In the polls


Geraldine Sealey
May 14, 2004 6:07PM (UTC)

The trend seems clear: Bush's poll ratings have been hurt as Americans grow more uneasy about the war in Iraq. The latest CNN/Time magazine poll shows Bush's overall job approval rating fell from 49 percent to 46 percent since April 8, while his disapproval rating rose from 47 percent to 49 percent -- the first time that more people disapproved of Bush's job performance than approved, CNN said. Meanwhile, the CNN/Time poll says John Kerry is starting to benefit. Kerry bests Bush 51 to 46 percent among likely voters. In February, Bush was ahead of Kerry by two percentage points. With Ralph Nader in the race, Kerry gets 49 percent, Bush 44 percent and Nader 6 percent.

The latest Pew poll says "public satisfaction with national conditions" has fallen to 33%, its lowest level in eight years, and President Bush's overall job approval rating has dropped into negative territory: 44% approve of his job performance, while 48% disapprove. For the first time, a majority of Americans (51%) say the war is not going well, but 53% support keeping troops in Iraq until a stable government is established.

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Even before the new CNN/Time poll, New York Times looked at the recent poll numbers and said: " ... Months of setbacks in Iraq are clearly taking their toll. Mr. Bush's job-approval numbers have sunk to all-time lows, with a majority of Americans now saying, for the first time, that the invasion of Iraq was not worth the mounting cost."

John Kerry and George W. Bush have been neck-and-neck in the critical battleground state of Ohio -- but this week, Kerry pulled ahead. Kerry had a 49 percent to 42 percent edge over Bush in the latest American Research Group poll. Independent Ralph Nader registered 2 percent, and 7 percent of voters said they were undecided. No Republican has been elected president without winning Ohio.

Four out of five Iraqis hold a negative view of the U.S. occupation authority and of coalition forces. In the poll, 80 percent of the Iraqis questioned reported a lack of confidence in the Coalition Provisional Authority, and 82 percent said they disapprove of the U.S. and allied militaries in Iraq.

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Ruy Teixeira surveyed the latest poll data on Bush and Iraq, and says: "I believe this is the first time I've seen this in a public poll: Bush's approval rating on Iraq has been measured below 40 percent. In the latest CBS News poll, conducted May 11, his rating on Iraq clocks in at 39 percent approval/58 percent disapproval (only 37 percent among independents). ... Could Bush's ratings on Iraq get any worse? Based on the way things are going, I would have to say that's a very strong possibility."


Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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