Poll: Bush's Approval Remains Low

These have been some of the most turbulent days of the Bush presidency.
President Bush's approval rating is stuck at a dismal 42 percent as he heads into next week's State of the Union address, according to the latest CBS News/New York Times poll.

Fifty-one percent of Americans give him a negative job approval rating. It's the first time in his presidency he'll give a State of the Union speech with a majority of the residents of the country saying they disapprove of the job he's doing.

While most Americans believe Mr. Bush displays strong leadership qualities, when it comes to helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina, just 25 percent of those polled think the Bush administration has a clear plan.

The public is divided over Mr. Bush's secret domestic surveillance program, with just more than half saying they approve of his authorization of wiretaps without warrants to fight terrorism.

At the same time, a clear majority, 64 percent, is concerned that the Bush administration's anti-terrorism measures could threaten their civil liberties. A third are "very concerned."

Read the data and analysis from new CBS News polls on these topics:
  • The Bush Presidency and The State Of The Union (.pdf)
  • Congress, The Abramoff Scandals and The Alito Nomination (.pdf)

  • Mr. Bush vs. other presidents

    Mr. Bush's job approval rating, which never reached 50 percent during all of 2005, is significantly lower than other modern two-term presidents. Of the past five presidents elected to a second term, only Richard Nixon received lower ratings at the same point in his administration.

    Approval Ratings During Second Terms

    Bush, January 2006
    42 percent
    Clinton, January 1998
    58 percent
    Reagan, January 1986
    65 percent
    Nixon, January 1974 (Gallup Poll)
    26 percent
    Eisenhower, January 1958 (Gallup Poll)
    58 percent

    Hurricane Katrina

    Few Americans — 25 percent — believe the Bush administration has a clear plan for assisting the victims of Hurricane Katrina. This number is up slightly from last month, but 67 percent of Americans continue to believe that the Administration does not have a clear plan for finding housing and jobs for the people left homeless by the Hurricane.

    Does the Bush administration have a clear plan to find homes and jobs for victims?

    25 percent
    67 percent

    The war in Iraq

    Americans continue to rank the war in Iraq as the country's most important problem, ahead of the economy and jobs. Nine percent name terrorism as the top concern, a jump of 5 percent from earlier this month, before the release of the new Osama bin Laden tape.

    Most Important Problem:

    War in Iraq
    22 percent
    Economy and jobs
    14 percent
    9 percent
    Health care
    4 percent
    The President
    4 percent
    Gas/heating oil
    4 percent