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Bush approval hits new lows in poll

Support for war in Iraq also lowest ever


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Support for the war in Iraq has fallen and 54 percent of those surveyed said the invasion of Iraq was a mistake.
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CNN's Bill Schneider on a new poll showing Bush's rating at an all-time low.
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(CNN) -- President Bush holds a single-point lead over Democratic challenger John Kerry in the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll of likely voters, but voters' approval of Bush's performance and support for the war in Iraq dropped to new lows in the survey.

With nearly six months remaining before the November election, Bush led Kerry 48 percent to 47 percent in the survey -- a reversal of a poll taken last week, which found the Massachusetts senator with a 1-point edge, 49-48.

With consumer advocate Ralph Nader's independent candidacy factored in, the latest results showed Bush the choice of 47 percent of likely voters. Kerry, the presumptive Democratic nominee, had 45 percent. Nader had 5 percent

The poll questions on the election had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points, meaning the presidential race remains close.

The survey, conducted Friday through Sunday, found that among all adults -- not just likely voters -- only 46 percent approved of Bush's performance in office -- the lowest rating of his presidency in this poll.

After April's heavy casualties in Iraq and the emerging scandal of the treatment of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. troops, only 44 percent said they believed the war was worthwhile -- another low.

Fifty-four percent said last year's invasion of Iraq was a mistake, and only 41 percent of adults said they believed Bush was doing a good job handling the war.

Only 37 percent of those surveyed said they were satisfied with the way things are going in the United States -- a sharp drop from early January, when 55 percent said they were satisfied. Those findings had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Bush's handling of terrorism issues remained his strongest point among American adults.

Fifty-four percent of those surveyed said they approved of his performance.

Those poll also said he would do a better job than Kerry by 17 percentage points -- 55-38.

Only 41 percent of voters said they thought Bush was doing a good job handling the economy, with 56 percent disapproving; and 58 percent said they disapproved of how he was handling the war in Iraq.

On economic matters, 54 percent said they thought Kerry would do a better job, while on Iraq, Bush held a 3-point advantage over Kerry, 48-45.

The survey found the country was split over how Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has handled his job, with 46 percent approving and 45 percent disapproving.

But less than a third of those questioned thought Rumsfeld should resign or be fired over the Abu Ghraib scandal.


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