Bush tumbles in poll

bon moun sherrynstan at igc.org
Thu Feb 20 04:37:07 MST 2003

[I would point out that an extremely important point to be made with this
poll is that GWB & Co's support is overwhelmingly self-identified as
"white," a category that captures around (?) 68% of the population, and
within which resides the true bulwark of reaction.  -SG]

President Bush's Ratings Fall Sharply
President's ratings now 52% positive, 46% negative
Colin Powell now the only Cabinet Member or political leader with very high

ROCHESTER, NY - February 19 - The last two months have taken a heavy toll
on the president's popularity, but a modest 52% to 46% majority still gives
him positive ratings. Two months ago, almost two-thirds of all adults (64%)
gave the president positive ratings and only just over a third (35%) gave
him negative ratings.

Other members of President Bush's cabinet, as well as the parties in
Congress and Congressional leaders, with one exception, have all seen a
huge decline in their popularity since the very high numbers we recorded
soon after September 11, 2001. The one exception is Secretary of State
Colin Powell. He still enjoys an extraordinarily high degree of popularity,
with 76% giving him positive ratings and only 21% giving him negative
ratings. These numbers are fractionally better than they were in December
2002, perhaps because of his powerful recent testimony to the United
Nations Security Council.

While none of the other leaders has seen as big declines since last
December as President Bush, their numbers, nonetheless, are all down very
substantially since their peak soon after September 11.

Including results from the latest poll, we see the following declines in
popularity since soon after September 11, 2001:
President Bush down from 88% to 52%, a decline of 36 points.

Secretary of State Colin Powell down from 88% to 76%, a decline of 12

Vice President Dick Cheney down from 69% to 45%, a decline of 24 points.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld down from 78% to 56%, a decline of 22

Attorney General John Ashcroft down from 65% to 51%, a decline of 14

House Speaker Dennis Hastert down from 52% to 33%, a decline of 19 points.

The Republicans in Congress down from 67% to 43%, a decline of 24 points.

The Democrats in Congress down from 68% to 38%, a decline of 30 points.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll®, a nationwide telephone
survey conducted by Harris Interactive® among a sample of 1,010 adults,
from February 12 to 16, 2003.

The Importance of Issues
In December only 18% of all adults spontaneously replied "the war" when
asked to think of the most important issues for the government to address.
This was far below the economy at 34% but ahead of all the other issues.

Now, fully 38% say that "the war" is one of the two most important issues
for the government to address, virtually tied with the economy at 37%.
Furthermore, the next two issues mentioned most frequently are terrorism
(16%) and Iraq/Saddam Hussein (15%). Most other issues which were mentioned
by substantial numbers of people have declined in importance: those saying
education are down from 11% to 5%, those saying homeland domestic security
are down from 9% to 6%, those saying employment/jobs are down from 8% to 5%
and those saying health care are down from 10% to 8%.

These responses were not picked from any list. They are the unaided
responses of those surveyed.


The Harris Poll® was conducted by telephone within the United States
between February 12 and 16, 2003 among a nationwide cross section of 1,010
adults (ages 18+). Figures for age, sex, race, education, number of adults
and number of voice/telephone lines in the household were weighted where
necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population.

In theory, with a probability sample of this size, one can say with 95
percent certainty that the results have a statistical precision of plus or
minus 3 percentage points of what they would be if the entire adult
population had been polled with complete accuracy. Unfortunately, there are
several other possible sources of error in all polls or surveys that are
probably more serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error. They
include refusals to be interviewed (non-response), question wording and
question order, interviewer bias, weighting by demographic control data and
screening (e.g., for likely voters). It is impossible to quantify the
errors that may result from these factors.

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