Poll: Bush Ratings Fall Further

CAROUSEL - A rescue service worker is seen carrying an elderly lady after she was rescued from a house in the flooded streets of Cockermouth village, England, Friday, Nov. 20, 2009. The Royal Air Force and Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RLNI) rescue services have joined efforts to rescue stranded residents from their homes, after heavy rains caused local flooding in the picturesque north England village. Around 200 people was stranded by rising floodwater in the northern England tourist town.(AP Photo/Scott Heppell) AP Photo/Scott Heppell

President George W. Bush's approval ratings are now back to where they were before their post-9/11 meteoric increases. His overall approval rating and his rating on handling the economy are near the lowest marks of his presidency, and his rating on handling foreign policy is lower than ever before.

In addition to the declining overall job approval rating, confidence in the President's ability to handle the two major issues dominating his presidency -- the economy and international crises - has fallen, and is now more negative than positive.


CONFIDENCE IN BUSH'S ABILITY TO DEAL WITH:

International crisis
Yes
45%
No
50%

Economic decisions
Yes
40%
No
56%

The public has harsh evaluations of the president and his policies in those two areas. Half think the Administration's policies have made employment worse, and more than half think that compared to when Bush took office, the nation's economy and U.S. relations with allies are both worse.

COMPARED TO WHEN GEORGE W. BUSH TOOK OFFICE ...
Nation's economy is:
Better
12%
Worse
59%
Same
26%

U.S. relations with allies are:
Better
9%
Worse
55%
Same
31%

As for Iraq, nearly nine in ten Americans believe the war in Iraq is still going on, most Americans still do not believe the President has a clear plan for rebuilding Iraq, and nearly two-thirds are unwilling to spend the $87 billion he has requested for reconstruction efforts. More than half say the results of the war have not been worth the costs. Just half now say removing Saddam was worth the costs.

THE RESULTS OF THE WAR WERE...?
Worth the costs
Now
41%
Two weeks ago
43%
8/2003
46%

Not worth the costs
Now
53%
Two weeks ago
47%
8/2003
45%

These developments may prove troublesome as Campaign 2004 gets underway, and voters are evenly divided in their election support for Bush or for his as yet unnamed Democratic opponent. 44 percent of voters say they would vote for the President, but the same number give their support to an unnamed Democrat.

VOTE IN 2004
(Registered Voters)
George W. Bush 44%
Democrat 44%

Republicans and Democrats strongly support their candidate. Independent voters would vote for the Democrat over Bush by 42 percent to 34 percent. Men favor Bush, while women support the unnamed Democrat.

Expectations for the election's outcome are not as evenly divided; half of voters expect the incumbent president will be re-elected, while 35 percent expect the Democratic nominee to win.

WHO WILL WIN IN 2004?
(Registered Voters)
George W. Bush 50%
Democratic candidate 35%

THE PRESIDENT'S IMAGE
George W. Bush may be losing some of his post-9/11 luster. More Americans are now concerned about his approach on international matters, fewer think he shares their priorities for the country and even the percentage who think he is a strong leader, while still a majority, has dropped. But many still see him as an honest president.

50 percent of Americans now say they are uneasy about Bush's approach in dealing with an international crisis; 45 percent say they are confident in his ability. In April, a few weeks into the war with Iraq, 66 percent said they were confident in his ability to deal wisely with international matters. The current assessment mirrors the one Bush received in June 2001. Then 42 percent were confident in his ability, while 52 percent were uneasy about his approach to an international crisis.

CONFIDENT IN BUSH'S HANDLING OF INTERNATIONAL CRISIS?
Yes
Now
45%
4/2003
66%
1/2002
76%
6/2001
42%

No
Now
50%
4/2003
31%
1/2002
21%
6/2001
52%

Americans are even less confident in Bush's ability to make the right decisions about the nation's economy. 56 percent are uneasy about his approach to the economy, while 40 percent are confident in his approach. As recently as April, 54 percent were confident in Bush's ability to make economic decisions and 42 percent were not.

CONFIDENCE IN BUSH'S ECONOMIC DECISIONS
Yes
Now
40%
4/2003
54%

No
Now
56%
4/2003
42%

A majority now says the president does not have the same priorities as they have for the country. 56 percent think Bush does not share their priorities, while 41 percent say that he does. In February, Americans took the opposite view. 54 percent thought the president shared their priorities, while 39 percent thought he did not.

DOES BUSH SHARE YOUR PRIORITIES FOR COUNTRY?
Yes
Now
41%
2/2003
54%

No
Now
56%
2/2003
39%

Some Americans are also starting to doubt that the President cares about their needs and problems. More than half (58 percent) does believe the president cares at least some about their problems, but this number is the lowest he's received on this question. In May, 67 percent said the president cared about them.

HOW MUCH DOES BUSH CARE ABOUT NEEDS AND PROBLEMS OF
PEOPLE LIKE YOU?

Now
A lot
25%
Some
33%
Not much
21%
None
19%

5/2003
A lot
33%
Some
34%
Not much
20%
None
12%

When the public is asked how much Bush cares about minorities, specifically blacks and Hispanics, six in ten say he cares a lot or some about their needs and problems. But African-Americans have a different view; only 32 percent think he cares about the needs and problems of blacks.

Americans still view Bush as a leader; 63 percent say he has strong qualities of leadership, while 35 percent think he does not. These numbers have dropped since their highs following the terror attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, but are still higher than they were prior to September 2001.

DOES BUSH HAVE STRONG QUALITIES OF LEADERSHIP?
Yes
Now
63%
9/2001
83%
6/2001
54%

No
Now
35%
9/2001
14%
6/2001
38%

Americans may see Bush as a leader here at home, but they are still uncertain as to whether leaders around the world respect their President. 47 percent think Bush has the respect of world leaders, but nearly as many (44 percent) think he does not.

DO WORLD LEADERS HAVE RESPECT FOR GEORGE W. BUSH?
Yes 47%
No 44%

Bush also is viewed as personally honest. 53 percent think Bush has more honesty and integrity than most people in public life, 30 percent think his honesty is similar to others, and 14 percent think he has less honesty.

BUSH'S HONESTY COMPARED TO MOST PEOPLE IN PUBLIC LIFE
More 53%
Less 14%
Same 30%

Overall, more Americans have a favorable view of the president than an unfavorable one, but the number who view him unfavorably is the highest since Bush took office. 43 percent of Americans now say they have a favorable view of the president, but 34 percent view him unfavorably.

OPINION OF GEORGE W. BUSH
Favorable
Now
43%
7/2002
64%
8/2001
40%

Unfavorable
Now
34%
7/2002
21%
8/2001
29%

JOB RATINGS
George W. Bush's overall approval rating is now at 51 percent, about where it was two weeks ago. Current evaluations of him are similar to those he received in the month before the attacks of September 11th, 2001.

BUSH'S OVERALL JOB RATING
Approve
Now
51%
2 weeks ago
52%
9/2001
89%
8/2001
50%

Disapprove
Now
42%
2 weeks ago
39%
9/2001
7%
8/2001
38%

Americans are just as divided as they were a couple of weeks ago with regard to Bush's handling of the situation in Iraq. Now, 47 percent approve of the job Bush is doing, while just as many - 48 percent - disapprove of his handling of Iraq. These mixed opinions on Iraq may be bringing down Bush's foreign policy rating. Now, Americans are mixed on Bush's handling of foreign policy; 44 percent approve, and 45% disapprove.

His current rating on handling foreign policy is the lowest of his presidency.

BUSH'S JOB APPROVAL RATINGS
Approve
Overall
51%
Handling foreign policy
44%
Handling Iraq
47%
Handling the economy
37%

Disapprove
Overall
42%
Handling foreign policy
45%
Handling Iraq
48%
Handling the economy
56%

More than half of Americans disapprove of the president's handling of the economy. 56 percent disapprove of his handling of it - the most since Bush took office. Just 37 percent approve of his job on the economy.

ARE THINGS BETTER TODAY?
As Campaign 2004 heats up, the economy and jobs continue to worry the public, remaining the public's top issue.

Nearly six in ten say the nation's economy is worse today than it was when Bush took office. 2 percent say the economy is the same and just 12 percent think the nation's economy is better today. Half say their family's financial situation is the about the same as it was when Bush took office, but 29 percent say their financial situation is worse off and only 18 percent are better off.

COMPARED TO WHEN GEORGE W. BUSH TOOK OFFICE ...
Family's financial situation is:
Better
18%
Worse
29%
Same
53%

Nation's economy is:
Better
12%
Worse
59%
Same
26%

U.S. relations with allies are:
Better
9%
Worse
55%
Same
31%

On the international front, the public does not think the president has done much to help improve relations with America's allies. 55 percent say relations between the United States and its European allies are worse today compared to when George W. Bush first took office. A third think relations are the same, but just one in ten say they are better.

44 percent of Americans express concerns that they or someone else in their household may lose their job in the next year, as has been the case since May.

CONCERNED ABOUT LOSING JOB IN THE NEXT YEAR
Very
All
26%
Rep.
14%
Dem.
34%
Ind.
30%
Whites
23%
Blacks
54%

Somewhat
All
18%
Rep.
12%
Dem.
23%
Ind.
18%
Whites
18%
Blacks
6%

Not too/not at all
All
55%
Rep.
74%
Dem.
42%
Ind.
51%
Whites
58%
Blacks
40%

There are large demographic differences. 54 percent of blacks say they are very concerned, making them more than twice as likely as whites to say so. Six in ten Democrats are concerned, but three quarters of Republicans are not. Those with household incomes of $30,000 or lower are also the most likely to worry about losing their jobs among all income groups.

A majority of those who are concerned about being out of work in the next year disapprove of George W. Bush's job as President, while those who don't have job worries approve of the President's handling of his job.

THE MOOD OF THE COUNTRY
A majority of Americans, 56 percent, now say the country has seriously gone off on the wrong track, and just 37 percent think the U.S. is on the right track.

DIRECTION OF THE COUNTRY:
Right direction
Now
37%
April
56%
February
35%

Wrong track
Now
56%
April
36%
February
56%

The public's mood was more optimistic in April, immediately after the fall of Baghdad, when 56 percent said the U.S. was going in the right direction. Now these assessments have returned to the same levels as in February, before the war with Iraq.

Click here to read the second half of the poll.
  • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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