T Nation

Bush Hits New Low


Poll Gives Bush His Worst Marks Yet

Published: May 10, 2006
Americans have a bleaker view of the country's direction than at any time in more than two decades, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. Sharp disapproval of President Bush's handling of gasoline prices has combined with intensified unhappiness about Iraq to create a grim political environment for the White House and Congressional Republicans.

Mr. Bush's approval ratings for his management of foreign policy, Iraq and the economy have fallen to the lowest levels of his presidency. He drew poor marks on the issues that have been at the top of the national agenda in recent months, in particular immigration and gasoline prices.

Just 13 percent approved of Mr. Bush's handling of rising gasoline prices. About a quarter said they approved of his handling of immigration, as Congressional Republicans try to come up with a compromise for handling the influx of illegal immigrants into the country.

The poll showed a further decline in support for the Iraq war, the issue that has most eaten into Mr. Bush's public support. The percentage of respondents who said going to war in Iraq was the correct decision slipped to a new low of 39 percent, down from 47 percent in January. Two-thirds said they had little or no confidence that Mr. Bush could successfully end the war.

The poll comes six months before Election Day and well before Labor Day, when Congressional campaigns will be fully engaged. Mr. Bush has shaken up his staff in an effort to improve his political fortunes, and White House aides said they were confident that events in Iraq were improving and that the political effects of high gasoline prices could fade by the election.

Nevertheless, the Times/CBS News poll contained few if any bright notes for Mr. Bush or Congress.

Mr. Bush's political strength continues to dissipate. About two-thirds of poll respondents said he did not share their priorities, up from just over half right before his re-election in 2004. About two-thirds said the country was in worse shape than it was when he became president six years ago. Forty-two percent of respondents said they considered Mr. Bush a strong leader, a drop of 11 points since January.

Mr. Bush's overall job approval rating hit another new low, 31 percent, tying the low point of his father in July 1992, four months before the elder Mr. Bush lost his bid for a second term to Bill Clinton. That is the third lowest approval rating of any president in 50 years; only Richard M. Nixon and Jimmy Carter were viewed less favorably.

Mr. Bush is even losing support from what has been his base: 51 percent of conservatives and 69 percent of Republicans approve of the way Mr. Bush is handling his job. In both cases, those figures are a substantial drop in support from four months ago.

"We should have stayed out of Iraq until we knew more about it," Bernice Davis, a Republican from Lamar, Mo., who said she now disapproved of Mr. Bush's performance, said in a follow-up interview on Tuesday. "The economy is going to pot. Gas prices are escalating. I just voted for Bush because he's a Republican, even though I disapproved of the war. If I could go back, I would not vote for him."

Although the composition of Congressional districts will make it hard for the Democrats to recapture control of Congress in the fall, the poll suggested that the trend was moving in their direction. Just 23 percent said they approved of the job Congress was doing, down from 29 percent in January. That is about the same level of support for Congress as in the fall of 1994, when Republicans seized control of the House.

Americans said Democrats would do a better job dealing with Iraq, gasoline prices, immigration, taxes, prescription drug prices and civil liberties.

Fifty percent said Democrats came closer than Republicans to sharing their moral values, compared with 37 percent who said Republicans shared their values. A majority said Republican members of Congress were more likely to be financially corrupt than Democratic members of Congress, suggesting that Democrats may be making headway in their efforts to portray Republicans as having created a "culture of corruption" in Washington.

By better than two to one, Democrats were seen as having more new ideas than Republicans. And half of respondents, the highest number yet, said it was better when different parties controlled the two branches of Congress, reflecting one of the major arguments being laid out by Congressional Democrats in their bid to win back the House or the Senate.

Americans said that Republicans would be better at maintaining a stronger military than Democrats. But the Republicans had only a slight edge on combating terrorism, an issue that has helped account for the party's political dominance since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The nationwide telephone poll, of 1,241 adults, was conducted from May 4 to May 8. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Seventy percent of respondents said the country was heading in the wrong direction, compared with 23 percent who said they approved of the direction in which the country was heading. Those findings are not significantly different from the responses to a CBS News poll last week and suggest that Americans are more pessimistic about the country's direction than at any other time in the 23 years that The Times and CBS News have asked the question.

Immigration is another issue undercutting Republicans and Mr. Bush. As Republicans battle over how to respond to illegal immigration, the poll found considerable opposition to the strict measures being pressed by conservative Republicans in the House.

About 60 percent of respondents said they favored the plan proposed by some Republicans in the Senate that would permit illegal immigrants who had worked in the United States for at least two years to keep their jobs and apply for citizenship. Just 35 percent endorsed the view of some conservatives that illegal immigrants should be deported. Two-thirds opposed building a 700-mile fence along the United States-Mexican border.

The two biggest problems for Mr. Bush and Republicans are gasoline prices and Iraq. By 57 percent to 11 percent, respondents said they trusted Democrats more than Republicans to find a way to curb gasoline prices.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents said the increase in gasoline prices was not beyond the control of a president, but 89 percent said this administration did not have a plan to deal with the problem.

More than two-thirds said the war in Iraq was to blame for at least some of the increase in gasoline prices. Seventy-one percent said they believed that oil companies were profiting from higher prices, and a majority said oil companies were much closer to the Republican Party than to the Democratic Party.

"Bush could put in some kind of regulation to control the profits of the oil companies," said Jane North, 43, a Republican from Reisterstown, Md., who said she recently changed her registration to Democrat. "He comes from the oil business, so he certainly knows how it works. I think Bush will just run out his term and not do anything to control gas prices."

On Iraq, two-thirds of poll respondents said they disapproved of how the president had handled the war. Fifty-six percent said going to war in the first place was a mistake, up from 50 percent in January. And 60 percent said things were going "somewhat or very badly" in the drive to stabilize the country. Sixty-three percent disapproved of Mr. Bush's handling of foreign policy in general.

Still, 55 percent said they believed the effort in Iraq was somewhat or very likely to succeed.

"We have enough problems here at home without worrying about Iraq," said Bill Trego, 64, a Republican from Waymart, Pa.

"I believed him at first, in the beginning," Mr. Trego said of Mr. Bush, "that there were weapons of mass destruction and if that was a fact, it was probably not a bad move to go in there. But they didn't find anything. When they couldn't prove it, I realized it was just a barefaced lie."

The problems plaguing the Republicans have clearly helped the Democrats: 55 percent said they now had a favorable view of the Democratic Party, compared with 37 percent with an unfavorable view. By contrast, 57 percent had an unfavorable view of Republicans, compared with 37 percent who had a favorable view.

The political situation has not helped some of the more prominent members of the Democratic Party. Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, who was Mr. Bush's opponent in 2004, had a lower approval rating than Mr. Bush: 26 percent, down from 40 percent in a poll conducted right after the election.

And just 28 percent said they had a favorable view of Al Gore, one of Mr. Bush's more vocal critics.


We've seen so many of these articles talking about the Bush administration and Congress hitting an all time low in the polls that it's not really even news anymore. You can pretty much cut and paste them all at this point because he, his administration and the GOP controlled Congress are doing so bad. They could just save time, energy with newpaper space if they just print the following each time a new poll comes out:

"Bush Administration and Congress in the polls? Still sinking."

This doesn't have to be a front page item anymore because you only need the one line. You could stick it back on page A23 (still World and Nation section, just not front page) or take it out as an advertisement space rather than use up good print space.

Somebody wake me when they actually start going up. Now, that would be news!


We need a third party choice, one not composed of insane environmentalists or whacked out socialists. We need a party that will bring us back to our roots, get away from the infection of socialism, and quit screwing around with our economy and society.


Of course the public is still not going to have a favorable viewpoint of these two guys. During their respective election runs, each of these sacless wonders let Bush's team beat them like little bitches in full view of the public. Americans may not always be the sharpest pencils in the drawer, but we definitely don't like punk-bitches that ask us for the opportunity to lead this country. How are you going to lead a country when you allow your opponent to swift-boat the shit out of you and you did nothing to defend yourself? Instead, you bent over, grabbed your ankles and said "Could you add a little vaseline this time? The last time was just a little bit dry and rough." America will never follow those two.


I totally agree with you HH!

The problem is $.

Parlimentary democracy makes more sense.


FYI - Gore won the popular vote.

We need to implement the voting machines they use in Australia with open source code.


I notice that you have convieniently forgot to mention the crony capitalists (that are trying to sell our country to the highest bidder to increase their stock portfolios), the plutocrats (who are trying to deny you a place in the government process) and the oligarchs (who believe that you don't have the right breeding to make decisions for yourself) that have been in charge for a while. Your blind hatred of one segement of society is very transparent and dilutes any real message you trying to get out.

I have read through many of the things you have posted and, in between your vitrolic rantings, you do manage to make a few valid points. However, your overriding anger and hatred towards a few specific segment of society, while ignore the other segements of society that are accomplices in killing all of us pretty much nullifies any real points you are trying to make.


I am well aware of this. However, he bitched up and didn't fight for the integrity of the process. That make him look weak in the eyes of America. Had he manned up and fought tooth and nail for integrity in the voting process, this wouldn't be an issue.


Headhunter lives in a pre-Revolutionary dreamworld where industry doesn't exist, "capitalists" means smiling silversmiths, and the last three hundred years have been ignored (meaning that nothing bad has ever happened with capitalism)

Laissez-faire capitalism is as evil as communism. One day he might realize that...although I doubt it. I wonder how much different he would feel if it was his kids working in a mine...would you still claim that unions are evil socialists and capitalism is the top of the line?

He's a bullshit artist plain and simple.



Let's not get carried away here. Laissez-faire capitalism hasn't killed over a hundred million people in the past century. In fact, I doubt it's killed a million. At the same time, it's lifted the living standards and lifespans of billions since the early 19th century.


Uh-oh. With poll numbers like that, Bush might not get re-elected in 2008.


You and Al have been smoking too much durr. :slight_smile: (You have to speak Korean to get it.)

You guys do realize that your perceptions are influenced by the scientific outlook prevalent up until quite recently? Scientists used to believe that nature and the world around us was pretty random -- such as the Random Walk theory. We are now discovering that there's a lot more cause-and-effect in reality than previously thought. Think of society as a human body; you probably would NOT want to rearrange the internal organs (as these evolved over eons). Scientists are now beginning to see society in this way. They no longer think of society like furniture in a house (you can rearrange all you want).

What this means is that if you try some insanity, such as affirmative action, the results would be like rearranging the internal organs. (In other words, you're fucking with a mechanism that evolved over a long time frame.) This is why environmentalism, communism, a 'planned' economy and so forth are simply disasterous. We're fucking with a society in the process of evolving.

I say: leave it alone. It is evolving and is the result of billions of people interacting. Any sort of interference is monsterous -- which is why ONLY capitalism is natural and will lead to the well-being of the human race.


That is without-a-doubt the stupidest "theory" I have ever heard.


Actually Harris, the theory came about because science 'overreacted' when finally freed from the trappings of organised religion. Science reacted to dogmatism by rejecting ALL absolutes and ALL cause-and-effect which was NOT physical. Morality became relativistic. By believing that human beings are simply a result of their environment (Marx), that human beings do not have a specific nature, theorists like Marx tried to establish societies that don't fit human nature (which they didn't truly believe in). We are now finally beginning to understand that.

I know, you'll now proceed to call me a 'fucktard' or one of your other brilliant witticisms. Spare us, please.



no, but it's guaranteed that some other excrement with a different name will be elected...yeah!


Give H2 another five years of thinking about these issues... he may have the ability to progress.

I can't believe I'm giving him any credit at all!


We don't have laissez faire capitalism now. The government regulates things much more than they did in any other time in our history.

But when we did have it, slavery was legal, child labor was legal, there were no unions, and workers got paid next to nothing to do shit work. So yea, I'd say it probably killed lots and lots of people, maybe even more than Communism.

What I'm trying to say is that the extremes on either side are very bad, and just because unadulterated capitalism "works" doesn't mean that its any less brutal than communism or fascism.


This is one of the most off the wall, least sensical things you've ever written. Ever.

Not too mention that environmentalism has nothing to do with communism or a planned economy, it's about trying to salvage the ONLY FUCKING PLANET WE CAN LIVE ON. Money is no good if you've got nowhere nice to vacation to, huh? Although with your rants about it, you are starting to sound like the guy that just throws garbage out his window while he's driving...what exactly is wrong with you?


One liners, Vroom? You're stealing Harris' thunder.

Another little dog trying to hump my leg...