In the polls


Geraldine Sealey
April 12, 2004 10:08PM (UTC)

A Newsweek poll shows George W. Bush taking a hit last week. John Kerry now has a 7-point lead over Bush in a two-way race, and leads Bush by four points with Nader on the ballot.

Only 36 percent of those polled say they are satisfied with "the way things are going in this country," an indicator that is obviously bad for the incumbent. 59 percent say they are dissatisfied. Newsweek says: "And while President George W. Bush's job approval rating remains steady at 49 percent, where it has been since the end of January, the president's favorability ratings are lower than they've ever been. Forty-eight percent of those polled view Bush favorably, down four points over last month. Kerry's ratings remain unchanged at 51 percent favorable."

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On Iraq: Nearly half (46 percent, up from 39 percent in January) of Americans say they are either 'not too' or 'not at all' confident that the United States will ever be able to bring democracy to Iraq, and 40 percent are very concerned that Iraq will become 'another Vietnam.' Forty-two percent of those polled now say invading Iraq makes Americans more vulnerable to a terrorist attack, compared to 28 percent at the end of last year.

And a little split personality here: "Still, 57 percent remain confident that the Bush administration did the right thing in going to Iraq and 63 percent would support sending more troops if necessary."

The University of Pennsylvania's National Annenberg Election Survey looked at the public perceptions of Bush and Kerry.

From the Washington Post story on the survey: "Bush's largest advantage over Kerry was on the attribute 'will make tough decisions despite political pressure.' He also outdid his Democratic rival on such traits as 'strong leader,' 'steady,' 'easy to like as a person' and 'has a clear vision of where he wants to lead the country.' And Bush was less likely to be seen as somebody who 'says one thing, does another,' or who 'changes his mind for political reasons.' On the other hand, Bush was much more likely than Kerry to be viewed as stubborn. Using a 10-point scale, respondents gave Bush a 6.70 for stubbornness, the highest rating for either man on any attribute; Kerry got 5.02. Bush also led in such undesirable traits as 'reckless' and 'arrogant,' while Kerry was seen as more 'knowledgeable.'"

A BBC poll of viewers worldwide shows how the Bush administration is alienating people around the globe. "Globalization and the United States pose a more serious threat to the world than war and terrorism, according to a BBC poll. Corruption came second on a list of the biggest problems facing the world, the survey of BBC viewers worldwide found."

"Conflicts -- war and terrorism -- ranked third, with 50 percent, followed by hunger, 49 percent, and climate change with 44 percent. BBC World asked 1,500 viewers of its news and international channel for the biggest problems in the world with 52 percent saying the United States and globalization," the BBC reported.

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Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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