In the polls


Geraldine Sealey
April 27, 2004 1:20AM (UTC)

President Bush's approval ratings have improved over the month of April even as Americans continue to express strong concerns about Iraq and the way the president is handling that situation. The president's approval ratings went up in April despite concerns about how he's handling Iraq, according to a new Pew Research Center poll 48 percent now approve and 43 disapprove of Bush's overall job performance, up from 43 percent approval in early April. Still, 48 percent disapprove of his handling of the Iraq situation, and 36 percent think Bush has a clear plan for bringing the situation in Iraq to a successful conclusion.

"Nonetheless, these evaluations are no worse and if anything slightly better than they were in Pew's previous survey, conducted April 1-4," the pollsters say. "Further, nearly a month of bad news of mounting casualties and growing instability in Iraq have not resulted in a sea change in opinions about Iraq policy. Most Americans continue to say the U.S. made the right decision to go to war (54 percent now, 57 percent in early April). Moreover, 53 percent favor keeping U.S. forces in Iraq until a stable government is established, compared with 40 percent who support withdrawing the troops as soon as possible. While some recent nationwide polls have found many Americans expressing concern that Iraq might turn into another Vietnam, just 25 percent think that Iraq will turn out to be another Vietnam; a 54 percent majority believes that the U.S. will accomplish its goals there. There is a wide partisan disparity on this issue, as a 41 percent plurality of Democrats believe Iraq will become another Vietnam while Republicans overwhelmingly reject that idea (80 percent). But age is not a factor in these attitudes. Americans in the mid-40s and older those who personally remember the Vietnam War are no more likely to see parallels between Iraq and Vietnam than are younger people."

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Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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