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Inside Politics

Poll: Majority gives Bush good job approval mark

Sixty percent of Americans have a positive opinion of President Bush, according to a recent poll.
United States
George W. Bush

(CNN) -- Fifty-five percent of Americans like the way President Bush is handling his job, while the approval rating for his Iraq policies is slightly lower, according to the first full CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll following the November 2 presidential election.

Forty-two percent of those polled don't believe Bush is doing a good job. Sixty percent have a positive opinion of Bush, versus 39 percent with the opposite view.

Many of the poll questions targeted foreign affairs, especially the U.S. performance in Iraq. The responses showed that Bush's positive approval rating does not necessarily translate into a perception of military success, said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Iraqi general elections are set for January 30 to choose a national assembly, a Kurdish assembly and 18 provincial governing councils.

Respondents were divided, with 51 percent saying the Iraqi elections will take place and 42 percent disagreeing.

Forty-nine percent of those surveyed doubt the United States will able to keep Iraq on track toward democratic government, and 46 percent are confident it will be done.

Responding to whether the United States made a mistake in sending troops to Iraq, 47 percent said yes, and 51 percent said no.

Asked who was winning the war in Iraq -- the United States and its allies or insurgents -- 46 percent of respondents said neither side, and 44 percent said the United States and its supporters.

The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

U.S. and Iraqi military forces almost completely control Falluja, considered a hotbed of insurgent activity, but violence has spiked elsewhere. Sixty-one percent of those polled said they feel offensives in Falluja and elsewhere will make Iraq better.

But nearly three-quarters of those polled said they are worried about Iraq, with 35 percent very worried and 39 percent fairly worried.

On other foreign affairs questions:

• 52 percent don't feel Iraqis will accept the election results.

• A majority believe Iran (58 percent) and North Korea (60 percent) represent long-term, but not immediate, threats to the United States. Bush has identified both as part of an "Axis of Evil," citing nuclear threats.

• Nearly two-thirds of respondents feel Israel and the Arab nations will never resolve their differences; 37 percent say they will.

On controversial social questions, 63 percent believe openly gay men and lesbian women should be allowed to serve in the military; 32 percent don't. Forty-three percent oppose both same-sex marriages and civil unions.

Regarding officials in Bush's administration, Secretary of State Colin Powell was most popular among poll respondents, with 87 percent saying they have a favorable impression of him. National security adviser Condoleezza Rice is viewed as favorable by 63 percent; Vice President Dick Cheney by 53 percent; Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, 51 percent; and Attorney General John Ashcroft, 50 percent.

There was strong agreement, 72 percent, that the country is more deeply divided on issues than it has been in the past several years. Respondents also said they believe Americans are divided when it comes to values -- 65 percent say greatly divided, and 34 percent say united.

The survey results were based on telephone interviews with 1,015 adults Friday through Sunday.

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