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National Polls Show Erosion in Bush Support (posted January 24, 2003)

On the eve of his State of the Union address January 28, several new national public opinion surveys show a significant erosion in support for President George W. Bush. In a New York Times survey conducted January 19-22, 2003, 50 percent disapprove of his handling of of the economy and 41 percent disapprove of his foreign policy. Both numbers are down significantly from earlier polls undertaken last year.

The findings echo the results of a Washington Post/ABC News survey undertaken January 16-19. In that poll, around 70 percent wanted to give United Nations weapons inspectors in Iraq additional time to search for weapons and 53 percent disapproved of his economic policies (down 7 percentage points from December). Sixty-one percent complained that Bush's new tax cut proposal mainly benefitted the wealthy and only 9 percent believed it would help the middle class or poor.

The good news for Bush is that in both surveys, 59 percent of Americans approve of his overall performance as president. This number is higher than the job approval of either Presidents Clinton or Reagan at similar points in their first term. Bush's high public support gives him time to make arguments on foreign policy and the economy with the general public. Since presidents typically gain a short bounce in public support following their State of the Union address, Bush remains in relatively good shape. However, with even his closest political advisors (Karl Rove) predicting a close presidential general election in 2004, there is little doubt the country remains close to the 50/50 nation that was apparent in the 2000 election.
Copyright 2000Karen Martin Media Services