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Inside Politics

Poll: More optimism about economy, country's direction

America Votes 2004: Presidential race
America Votes 2004

(CNN) -- Americans are more optimistic about the nation's economy and less dissatisfied about the overall direction of the country, but their improved mood has not affected President Bush's approval ratings, according to a Gallup poll released Tuesday.

The poll also showed that the handover of sovereignty to Iraqis has had little effect on opinion about that conflict, with a majority of Americans still staying it was a mistake to send troops there.

Asked if economic conditions were getting better, 51 percent agreed they were, with only 38 percent saying the economy was deteriorating. That's a shift from early May, when only 43 percent thought economic conditions were getting better and 51 percent though they were getting worse.

Asked to rate economic conditions, 37 percent said they were excellent or good, 41 answered only fair and 21 percent poor. Two months ago, just 29 percent had rated the economy as excellent or good, 43 percent thought it was fair and 27 percent thought it was poor.

Gallup also asked poll respondents whether they were satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States. The national mood still tilts toward pessimism, with 57 percent dissatisfied and just 41 percent satisfied. But that's a shift from May, when 62 percent were dissatisfied and only 36 percent were satisfied.

In the latest poll, President Bush's job approval stood at 47 percent and his personal approval at 52 percent, which were virtually unchanged since Gallup asked that question in June.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry also had a steady personal favorability rating, at 56 percent, while his new running mate, Sen. John Edwards, came in at 55 percent. Vice President Dick Cheney was viewed favorably by 46 percent of poll respondents.

On the war in Iraq, 54 percent of those polled said sending troops to Iraq was a mistake, compared to 45 percent who said the deployment was the right thing to do. Asked if it was worth going to war in Iraq, opinion narrowed slightly, with 47 percent saying it was worth it and 50 percent saying it was not.

The survey of 1,000 adults was conducted Thursday through Sunday, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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