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Poll: More Americans prefer Bush's father

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Only one in four Americans believe President Bush is a better president than his father, George H. W. Bush, a new CNN poll has found.

Six in 10 said the elder Bush, who served one term from 1989-1993, did a better job in office, according to a poll conducted by Opinion Research Corporation. Twelve percent said both were equally good or bad, and 2 percent offered no opinion.

The poll also found that 59 percent disapprove of President Bush's handling of his job; 38 percent approve of it. (Read the complete poll results -- PDF)

The poll's release comes two weeks after President Bush and the GOP lost control of both houses in the midterm elections. In addition, two men associated with the elder Bush -- Robert Gates and James Baker -- have emerged with new roles.

The current president has tapped Gates, who served as CIA director under the elder Bush, to replace Donald Rumsfeld as secretary of defense.

Gates is also a member of the Iraq Study Group, which Baker -- a longtime Bush family confidante -- is leading to recommend changes in the U.S. strategy there.

The poll, which interviewed 1,025 adult Americans by telephone from Friday through Sunday, also found that most Americans expressed more confidence in congressional Democrats than in President Bush to handle the nation's major issues. (See the results)

More than a majority of the people polled said congressional Democrats were better able than Bush to handle the situation in Iraq, foreign affairs and also taxes, the economy, and the federal deficit -- three signature GOP issues.

Sixty-one percent said Democrats were better able than Bush to handle the deficit -- the same vote of confidence Democrats received on issues historically associated with the party such as Social Security and health care.

On Iraq, 53 percent of those polled said they were more confident in Democrats than in Bush; 38 percent felt Bush had a better grasp.

An even larger margin -- 57 percent -- expressed confidence in Democrats' ability to handle the economy; 36 percent had more confidence in Bush.

Bush and the Democrats are virtually tied on the issue of terrorism, however.

The poll has a margin of sampling error of 3 percentage points.

The findings are in great contrast to January 2002, when a poll found Bush had the confidence of a majority of Americans on taxes and the economy, with overwhelming support on terrorism and foreign affairs. Democrats dominated on only one issue, according to that poll: health care.

A review of CNN/USA Today/Gallup trends found that President Bush's predecessor, Bill Clinton, suffered similar polling results back in December 1994, a month after the GOP seized congressional control during his presidency.

A majority of Americans polled then expressed more confidence in Republicans than in Clinton on the economy, foreign affairs and taxes. More Americans also expressed confidence in Republicans than in Clinton in handling the federal budget and health care.


A new poll finds that former President Bush fares better than his son in terms of job approval.



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