[Marxism] Bush popularity at all-time low

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Mar 10 07:21:27 MST 2006

Bush's approval rating falls to new low

By Ron Fournier, AP Political Writer  |  March 10, 2006

WASHINGTON --More and more people, particularly Republicans, disapprove of 
President Bush's performance, question his character and no longer consider 
him a strong leader against terrorism, according to an AP-Ipsos poll 
documenting one of the bleakest points of his presidency.

Nearly four out of five Americans, including 70 percent of Republicans, 
believe civil war will break out in Iraq -- the bloody hot spot upon which 
Bush has staked his presidency. Nearly 70 percent of people say the U.S. is 
on the wrong track, a 6-point jump since February.

"I'm not happy with how things are going," said Margaret Campanelli, a 
retiree in Norwich, Conn., who said she tends to vote Republican. "I'm 
particularly not happy with Iraq, not happy with how things worked with 
Hurricane Katrina."

Republican Party leaders said the survey explains why GOP lawmakers are 
rushing to distance themselves from Bush on a range of issues -- port 
security, immigration, spending, warrantless eavesdropping and trade, for 

The positioning is most intense among Republicans facing election in 
November and those considering 2008 presidential campaigns.

"You're in the position of this cycle now that is difficult anyway. In 
second term off-year elections, there gets to be a familiarity factor," 
said Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., a potential presidential candidate.

"People have seen and heard (Bush's) ideas long enough and that enters into 
their thinking. People are kind of, `Well, I wonder what other people can 
do,'" he said.

The poll suggests that most Americans wonder whether Bush is up to the job. 
The survey, conducted Monday through Wednesday of 1,000 people, found that 
just 37 percent approve of his overall performance. That is the lowest of 
his presidency.

Bush's job approval among Republicans plummeted from 82 percent in February 
to 74 percent, a dangerous sign in a midterm election year when parties 
rely on enthusiasm from their most loyal voters. The biggest losses were 
among white males.

On issues, Bush's approval rating declined from 39 percent to 36 percent 
for his handling of domestic affairs and from 47 percent to 43 percent on 
foreign policy and terrorism. His approval ratings for dealing with the 
economy and Iraq held steady, but still hovered around 40 percent.

Personally, far fewer Americans consider Bush likable, honest, strong and 
dependable than they did just after his re-election campaign.

By comparison, Presidents Clinton and Reagan had public approval in the mid 
60s at this stage of their second terms in office, while Eisenhower was 
close to 60 percent, according to Gallup polls. Nixon, who was increasingly 
tangled up in the Watergate scandal, was in the high 20s in early 1974.

The AP-Ipsos poll, which has a margin of error of 3 percentage points, 
gives Republicans reason to worry that they may inherit Bush's political 
woes. Two-thirds of the public disapproves of how the GOP-led Congress is 
handling its job and a surprising 53 percent of Republicans give Congress 
poor marks.

"Obviously, it's the winter of our discontent," said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla.

By a 47-36 margin, people favor Democrats over Republicans when they are 
asked who should control Congress.

While the gap worries Republicans, Cole and others said it does not 
automatically translate into GOP defeats in November, when voters will face 
a choice between local candidates rather than considering Congress as a whole.

In addition, strategists in both parties agree that a divided and 
undisciplined Democratic Party has failed to seize full advantage of 
Republican troubles.

"While I don't dispute the fact that we have challenges in the current 
environment politically, I also believe 2006 as a choice election offers 
Republicans an opportunity if we make sure the election is framed in a way 
that will keep our majorities in the House and the Senate," said Ken 
Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Stung by criticism, senior officials at the White House and the RNC are 
reminding GOP members of Congress that Bush's approval ratings may be low, 
but theirs is lower and have declined at the same pace as Bush's. The 
message to GOP lawmakers is that criticizing the president weakens him -- 
and them -- politically.

"When issue like the internal Republican debate over the ports dominates 
the news it puts us another day away from all of us figuring out what 
policies we need to win," said Terry Nelson, a Republican consultant and 
political director for Bush's re-election campaign in 2004.

Bowing to ferocious opposition in Congress, a Dubai-owned company on 
Thursday abandoned its quest to take over operations at several U.S. ports. 
Bush had pledged to veto any attempt to block the transaction, pitting him 
against Republicans in Congress and most voters.

All this has Republican voters like Walter Wright of Fairfax Station, Va., 
worried for their party.

"We've gotten so carried away I wouldn't be surprised to see the Democrats 
take it because of discontent," he said. "People vote for change and hope 
for the best."


Associated Press writer Will Lester and AP Manager of News Surveys Trevor 
Tompson contributed to this report.


On the Net:

Ipsos: http://www.ap-ipsosresults.com



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