Public fed up with Bush & Congress

Like twin Jacques Cousteaus of the political world, President Bush and Congress are probing the depths of public opinion polling as voters exasperated over Iraq, immigration and other issues give them strikingly low grades.

In a remarkable span, the approval that people voice for the job Bush is doing has sunk to record lows for his presidency in the AP-Ipsos and other polls in recent weeks, dipping within sight of President Nixon’s levels during Watergate. Ominously for Republicans hoping to hold the White House and recapture Congress next year, Bush’s support has plunged among core GOP groups like evangelicals, and pivotal independent swing voters.

Congress is doing about the same. Like Bush, lawmakers are winning approval by roughly three in 10. Such levels are significantly low for a president, and poor but less unusual for Congress.

“The big thing would be the war,” said independent Richard MacDonald, 56, a retired printer from Redding, Calif. “I don’t think he knew what he got into when he got into it.” As for Congress, MacDonald said, “It’s just the same old same old with me. A lot of promises they don’t keep.”

Bush was risking more unpopularity by commuting I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s prison term in the CIA leak case, and his refusal to rule out a full pardon. Polls in March after the former White House aide’s conviction showed two in three opposed to a pardon.

The public’s dissatisfaction may be more serious for Republicans because even though Bush cannot run again, he is the face of the GOP. He will remain that until his party picks its 2008 presidential nominee — and through the campaign if Democrats can keep him front and center.

“Everything about this race will be about George Bush and the mess he left,” Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., a member of the House Democratic leadership, said about 2008. “He’ll be on the ballot.”

Congress’ numbers could signal danger for majority Democrats, since they echo the low ratings just before the GOP 1994 takeover of the House and Senate, and the Democratic capture of both chambers last November.

But unlike the president, Congress usually has low approval ratings no matter which party is in control, and poor poll numbers have not always meant the majority party suffered on Election Day. Voters usually show more disdain for Congress as an institution than for their own representative — whom they pick.

A majority in a CNN-Opinion Research Corp. survey in late June said Democratic control of Congress was good for the country. Yet only 42 percent approved of what Democratic leaders have done this year — when Democrats failed to force Bush to change policy on Iraq.

Republican strategists hope the dim mood will help the GOP in congressional elections.

“The voters voted for change and they expected change, and they see an institution still incapable of getting anything done,” said GOP pollster Linda DiVall.

The abysmal numbers are already affecting how Bush and Congress are governing and candidates’ positioning for 2008.

Last Thursday’s Senate collapse of Bush’s immigration bill showed anew how lawmakers feel free to ignore his agenda. Republican senators like Richard Lugar of Indiana and George Voinovich of Ohio have joined increasingly bipartisan calls for an Iraq troop withdrawal.

This year’s GOP presidential debates have seen former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, Arizona Sen. John McCain and others criticize Bush or his administration for mishandling the war and other issues. Some Republican congressional candidates have not hesitated to distance themselves from Bush.

“President Bush is my friend, and I don’t always agree with my friends,” said Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., facing a tough re-election fight next year. “And on the issues of Iraq and immigration, I simply disagree with his approach.”

Bush’s doleful numbers speak for themselves.

In an early June AP-Ipsos poll, 32 percent approved of his work, tying his low in that survey. Other June polls in which he set or tied his personal worst included 27 percent by CBS News, 31 percent by Fox News-Opinion Dynamics, 32 percent by CNN-Opinion Research Corp. and 26 percent by Newsweek.

The Gallup poll’s lowest presidential approval rating was President Truman’s 23 percent in 1951 and 1952 during the Korean war, compared with Nixon’s 24 percent days before he resigned in August 1974. Bush notched the best ever, 90 percent days after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The AP’s June survey showed that compared with an AP exit poll of voters in November 2004, Bush’s approval was down among swing voters. His support dropped from about half of independents to a fifth; from half to a third of Catholics; and from nearly half to a fifth of moderates.

Among usually loyal GOP voters, his approval was down from about eight in 10 to roughly half of both conservatives and white evangelicals.

Congress had a 35 percent approval rating in a May AP-Ipsos survey. Polls in June found 27 percent approval by CBS News, 25 percent by Newsweek and 24 percent by Gallup-USA Today.

Congress’ all-time Gallup low was 18 percent during a 1992 scandal over House post office transactions; its high was 84 percent just after Sept. 11.

In the AP poll, lawmakers won approval from only about three in 10 midwesterners, independents and married people with children — pivotal groups both parties court aggressively.

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AP Manager of News Surveys Trevor Tompson and AP News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this report.

Comments

  1. Jenifer D.

    Too bad the Dimocrats lacked the grapes to call Bush’s bluff. Does everybody realize what would have happened if Bushevik had let the funding run out for those deployed uniformed men and women? If he thought his approval rating is low now; I bet it would have dropped through the bloody floorboards with hundreds of thousands of angry protesters storming the whitehouse, many of whom families of the troops now stranded in Iraq. The secret service, Blackwater Army, and any other mercenaries the reich has been keeping secret would be too overwhelmed to do anything about it except find a good place to hunker down until the dust settles!

    There is only so much indignity and humiliation the human spirit can withstand before it rebels; I’m putting money on that about to be reality before the season is over.

  2. kent shaw

    I think the Democrats erred in funding continuation of the Iraq occupation. But then, Bush is just stubborn enough to let existing funds run out and to actually leave them there without ammunition, food and any other materiel instead of spending remaining funds to pull the troops out. I think that is what the Democrats were afraid of, not to mention the possibility of blackmail with information obtained by Bush’s felonious assault on the Constitution by way of his unwarranted NSA spying on Americans. So it goes.

  3. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    Demokrats had their chance and blew it. Now the Republikaners are painfully aware they are supporting a
    Fuhrer on the Titanik re-arranging its deck chairs. So we hear Dick Luger now calling for phased withdrawl.
    The Repulikaners very well could take the issue of a mandatory withdrawl date away from Demokrats making it their own and the Jack-Ass party has no one but themselves to blame. If the Republikaners take the mandatory withdrawl issue away from the Jack-Ass party, that is fine, I just want the troops out of Iraq. Nancette Pelosi & Hairy Reed are making brave noises about forcing another vote for phased withdrawl but Karl Rove will whip up the Right Wing Noise Machine into a frenzy and scare the little Spineless [CENSORED] Demokrats again. What was funny is the fear mongering of Rove did not scare the voting public more then it scared the Haus Demokrats into caving into BushBaby. AIIIEEEEEEIIEEEEEAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!

  4. www.nazilieskill.us

    Throughout history, the majority has always been right WHEN IT IS TOO LATE.

    John Hanks, Laramie, Wyoming

  5. LurkingFromTheLeft

    Oh what excellent words Kent –

    …I’m still so thankful I gave up being catholic for Lent many years ago –

    …It is how they keep the sheeple in line –

    …Fear of the end –

    …Given what we’ve endured since January 2001, what could be worse than THIS? –

    LFTL

  6. kent shaw

    “Religion has become to me the biggest catalyst for evil in this world, and most likely will be the cause of its undoing.”

    I really do not understand religion. If there is a god, why would I need a middleman (a priest, an imam, a rabbi, a prophet) to speak for that god? I find it a bit pretentious that an individual sets himself up as a middleman or a prophet speaking for a creator, claiming that a creator has spoken to him and picked him specifically to lead the masses in worship of that imaginary supernatural being. What a scam.

    Religion is a scam for control of people, just like government. Combine the two and you are really in trouble, leading to wars over who’s middlemen (priests, imams, rabbis, prophets) espouse the correct interpretation of the god’s desires.

    Human beings fear death so they imagine an all powerful supernatural friend that will spare them from it, promising some kind of supernatural “afterlife”. It is time for the human race to grow up and face facts. This is all there is. Live and help live. Help the earth live. No more pollution for profit. No more wars for gods and profits for prophets.

  7. TRUTH 101

    Excellent Comments Sandy, Tinker, Judy B & SEAL,

    If I may, one at a time

    SANDY, HERE YOU HAVE HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD. YES, WE DO NEED THIS DISCUSSION. BUT, THE DISCUSSION UNFORTUNATELY IS ALL IT WOULD BE IMO AND WILL NOT CHANGE ONE THING. THEREIN LIES THE PROBLEM AND HOW THIS COMPLETELY CRIMINAL ADMINISTRATION CONTINUES TO OPERATE UNCHECKED…OTHER THAN BY DISCUSSION.

    TINKER

    I think you have a LOT of comnpany in your feelings.
    The TV preachers gross millions from their “flock” by simply telling them what they want or somehow figure they need to hear and things that any real christian should already know. WSe will pray for you for a donation. We have Pat Robertson, IMO a religious zealot AKA Businessman who says it’s OK to kill Fidel or Hugo and that God talks only to him. Then after the commercial gives stock tips and opinions for those that can’t afford the stocks in the first place. The real trouble is he has people following his every move and word. That shows what some are made of. He should have no “followers” at all Benny hinn used to take in up to 64 million a year for his traveling roadshow curing the psyco sematic of all sorts of malady’s while the masses OOOOHH and AAAHHH. I once heard him tell a FELLOW PREACHER NOT TYO TOUCH HIM OR COME NEAR HIM as the AURA of GOD was all over him and this other religious man, a real one by the way could suffer severe injury by coming to close to him. …AND HE STILL HAS FOLLOWERS: This explains a lot

    JUDY B:

    The man’s title is FEARED because of the power it does hold as you say. That Man, his Power given to him ARE BNOTH being ontrolled by a dark, sisnuister individual in my opinion who has the Name of Dick Cheney, The people, the congress, the Press, can’t get to BUSH, Some realize there is NOTHING TO GET TO. Therefore Cheney continues to operate unimpeaded by anyone. Kucinich has it absolutely correct IMO, but of course, nobody believes him either.
    .

    SEAL

    Agreed being retired miolitary, Commanders wanting to make General will obey any order no matter what.Those that do not or disagree with GWB or more likely Dick Cheney are replaced, George W. get told what to do and does it. The real problem is the PATTON wannabes that you see on Fox at every turn offering their “expert opinions” are the onee’s that keep this nation stumbling, the congress confused the thinking disgusted and BUBBA waving the flag entertained. THEY are half responsible for the deaths in Iraq. Fox goes to IRAQ and interviews those who will say nice things on camera about George W.. Then their family back home can see they are OK Discagree with Fox thinking, or anything else and you never get on the tube….Also saying anything bad about Iraq, no matter how bad it may be invites anything from a letter of reprimand to outright discharge. SAD SORRY STATE isn’t it.??

  8. LurkingFromTheLeft

    THEY are the REAL WMD –

    …W*****t’s that is –

    …wonder when one is planned for downtown Baghdad? –

    LFTL

  9. gene

    THIS NATION HAS TURNED (OVER THE PAST SEVERAL DECADES) INTO ONE SICK MESS!!!! Watch out (today as you pretend to celebrate the 4th of July) for those hotdogs you bought at watmart, hell on the GI track.

  10. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    If the Democrats did hold the line on the last spending bill with a mandatory withdrawl date, I think the presure would have been way more on Bush then Congress.

    Lets say for discussions sake, the Dems kept sending him back a spending bill with withdrawl dates in it and Bush did not lift a finger with the intention of just letting the troops go without supplies, ammunition, replacement parts etc. I don’t think the chiefs of staff at the Pentagon would stand idly by while the troops were being truly put in mortal danger, But as you said Kent, and with which I wholeheartedly agree, Bush’s stubborness knows no bounds.

    The book,’Bush on the Couch’, really gives a good picture of Bush’s gray matter in the most revealing way in his inflexability

    However, I still think the Dems should not have caved, the Cheifs of Staff at the Pentagon would have put more pressure on Dubya as well as other Republikaners.

    Your point is well taken though Kent, and I do not believe I have heard all that much discussion on this scenario.

    Here is the Question: If Congress had kept sending Bush back a spending bill with a mandatory withdrawl date, would Bush just have let the supplies run out, endangering the troops?

  11. gene

    Dam, just read through most of the post on this article and they all represent very good points of truth not heard by most of the citizens of this nation.

    In anycase the “bottom-line” (I) mabe could safely sum-up is first “we the people” are in a shit load of trouble and second, its going to take a miracle to fix it (it being all the trouble).

  12. kent shaw

    “I don’t think the chiefs of staff at the Pentagon would stand idly by while the troops were being truly put in mortal danger”

    I think you are right, Klaus.