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CBS Poll: Bush Out Of Touch

Four months into his second term, President Bush is increasingly viewed as being out of touch with the American people, according to a CBS News poll.

Six in ten Americans say the president does not share their priorities, while just 34 percent say he does – the lowest numbers for Mr. Bush since the eve of his first inauguration. If there's any solace for Mr. Bush, it's that even fewer people, just 20 percent, say Congress shares their priorities.

Overall, slightly more Americans (48 percent) disapprove of the job the president is doing than approve (46 percent).

While Mr. Bush continues to push hard for his Social Security plan, and has recently spoken out on issues like stem cell research and the fight over judicial nominees, the public is far more concerned with the war in Iraq and the economy.

Asked to name the most important problem facing the country, 19 percent of those polled cited the economy, 19 percent the war in Iraq, 7 percent terrorism and 5 percent Social Security.

Although he's spent months on the road campaigning for Social Security reform, Mr. Bush still gets only a 26 percent approval rating for his handling of the issue and the public remains skeptical about his signature plan for private Social Security accounts.

In a troubling sign for the president, those who have heard a lot about his Social Security plan are the most likely to say it's a bad idea.

Although a slim majority of Americans, 52 percent, now say the economy is in good shape, Mr. Bush's approval rating on the economy is just 38 percent – a slight increase since last month.

Approval of the president's handling of Iraq remained virtually unchanged at 38 percent. But after another violent month, a majority of Americans, 57 percent, again say things there are going badly for the U.S. in Iraq; 41 percent say things are going well.

Mr. Bush's strongest area remains the campaign against terrorism, where his approval rating rose to 58 percent.

Overall, Americans are pessimistic about the direction of the country with 60 percent saying the U.S. is on the wrong track and 34 percent saying it's on the right track.

It's been more than two years since a majority of Americans said the country was heading in the right direction. The last time that happened was March 2003, at the onset of the war in Iraq.

This poll was conducted among a nationwide random sample of 1150 adults, interviewed by telephone May 20-24, 2005. The error due to sampling could be plus or minus three percentage points for results based on all adults. Error for subgroups is higher.

By Joel Roberts

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