Americans No Longer Trust Bush

Most Americans no longer trust President Bush. His personal credibility is eroding at a time when Iraq has become the top public priority and the White House is engulfed in controversy over senior Bush adviser Karl Rove, a poll released on Wednesday says.

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed the percentage of Americans who believe Bush is “honest and straightforward” fell to 41 percent from 50 percent in January, while those who say they doubt his veracity climbed to 45 percent from 36 percent.

The telephone survey, which was conducted July 8-11 and included responses from 1,009 adults, also showed that Iraq has replaced jobs as the leading issue among Americans.

With a 3.1 percent margin of error, polling data said 40 percent see Iraq as the top priority for the United States, against 34 percent who view jobs as their main concern. In January, jobs ranked highest among 46 percent to 39 percent for Iraq.

The new poll also showed Bush’s overall job approval rating slipping to 46 percent from 47 percent in May, while his disapproval rating crept upward to 49 percent from 47 percent.

The White House this week has been reeling amid controversy over Rove, the top Bush political adviser who was named by a Time magazine reporter as one of the sources who identified CIA agent Valerie Plame to the media in 2003.

Democrats have called on Bush to fire Rove or block his access to classified information. But Bush, who originally pledged to dismiss anyone responsible for leaking Plame’s identity, said he will withhold judgment on his deputy chief of staff for now.