Iraq, Economy Remain Most Important Problems

by Frank Newport

Bush job approval steady at 53%

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- President George W. Bush's job approval rating is at 53%, roughly similar to what it has been since the Nov. 2 election, and similar to the job approval rating he received in early December of last year.

However, Bush's current job approval is substantially below the rating he received early in December 2002 and December 2001. Bush's current rating is well below the post-election job approval ratings of the five other presidents who have been re-elected since Dwight Eisenhower in 1956 (in December of their re-election years). The new poll also shows that Iraq and the economy remain the most important problems facing the country, although fewer Americans now than at any time since June 2002 mention economic issues in response to this question. While perceptions of the war's progress in Iraq have deteriorated slightly since September, they are still as positive as at several other points earlier this year. There has been very little change in Congress' job approval rating.

Most Important Problem

Iraq and the economy remain the issues or concerns that Americans are most likely to mention when they are asked, "What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today?" There have been relatively few changes in this measure in recent months, although the percentage mentioning economic problems has now dropped to 29%, which is the lowest such percentage since June 2002. Mentions of Iraq as the nation's top problem, now at 23%, are not substantially changed over the last six months. Americans are also less likely to mention terrorism and healthcare now than earlier this year.

What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today? [Open-ended]

 

 

Dec
5-8,
2004

Nov
7-10,
2004

Oct
11-14,
2004

Sep
13-15,
2004

%

%

%

%

ECONOMIC PROBLEMS (NET)

29

38

40

37

1

Economy in general

12

17

21

21

2

Unemployment/Jobs

10

14

12

12

3

Federal budget deficit/
Federal debt

3

4

3

3

4

Fuel/Oil prices

2

1

2

1

5

Taxes

2

2

2

1

6

High cost of living/Inflation

1

1

1

1

7

Gap between rich and poor

1

*

*

*

8

Lack of money

1

1

1

1

9

Corporate corruption

1

1

*

*

10

Wage issues

*

1

1

*

11

Foreign trade/Trade deficit

*

1

*

1

Recession

--

--

*

*

 

 

 

 

NON-ECONOMIC PROBLEMS (NET)

76

78

78

82

1

War in Iraq/Fear of war/
Feelings of fear in this country

23

26

23

23

2

Terrorism

12

13

16

19

3

Ethics/Moral/ Religious/
Family decline; dishonesty;
lack of integrity

10

7

6

6

4

Poor healthcare/ hospitals;
high cost of healthcare

7

12

13

14

5

Dissatisfaction with government/
Congress/ politicians/ candidates;
poor leadership; corruption

6

4

4

6

6

National security

4

4

5

7

7

Education/Poor education/
Access to education

3

2

5

5

8

International issues/problems

3

3

2

3

9

Poverty/ Hunger/ Homelessness

2

1

2

2

10

Immigration/Illegal aliens

2

1

2

2

11

Lack of respect for each other

2

1

1

1

12

Medicare/Social Security issues

2

5

3

2

13

Unifying the country

2

2

1

1

14

Drugs

2

1

*

2

15

Judicial system/ Courts/Laws

2

3

2

2

16

Abortion

1

1

1

1

17

Foreign aid/Focus overseas

1

3

3

2

18

Environment/ Pollution

1

1

1

2

19

Children's behavior/way
they are raised

1

1

*

1

20

Crime/Violence

1

1

1

1

21

The media

1

1

*

*

22

Care for the elderly

*

*

1

1

23

Cancer/Diseases

*

--

--

--

24

Homosexuality/Gay issues

*

2

1

2

25

Welfare

*

*

1

1

26

Child abuse

*

--

--

*

27

Overpopulation

*

*

*

*

28

Race relations/ Racism

*

*

--

*

29

Abuse of power

*

*

*

*

30

Election year/Presidential
choices/Election reform

*

2

1

1

31

Lack of energy sources;
the energy crisis

*

*

*

1

Lack of military defense

--

*

*

--

Guns/Gun control

--

*

--

*

Space program/NASA

--

--

--

--

Other non-economic

4

3

4

4

 

 

 

 

No opinion

4

2

1

2

Total

129%

145%

143%

155%

 

 

 

 

* Less than 0.5%

How Are Things Going for the U.S. in Iraq?

This poll contained an update on a basic question asking Americans about the progress of U.S. involvement in Iraq: "In general, how would you say things are going for the U.S. in Iraq?"

There has been little change in the public's answer to this question. Forty percent of Americans say things are going either very or moderately well for the United States in Iraq, while a majority -- 59% -- says things are going either moderately or very badly in that country.

This new read on the public's views of Iraq continues a roller coaster of sorts in these perceptions. Views of the war were more positive in August and September, as well as early in the year, but are no lower now than they have been at other times in 2004.

Thus, although there has been a slight deterioration in positive views of the war situation compared to three months ago, the current perceptions are nothing dramatically different from other readings this year. And they are certainly not as negative as the low point, which came in April, when only 35% of Americans said the war was going well, and 64% said it was going badly.

Bush Job Approval

President Bush's job approval rating is at 53%, roughly what it has been across three Gallup Polls conducted since the election (Bush's approval rating was 53% in early November and 55% in mid-November).

Bush's average job approval rating so far in this first term has been 63%, so his current rating is somewhat below average. This is not surprising. Bush's first-term average remains quite high (and significantly higher than the 55% for all presidents) because of the extraordinarily high ratings he received in the months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Interestingly, Bush's current job approval rating is four points below the first Gallup rating for him, taken in early February 2001. Bush's approval rating in early December 2001 was 86%; in December 2002 it was 64%; and in December 2003 it was 55%.

Bush's current 53% job approval reading is lower than the December ratings of each of the five other presidents who have been re-elected since 1956 -- at the same point in their years of re-election:

December
Job Approval Ratings of
Re-Elected Presidents

2004  Bush

53%

1996  Clinton

58

1984  Reagan

59

1972  Nixon

59

1964  Johnson

69

1956  Eisenhower

79

There has been relatively little change in the sharp difference in how Republicans, independents, and Democrats view the president's job performance. In this latest poll, 93% of Republicans approve of the job Bush is doing, compared to 48% of independents and 11% of Democrats.

Congressional Job Approval

Approval of the job Congress is doing has been extremely steady this year. In the latest poll, 41% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, while 50% disapprove. Congressional job approval has ranged only between 40% and 43% across 11 polls conducted since February of this year (it was at 48% in January).

The high point for approval of the job Congress is doing (since 1974, when Gallup began measuring congressional job approval) came after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, when it reached 84% (October 2001). The low points were in June 1979 and March 1992, when only 19% and 18% of Americans, respectively, said they approved of the way Congress was handling its job.

Republicans this year have been much more likely than Democrats to approve of the job Congress is doing -- perhaps not surprising given the fact that the GOP controls both houses of Congress.

Survey Methods

These results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,003 adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Dec. 5-8, 2004. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is ±3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president?

 


Approve

Disapprove

No
opinion

2004

%

%

%

2004 Dec 5-8

53

44

3

 

 

 

2004 Nov 19-21

55

42

3

2004 Nov 7-10

53

44

3

2004 Oct 29-31

48

47

5

2004 Oct 22-24

51

46

3

2004 Oct 14-16

51

47

2

2004 Oct 11-14

48

49

3

2004 Oct 9-10

47

49

4

2004 Oct 1-3

50

48

2

2004 Sep 24-26

54

44

2

2004 Sep 13-15

52

45

3

2004 Sep 3-5

52

46

2

2004 Aug 23-25

49

47

4

2004 Aug 9-11

51

46

3

2004 Jul 30-Aug 1

48

49

3

2004 Jul 19-21

49

47

4

2004 Jul 8-11

47

49

4

2004 Jun 21-23

48

49

3

2004 Jun 3-6

49

49

2

2004 May 21-23

47

49

4

2004 May 7-9

46

51

3

2004 May 2-4

49

48

3

2004 Apr 16-18

52

45

3

2004 Apr 5-8

52

45

3

2004 Mar 26-28

53

44

3

2004 Mar 8-11

50

47

3

2004 Mar 5-7

49

48

3

2004 Feb 16-17

51

46

3

2004 Feb 9-12

51

46

3

2004 Feb 6-8

52

44

4

2004 Jan 29-Feb 1

49

48

3

2004 Jan 12-15

53

44

3

2004 Jan 9-11

59

38

3

2004 Jan 2-5

60

35

5

2003

 

 

 

2003 Dec 15-16

63

34

3

2003 Dec 11-14

56

41

3

2003 Dec 5-7

55

43

2

2003 Nov 14-16

50

47

3

2003 Nov 10-12

51

45

4

2003 Nov 3-5

54

43

3

2003 Oct 24-26

53

42

5

2003 Oct 10-12

56

40

4

2003 Oct 6-8

55

42

3

2003 Sep 19-21

50

47

3

2003 Sep 8-10

52

43

5

2003 Aug 25-26

59

37

4

2003 Aug 4-6

60

36

4

2003 Jul 25-27

58

38

4

2003 Jul 18-20

59

38

3

2003 Jul 7-9

62

34

4

2003 Jun 27-29

61

36

3

2003 Jun 12-15

63

33

4

2003 Jun 9-10

62

34

4

2003 May 30-Jun 1

64

32

4

2003 May 19-21

66

30

4

2003 Apr 22-23

70

26

4

2003 Apr 14-16

71

24

5

2003 Apr 7-9

69

26

5

2003 Apr 5-6

70

27

3

2003 Mar 29-30

71

26

3

2003 Mar 24-25

69

27

4

2003 Mar 22-23

71

25

4

2003 Mar 14-15

58

38

4

2003 Mar 3-5

57

37

6

2003 Feb 24-26

57

37

6

2003 Feb 17-19

58

37

5

2003 Feb 7-9

61

34

5

2003 Feb 3-6

59

35

6

2003 Jan 31-Feb 2

61

35

4

2003 Jan 23-25

60

36

4

2003 Jan 20-22

58

36

6

2003 Jan 20-22

58

36

6

2003 Jan 13-16

61

34

5

2003 Jan 10-12

58

37

5

2003 Jan 3-5

63

32

5

 


Approve

Disapprove

No
opinion

2002

%

%

%

2002 Dec 19-22

61

32

7

2002 Dec 16-17

63

33

4

2002 Dec 9-10

63

32

5

2002 Dec 5-8

64

29

7

2002 Nov 22-24

65

28

7

2002 Nov 11-14

66

26

8

2002 Nov 8-10

68

27

5

2002 Oct 31-Nov 3

63

29

8

2002 Oct 21-22

67

28

5

2002 Oct 14-17

62

31

7

2002 Oct 3-6

67

28

5

2002 Sep 23-26

68

26

6

2002 Sep 20-22

66

30

4

2002 Sep 13-16

70

26

4

2002 Sep 5-8

66

30

4

2002 Sep 2-4

66

29

5

2002 Aug 19-21

65

28

7

2002 Aug 5-8

68

26

6

2002 Jul 29-31

71

23

6

2002 Jul 26-28

69

26

5

2002 Jul 22-24

69

24

7

2002 Jul 9-11

73

21

6

2002 Jul 5-8

76

18

6

2002 Jun 28-30

76

19

5

2002 Jun 21-23

73

21

6

2002 Jun 17-19

74

20

6

2002 Jun 7-8

74

18

8

2002 Jun 3-6

70

23

7

2002 May 28-29

77

17

6

2002 May 20-22

76

17

7

2002 May 6-9

76

19

5

2002 Apr 29-May 1

77

20

3

2002 Apr 22-24

77

17

6

2002 Apr 8-11

75

20

5

2002 Apr 5-7

76

19

5

2002 Mar 22-24

79

17

4

2002 Mar 18-20

79

16

5

2002 Mar 8-9

80

14

6

2002 Mar 4-7

77

18

5

2002 Mar 1-3

81

14

5

2002 Feb 8-10

82

14

4

2002 Feb 4-6

82

14

4

2002 Jan 25-27

84

13

3

2002 Jan 11-14

83

13

4

2002 Jan 7-9

84

12

4

2001

 

 

 

2001 Dec 14-16

86

11

3

2001 Dec 6-9

86

10

4

2001 Nov 26-27

87

8

5

2001 Nov 8-11

87

9

4

2001 Nov 2-4

87

9

4

2001 Oct 19-21

88

9

3

2001 Oct 11-14

89

8

3

2001 Oct 5-6

87

10

3

2001 Sep 21-22

90

6

4

2001 Sep 14-15

86

10

4

2001 Sep 7-10

51

39

10

2001 Aug 24-26

55

36

9

2001 Aug 16-19

57

34

9

2001 Aug 10-12

57

35

8

2001 Aug 3-5

55

35

10

2001 Jul 19-22

56

33

11

2001 Jul 10-11

57

35

8

2001 Jun 28-Jul 1

52

34

14

2001 Jun 11-17

55

33

12

2001 Jun 8-10

55

35

10

2001 May 18-20

56

36

8

2001 May 10-14

56

31

13

2001 May 7-9

53

33

14

2001 Apr 20-22

62

29

9

2001 Apr 6-8

59

30

11

2001 Mar 26-28

53

29

18

2001 Mar 9-11

58

29

13

2001 Mar 5-7

63

22

15

2001 Feb 19-21

62

21

17

2001 Feb 9-11

57

25

18

2001 Feb 1-4

57

25

18

2. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job?


Approve

Disapprove

No
opinion

2004

%

%

%

2004 Dec 5-8

41

50

9

 

 

 

2004 Nov 7-10

41

52

7

2004 Oct 11-14

40

51

9

2004 Sep 13-15

41

52

7

2004 Aug 9-11

40

52

8

2004 Jul 8-11

40

53

7

2004 Jun 3-6

41

52

7

2004 May 2-4

41

52

7

2004 Apr 5-8

43

51

6

2004 Mar 8-11

42

51

7

2004 Feb 9-12

41

51

8

2004 Jan 12-15

48

45

7

2003

 

 

 

2003 Dec 11-14

43

50

7

2003 Nov 3-5

43

51

6

2003 Oct 6-8

41

51

8

2003 Sep 8-10

40

53

7

2003 Aug 4-6

45

46

9

2003 Jul 7-9

49

45

6

2003 Jun 12-15

50

41

9

2003 May 5-7

49

44

7

2003 Apr 7-9

58

33

9

2003 Mar 3-5

48

44

8

2003 Feb 3-6

50

39

11

2003 Jan 13-16

49

40

11

2002

 

 

 

2002 Dec 5-8

50

40

10

2002 Nov 11-14

47

39

14

2002 Oct 3-6

50

40

10

2002 Sep 5-8

52

40

8

2002 Aug 5-8

46

43

11

2002 Jul 26-28

53

36

11

2002 Jul 9-11

54

36

10

2002 Jun 3-6

52

38

10

2002 May 6-9

57

33

10

2002 Apr 8-11

57

34

9

2002 Mar 4-7

63

28

9

2002 Feb 4-6

62

28

10

2002 Jan 7-9

62

29

9

2001

 

 

 

2001 Dec 6-9

72

19

9

2001 Nov 8-11

73

19

8

2001 Oct 11-14

84

10

6

2001 Sep 7-10

42

44

14

2001 Aug 16-19

50

37

13

2001 Aug 3-5

47

42

11

2001 Jul 19-22

49

37

14

2001 Jun 11-17

51

34

15

2001 May 10-14

49

34

17

2001 Apr 6-8

55

32

13

2001 Mar 5-7

55

28

17

2001 Feb 1-4

53

32

15

2001 Jan 10-14

50

40

10

Approve

Disapprove

No
opinion

2000

%

%

%

2000 Dec 2-4

56

34

10

2000 Oct 6-9

49

42

9

2000 Aug 29-Sep 5

48

42

10

2000 May 18-21

39

52

9

2000 Jan 7-10

51

42

7

1999

 

 

 

1999 Sep 23-26

37

56

7

1999 Jul 13-14

39

51

10

1999 Jun 11-13

41

53

6

1999 Apr 13-14

45

47

8

1999 Feb 12-13

41

54

5

1999 Jan 15-17

50

46

4

1998

 

 

 

1998 Dec 15-16

42

52

6

1998 Nov 13-15

41

54

5

1998 Oct 29-Nov 1

44

47

9

1998 Oct 9-12

47

46

7

1998 Oct 6-7

44

48

8

1998 Sep 11-12

55

36

9

1998 May 8-10

44

48

8

1998 Apr 17-19

49

40

11

1998 Feb 13-15

57

33

10

1998 Jan 30-Feb 1

56

35

9

1998 Jan 16-18

42

47

11

1997

 

 

 

1997 Dec 18-21

39

52

9

1997 Oct 27-29

36

53

11

1997 Aug 22-25

41

48

11

1997 Jul 25-27

34

57

9

1997 May 6-7

32

58

10

1997 Apr 18-20

30

59

11

1997 Feb 24-26

37

48

15

1997 Jan 31-Feb 2

36

51

13

1997 Jan 10-13

41

49

10

1996

 

 

 

1996 Oct 26-29

34

51

15

1996 Aug 5-7

39

49

12

1996 May 9-12

30

65

5

1996 Apr 9-10

35

57

8

-- continued --

 

2. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job?

-- continued --


Approve

Disapprove

No
opinion

1995

%

%

%

1995 Sep 22-24

30

61

9

1995 Aug 28-30

30

60

10

1995 Jul 7-9

35

55

10

1995 May 11-14

34

57

9

1995 Apr 17-19

37

54

9

1995 Mar 27-29

31

61

8

1995 Mar 17-19

32

59

9

1995 Feb 24-26

35

53

12

1995 Feb 3-5

38

53

9

1995 Jan 16-18

33

52

15

1994

 

 

 

1994 Dec 28-30

23

66

11

1994 Oct 22-25

23

70

7

1994 Oct 7-9

21

73

6

1994 Jul 15-17

27

65

8

1994 Mar 25-27

29

63

8

1994 Feb 26-28

28

66

6

1993

 

 

 

1993 Nov 2-4

24

69

8

1993 Aug 8-10

23

69

8

1993 Jul 19-21

24

65

11

1993 Feb 26-28

27

54

19

1992

 

 

 

1992 Mar 3 ^

18

78

3

1991

 

 

 

1991 Oct 10-13

40

54

6

1991 Jul 25-28

32

53

15

1990

 

 

 

1990 Nov 2-4

26

63

11

1990 Oct 25-28

24

68

8

1990 Oct 18-21

23

64

13

1990 Oct 11-14

28

65

7

1988

 

 

 

1988 Sep 9-11

42

42

16

1987

 

 

 

1987 Aug 24-Sep 2

42

49

9

1986

 

 

 

1986 Apr 11-14

42

37

21

1983

 

 

 

1983 Apr 29-May 2

33

43

24

1982

 

 

 

1982 Jun 11-14

29

54

17

1981

 

 

 

1981 Jun 19-22

38

40

22

1980

 

 

 

1980 Jun 13-16

25

56

19

1979

 

 

 

1979 Jun 1-4

19

61

20

1978

 

 

 

1978 Sep 8-11

29

49

22

1977

 

 

 

1977 Sep 9-12

35

44

21

1977 Aug 5-8

36

44

20

1977 Jun 3-6

34

42

24

1977 May 20-23

40

40

20

1977 Mar 25-28

36

42

22

1976

 

 

 

1976 Jan 23-26

24

58

18

1975

 

 

 

1975 Oct 31-Nov 3

28

54

18

1975 Jun 27-30

29

54

17

1975 Apr 18-21

38

48

14

1975 Feb 28-Mar 3

32

50

18

1974

 

 

 

1974 Oct 11-14

35

43

22

1974 Aug 16-19

47

34

19

1974 Apr 12-15

30

47

23

 

 

 

^ Gallup/Newsweek

37-1. In general, how would you say things are going for the U.S. in Iraq -- [ROTATED: very well, moderately well, moderately badly, (or) very badly]?

 

Very
well

Moder-
ately
well

Moder-
ately
badly

Very
badly

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

2004 Dec 5-8

6

34

26

33

1

 

 

 

 

 

2004 Sep 24-26

4

42

27

25

2

2004 Aug 9-11 †

5

40

28

25

2

2004 Jul 8-11

5

35

30

29

1

2004 Jun 3-6

6

34

35

25

*

2004 May 21-23

7

35

26

31

1

2004 May 2-4

4

33

32

30

1

2004 Apr 5-8

5

30

31

33

1

2004 Mar 5-7

9

46

28

15

2

2003 Nov 3-5 ^

4

34

34

27

1

2003 Oct 6-8 ^†

6

36

34

24

*

2003 Sep 8-10 ^

6

41

31

21

1

2003 Aug 25-26 ^

6

44

30

19

1

2003 Jul 25-27 ^

10

46

28

15

1

2003 Jul 18-20 ^

6

48

30

15

1

2003 Jun 27-29 ^

5

51

29

13

2

2003 May 30-Jun 1 ^

11

59

22

7

1

2003 May 5-7 ^†

30

56

10

3

1

2003 Apr 22-23 ^†

21

64

12

2

1

 

 

 

 

 

^

WORDING: How would you say things are going for the U.S. in Iraq now that the major fighting has ended -- [ROTATED: very well, moderately well, moderately badly, (or) very badly]?

Asked of a half sample

*

Less than 0.5%

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Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/14314/Iraq-Economy-Remain-Most-Important-Problems.aspx
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