Poll: Approval Ratings Compared

generic bush poll white house CBS/AP

For Part 1 of this poll, click here.



Bush's low job approval is far below that of some of his two-term predecessors at this point in their second terms. In November 1985, President Reagan had a 65 percent approval rating, and Bill Clinton's job approval in November 1997 was 57 percent. Bush's rating is higher than Richard Nixon's was at the same point in his administration.

BUSH VS. OTHER PRESIDENTS: APPROVAL RATINGS DURING SECOND TERMS

Bush, Now
Approve
35%
Disapprove
57%

Clinton, 11/1997
Approve
57%
Disapprove
31%

Reagan, 11/1985
Approve
65%
Disapprove
26%

Nixon, Gallup Poll, 11/1973
Approve
27%
Disapprove
63%

Eisenhower, Gallup Poll, 11/1957
Approve
58%
Disapprove
27%

Both Reagan and Clinton endured scandals during their second terms. In January 1998, when facing questions about his affair with Monica Lewinsky, President Clinton's job approval ratings actually rose, reaching the low 70s, and remained at least in the 60s throughout the rest of that year. President Reagan's job approval rating dropped by more than 20 points to 46 percent in November 1986, just after public disclosures about the Iran-Contra scandal. During 1987 Reagan's approval rating hovered around 50 percent, but began to rise again in 1988. President Richard Nixon's approval rating fell as the Watergate scandal became public in the first half of 1973, and was at about 25 percent during 1974.

President Bush's approval rating has been experiencing a slow but steady decline since 2004.

BUSH VS. OTHER PRESIDENTS: APPROVAL RATINGS DURING SCANDALS

Bush,
Now
Approve 35%
Disapprove 57%

Clinton
1/1998
Approve 58%
Disapprove 29%

2/1998
Approve 72%
Disapprove 22%

7/1998
Approve 64%
Disapprove 29%

10/1998
Approve 65%
Disapprove 30%

12/1998
Approve 66%
Disapprove 30%

Reagan
11/1986
Approve 46%
Disapprove 45%

1/1987
Approve 52%
Disapprove 38%

5/1987
Approve 46%
Disapprove 43%

9/1987
Approve 50%
Disapprove 40%

1/1988
Approve 58%
Disapprove 35%

Nixon (Gallup)
1/1973
Approve 51%
Disapprove 37%

6/1973
Approve 44%
Disapprove 45%

1/1974
Approve 27%
Disapprove 63%

8/1974
Approve 24%
Disapprove 66%

The President's ratings on specific issues also remain low, but are not much changed since last month.

PRES. BUSH JOB APPROVALS

Overall
Now
35%
10/2005
37%

Terrorism
Now
47%
10/2005
46%

Iraq
Now
32%
10/2005
32%

Economy
Now
34%
10/2005
32%

Evaluations of President Bush's leadership fell markedly in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in early September, and have yet to recover. 49 percent of Americans think Bush has strong qualities of leadership, 47 percent think he does not. Before the hurricane (and throughout much of his prior time as president) about two thirds of the public saw Bush as a strong leader.

DOES BUSH HAVE STRONG QUALITIES OF LEADERSHIP?

Yes
Now
49%
9/2005
48%
1/2004
64%
5/2003
70%
2/2001
59%

No
Now
47%
9/2005
49%
1/2004
33%
5/2003
26%
2/2001
31%

A sizable segment of the public is concerned about the President's ties to evangelical Christians; 34 percent think evangelicals have too much influence in Bush's decisions. 14 percent think they have too little influence, while 25 percent think their influence is about right. 45 percent of white evangelicals themselves think they have about the right amount of influence, while another 25 percent think they have too little.

EVANGELICALS' INFLUENCE ON BUSH'S DECISIONS

Too much
Now 34%
11/2003 31%

Too little
Now 14%
11/2004 12%

About right
Now 25%
11/2004 35%
  • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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