Poll: U.S. On Wrong Track

GENERIC George W. Bush, Congress, Capitol, Iraq, Saddam Hussein CBS/AP

Americans' slate of national priorities has remained in place for months — the war in Iraq, the economy and jobs among others — with one new addition to the palette: gas prices. But when asked about congressional accomplishments so far this year, fewer than half can name anything Congress has done. For those in the minority who can, the legislation spurred by the Terri Schiavo case (which isn't mentioned by the public as a priority) stands out as the most memorable.

More Americans disapprove than approve of the job the president and Congress are doing, and a majority thinks the country is on the wrong track.

Despite the efforts of President Bush and Republicans in Congress, public support for Social Security privatization remains unchanged this year. Views on the war in Iraq, which Americans see as a top problem now facing the country, remain mixed. Many say rising gas prices affect them a lot, and most think a president has the power to do something about them.

VIEWS OF CONGRESS
Public approval of Congress remains nearly as low as it was last month during the Congressional intervention in the Terri Schiavo case, an intervention most Americans disapproved of. Now, 35 percent approve of the job Congress is doing, while 51 percent disapprove. Approval ratings for Congress have historically been low, rarely moving above the 50 percent mark since this poll began the question in 1977. Still, recent congressional ratings are at some of their lowest points since 1997.

CONGRESS JOB APPROVAL

Approve
Now
35%
3/2005
34%
10/1998
41%
12/1997
33%
9/1994
25%
8/1980
32%

Disapprove
Now
51%
3/2005
49%
10/1998
49%
12/1997
53%
9/1994
63%
8/1980
51%

Disapproval of Congress is strongest among Democrats (59 percent), but 39 percent of Republicans also disapprove.

This Republican Congress receives mixed reviews for its accomplishments this year. Thirty-seven percent think what they've done so far has been good for the country, while slightly more — 41 percent — think what they've done has been bad for the country. These views are highly partisan.

REPUBLICAN CONGRESS' ACTIONS SO FAR: GOOD OR BAD FOR COUNTRY?

Good
All
37%
Republicans
74%
Democrats
15%

Bad
All
41%
Republicans
10%
Democrats
64%

  • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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