/2002
69%

Badly
Now
31%
10/2002
27%

EVALUATING PROGRESS IN IRAQ
The Administration's recent efforts to convince Americans of successes in Iraq appears to have produced some gain in the public's assessment of U.S. progress there, but concern still remains. The public is still heavily opposed to spending the $87 billion the President has requested and that Congress is about to approve. For most Americans, the rebuilding of Iraq is not seen as part of the war on terrorism.

Today, 54 percent of Americans believe things are going at least somewhat well for the U.S. in its efforts to bring order to Iraq; last month, 49 percent believed this was the case. The percent who say things are going badly in Iraq has dropped to 43 percent today from 47 percent last month.

U.S. EFFORTS TO STABILIZE IRAQ ARE GOING...
Very/somewhat well
Now
54%
Last month
49%
8/2003
51%

Very/somewhat badly
Now
43%
Last month
47%
8/2003
47%

Americans are still not ready to declare the U.S. in control over the events taking place in Iraq. Half say the U.S. is not in control, and only 39% say it is.

IS THE U.S. IN CONTROL OF EVENTS IN IRAQ?
Yes
Now
39%
Last month
38%
8/2003
42%

No
Now
50%
Last month
48%
8/2003
47%

REBUILDING IRAQ: ITS COSTS FOR THE U.S. AND ITS EFFECT ON IRAQIS
Most Americans remain opposed to spending the $87 billion that the President has requested for rebuilding Iraq and Afghanistan. 59 percent say the U.S. should not spend the $87 billion, a sentiment mostly unchanged from last month.

SHOULD U.S. SPEND $87 BILLION FOR IRAQ?
Yes
Now
37%
Last month
34%

No
Now
59%
Last month
61%

Americans continue to say the results of the war in Iraq are not worth its costs, including the loss of American life. Today 52 percent of Americans describe the results as not worth it, and 42 percent say they are worth it. These figures are mostly unchanged from last month.

THE RESULTS OF THE WAR IN IRAQ HAVE BEEN...
Worth it
Now
42%
Last month
41%
8/2003
46%

Now worth it
Now
52%
Last month
53%
8/2003
46%

Some Americans may be basing their judgment of the war's results on their perceptions of the Iraqi response to the U.S. Nearly as many see a resentful Iraqi public as see a grateful one. 38 percent of Americans believe most Iraqis now resent the U.S. presence in Iraq, and 41 percent think the Iraqis are still mostly thankful that the U.S. freed them from Saddam.

DO YOU THINK MOST IRAQIS ARE...
Grateful to the U.S.
41%
Resentful of the U.S.
38%
Both
14%

Overall, a slim majority of Americans approves of the U.S. occupation in Iraq: 52 percent approve, while 42 percent disapprove. This question sharply divides along partisan lines: almost two-thirds of Democrats disapprove while more than eight in ten Republicans approve.

APPROVE OR DISAPPROVE OF U.S. OCCUPATION IN IRAQ?
Approve
All
52%
Rep
82%
Dem
28%
Ind
50%

Disapprove
All
42%
Rep
16%
Dem
63%
Ind
43%

Most people who approve also think the U.S. should spend the $87 billion requested by the President, while those opposed to the occupation are also overwhelmingly against spending that money.

For most Americans, the rebuilding effort in Iraq is something apart from the broader war on terror. Today, 58 percent of people believe rebuilding Iraq is not part of that larger struggle against terrorism, and 35 percent say it is. Last month, 44 percent called it part of the war on terror.

REBUILDING IRAQ IS...
Part of the war on terror
Now
35%
Last month
44%

Separate from the war on terror
Now
58%
Last month
51%

Those who see rebuilding Iraq as part of the war on terror support the U.S. occupation there, while most of those who do not see the rebuilding effort as part of the war on terror oppose the U.S. occupation.

Most Americans -- 51 percent -- also believe the U.S. military action in Iraq did nothing to change the threat of terrorism against them. Only 21 percent say the threat has diminished because of the U.S. action.

REMOVING SADDAM
However, most Americans continue to believe the specific act of removing Saddam Hussein from power was worth its costs: 52% say so. Although still held by a majority, this belief remains less prevalent than it was in May, when 65% said removing Saddam had been worth it.

REMOVING SADDAM HUSSEIN FROM POWER WAS...
Worth it
Now
52%
Last month
51%
5/2003
65%

Not worth it
Now
39%
Last month
41%
5/2003
28%

Most Americans are also confident that Saddam will eventually be caught; 60 percent say so, while 38 percent are not confident the deposed dictator will ever turn up.

THE ECONOMY
More Americans continue to say the national economy is in bad shape than good, a view that is unchanged since the spring. Now, 54 percent of Americans say the economy is in bad shape, while 45 percent say the national economy is in good shape.

VIEWS OF THE ECONOMY
Good
Now
45%
9/2003
43%
4/2003
44%

Bad
Now
54%
9/2003
56%
4/2003
55%

The public's outlook for the economy is guarded. Just over a quarter of Americans think the economy is getting better, while a similar number say it is getting worse, and 43 percent think it is staying the same.

THE ECONOMY IS...
Getting better
28%
Staying the same
43%
Getting worse
27%

There are partisan differences when it comes to perceptions of the nation's economy. A large majority of Democrats (73 percent) say the economy is bad, while over seven in ten Republicans think the economy is good. In addition, those with higher incomes also view the current economy more positively than do those with lower incomes.

A RISING STOCK MARKET
However, there has been significant improvement in the public's perception of how the stock market is doing: six in 10 now say the overall condition of the stock market is good, compared to 49 percent who said that in August. 26 percent say the stock market is in bad shape. Views of the market are similar among those who have money invested in it. 66 percent of investors say the stock market is in good shape, while 27 percent say it is in bad shape.

CONDITION OF THE STOCK MARKET
Good
Now
62%
8/2003
49%
8/2002
22%
4/2001
49%
1/2001
60%

Bad
Now
26%
8/2003
34%
8/2002
68%
4/2001
39%
1/2001
24%

Americans are somewhat optimistic about the future of the stock market - more so than they were this past summer. About half expect the stock market to rise over the next three months, 32 percent expect no change, while just 10 percent expect the stock market to decline.

EXPECTATIONS FOR MARKET IN NEXT 3 MONTHS
Rise
47%
No change
32%
Fall
10%

GEORGE W. BUSH'S APPROVAL RATINGS AND THE 2004 ELECTION
George W. Bush's overall job approval rating has risen a few points in this latest poll, and is now at 54 percent. Three weeks ago, 51 percent approved of the job he was doing.

BUSH'S OVERALL JOB RATING
Approve
Now
54%
3 weeks ago
51%

Disapprove
Now
36%
3 weeks ago
42%

Bush has shown particular improvement among people aged 18 to 29 and Independents; in these two groups, Bush's approval rating has risen ten percentage points since late September.

Despite those gains, fewer than half of Americans approve of the way the President is handling many of the important issues facing the country, such as the economy, Iraq and foreign policy. As was the case in the last CBS News/New York Times Poll, more than half of Americans disapprove of the president's handling of the economy.

However, Bush receives strong support for his handling of one very important national issue - the war on terrorism. 61 percent now approve of the way he is handling this, and 33 percent disapprove. Still, that rating is down from the highs reached in the months after 9/11; in November 2001, 85 percent approved of the way Bush was handling the war on terror.

BUSH'S JOB APPROVAL RATINGS
Overall
Approve
54%
Disapprove
36%

Handling war on terror
Approve
61%
Disapprove
33%

Handling foreign policy
Approve
48%
Disapprove
44%

Handling Iraq
Approve
49%
Disapprove
45%

Handling the economy
Approve
41%
Disapprove
51%

The president now enjoys a stronger lead against an unnamed Democratic candidate among registered voters than he did in August or September. In this poll, half the respondents were offered the choice of George W. Bush and an unnamed Democrat, and the other half were offered the same choice but with an explicit "don't know yet" option.

When offered a choice solely between Bush or the Democratic candidate, Bush now holds a 12 point lead; 46 percent would vote for Bush, and 34 percent would vote for the Democrat. In September, voters were divided between the two.

2004 PRESIDENTIAL VOTE
Among registered voters

Bush
Now
46%
9/2003
44%

Democratic candidate
Now
34%
9/2003
44%

When offered a choice among Bush, the Democrat or not knowing yet, Bush also leads, by a 9 point margin, but many opt to say they don't know. 32 percent of voters say that they would vote for George W. Bush in 2004, 23 percent would vote for the Democratic candidate, and 42 percent are not yet sure.

2004 PRESIDENTIAL VOTE
Among registered voters

Bush
Now
32%
8/2003
33%

Democratic candidate
Now
23%
8/2003
27%

Don't know yet
Now
42%
8/2003
36%




This poll was conducted among a nationwide random sample of 751 adults interviewed by telephone October 20-21, 2003. The error due to sampling could be plus or minus four percentage points for results based on the entire sample.

For detailed information on how CBS News conducts public opinion surveys, click here.


  • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

Comments