More than one-third of voters in a CBS News poll say they will think of their vote as a vote against Mr. Bush, while just 14 percent will think of it as a vote for him. Forty-five percent say their view of the president will not be a factor in how they vote.
Those numbers contrast sharply with the run-up to the 2002 midterm elections, in which Republicans won historic gains. Four years ago, 31 percent said their vote would be made in support of the president, versus just 19 percent who thought of their vote as a statement against him.
This year, as Democrats seek to wrest control of both the House and the Senate from the GOP, an endorsement from the president could actually do more harm than good for a candidate. Only 10 percent of voters say they'd be more likely to support a candidate backed by the president, while three times as many, 31 percent, would be less likely to support one.
IF BUSH BACKED A CANDIDATE, WOULD YOU BE…
(Among registered voters)
More likely to vote for candidate
Less likely to vote for candidate
Wouldn't make a difference
Overall, ratings for Congress remain low. Just 27 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, compared with 66 percent who disapprove. Two-thirds of Americans say this Congress is accomplishing less than the typical Congress.
While the midterm elections are still seven months away, the CBS poll finds registered voters today would back a generic Democratic candidate for the House over a generic Republican by a 10-point margin.
2006 HOUSE VOTE
(Among registered voters)
It depends/Don't know
Slightly more Americans have a favorable view of the Democratic Party than an unfavorable one. A majority, 53 percent, has a negative view of the Republican Party.
In the wake of the controversy surrounding lobbyist Jack Abramoff, Republicans in Congress are also seen as more corrupt than Democrats, by a 32-13 percent margin.
As for the president, his overall job approval rating has risen a bit in the past few weeks to 37 percent, up from 34 percent in March. But 56 percent still disapprove of the job he's doing.
Mr. Bush's ratings on handling the war in Iraq, the campaign against terrorism and the economy are also up very slightly.
Just 26 percent — including just 42 percent of Republicans — approve of how Mr. Bush is handling the hot-button issue of immigration, while 53 percent disapprove.
Americans continue to have a bleak assessment of the situation in Iraq. A growing number, 78 percent, says Iraq is now in a state of civil war, and another 9 percent says civil war is likely to occur in the near future.
This poll was conducted among a nationwide random sample of 899 adults, interviewed by telephone April 6-9, 2006. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points.