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Poll: Bush approval mark at all-time low

The public's view of President Bush's trustworthiness has slipped.



-Truman: 22% mid-February, 1952

-Eisenhower: 49% mid-July, 1960

-Kennedy: 56% mid-September, 1963

-Johnson: 35% early August, 1968

-Nixon: 24% mid-July, 1974, and early August, 1974

-Ford: 37% early January, 1975, and late March, 1975

-Carter: 28% late June, 1979

-Reagan: 35% late January, 1983

-George H.W. Bush: 29% late July, 1992

-Clinton: 37% early June, 1993

-George W. Bush: 37%* mid-November, 2005

* to date

Source: Gallup polls, 1952-1991; CNN/USA Today/Gallup polls, 1992-present.


George W. Bush
Democratic Party

(CNN) -- Beset with an unpopular war and an American public increasingly less trusting, President Bush faces the lowest approval rating of his presidency, according to a national poll released Monday.

Bush also received his all-time worst marks in three other categories in the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll. The categories were terrorism, Bush's trustworthiness and whether the Iraq war was worthwhile.

Bush's 37 percent overall approval rating was two percentage points below his ranking in an October survey. Both polls had a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. (Watch: The last Bush Democrat? -- 2:02)

Sixty percent of the 1,006 adult Americans interviewed by telephone Friday through Sunday said they disapprove of how Bush is handling his job as president.

The White House has said it doesn't pay attention to poll numbers and the figures do not affect policy.

"We have a proud record of accomplishment and a positive agenda for the future," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters Wednesday.

"We look forward to continuing to talk about it. I mean, you can get caught up in polls; we don't. Polls are snapshots in time."

Bush, who received high marks after the terrorist attacks of 2001, also rated poorly in the new poll for his policy on terrorism. For the first time, less than half -- 48 percent -- of those surveyed said they approved of how the president was handling the war on terror. Forty-nine percent said they disapprove.

In November 2001, Bush had an 87 percent overall approval mark and an 86 percent rating on terrorism.

Bush has been under fire from Democratic lawmakers for the way his administration made the case to invade Iraq in 2003 and how it has handled the conflict since then.

The president fired back in a speech Monday, accusing Democrats of "playing politics." (Full story)

In the new poll, 60 percent said it was not worth going to war in Iraq, while 38 percent said it was worthwhile. The question was asked of about half of those surveyed and had a margin of error of five percentage points. The results marked a decline in support of seven percentage points from two months earlier.

Bush's lowest approval ratings came on two issues that divide his own Republican Party.

On federal spending, 71 percent disapproved of his performance and 26 percent approved. The approval rating was the same on immigration issues, and the disapproval mark was 65 percent.

Sixty-one percent of respondents disapproved of Bush's handling of the economy, and 37 percent approved.

The country appears to be split on whether Bush is a strong president and whether or not Americans personally like him.

When asked about his abilities, 49 percent of those surveyed said he was a strong president and 49 percent said he was a weak leader.

About 50 percent of people polled said they disliked Bush, with 6 percent claiming to hate the president.

Bush's overall approval mark matched the 37 percent rating of newly elected President Clinton in June 1993. (Interactive: Second-term slump)

When asked if they trust Bush more than they had Clinton, 48 percent of respondents said they trusted Bush less, while 36 percent said they trusted him more and 15 percent said they trusted Bush the same as Clinton.

For the first time, more than half of the public thinks Bush is not honest and trustworthy -- 52 percent to 46 percent.

A week ago, President Bush campaigned for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Jerry Kilgore, who lost the election a day later to Democratic Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine. (Full story)

In the poll, 56 percent of registered voters said they would be likely to vote against a local candidate supported by Bush, while 34 percent said the opposite.

Only 9 percent said their first choice in next year's elections would be a Republican who supports Bush on almost every major issue.

Forty-six percent said the country would be better off if Congress were controlled by Democrats, while 34 percent backed a GOP majority.

A large majority of Republicans -- 80 percent -- approve of Bush's performance, compared with 28 percent of independents and 7 percent of Democrats. Those results had a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

Vice President Dick Cheney's approval rating has dropped 14 points since the start of the year, down from 54 percent in January to 40 percent.

His chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, resigned last month after he was indicted on charges including obstruction of justice and perjury. Libby is accused of lying to investigators and a grand jury investigating the disclosure of the identity of a CIA officer whose husband criticized the White House case for war. (Full story)

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