Bush’s missteps drive his approval rating even lower

President George W. Bush’s job rating has fallen to an all-time low of 34 percent, amid strong opposition to the Dubai Ports World deal and increasing pessimism over the war in Iraq, according to a CBS News poll released on Monday.

Bush’s overall job approval fell eight points from 42 percent last month. Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they disapproved of Bush’s performance on the job, the poll found.

Bush’s previous low job approval rating of 35 percent came last October, a month after Hurricane Katrina laid waste to the Gulf Coast and shortly after the U.S. death toll in Iraq reached the 2,000 mark, CBS said.

Long among his strongest suits, ratings for Bush’s handling of Iraq fell to a new low of 30 percent, down from 37 percent in January, the poll found.

In addition, 62 percent of Americans said they think U.S. efforts to bring stability and order to Iraq were going badly compared with 36 percent who said things were going well.

In recent days, the Bush administration has faced increasing sectarian violence and fears of civil war in Iraq as well as strong bipartisan congressional opposition to a deal allowing an Arab state-owned company to operate six key U.S. ports.

According to the poll, 70 percent believe the Dubai Ports World transaction should not be allowed to go through while only 21 percent did not see the ports deal as a problem.

One surprising bright spot for the administration in the polls was that Americans appeared ready to move on after Vice President Dick Cheney’s hunting accident. Seventy-six percent said it was understandable that the accident could happen.

However media coverage of the accident may have made the public’s generally negative view of Cheney a bit more so, CBS said. The poll found that 46 percent hold a negative view of Cheney and 18 percent hold a favorable view, down from a 23 percent favorable rating in January.

The telephone poll of 1,018 adults was conducted February 22-26 and had a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.