Bush Ratings Reach Low Points of Presidency

by David W. Moore

Public skeptical about spending for reconstruction in New Orleans

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- Despite President George W. Bush's major address to the country last week, his popularity has sunk to the lowest level of his presidency. According to the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup survey, only 40% of Americans approve of his overall job performance, which tied with one previous reading in August as the lowest score he has received since taking office in 2001. His disapproval reading of 58% is two points higher than the previous record measured last month.

 

 


Approve

Disapprove

No opinion

2005

%

%

%

2005 Sep 16-18

40

58

2

       

2005 Sep 12-15

45

52

3

2005 Sep 8-11

46

51

3

2005 Aug 28-30

45

52

3

2005 Aug 22-25

40

56

4

2005 Aug 8-11

45

51

4

2005 Aug 5-7

45

51

4

On several other measures, Bush also fares worse than at any time in his presidency. His approval for handling the economy is at 35%, for foreign affairs 38%, and for Iraq 32%. His Iraq rating is eight points lower than his previous low of 40%, which he maintained from May through early September.

Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling -- [RANDOM ORDER]?

 

2005 Sep 16-18
(sorted by "approve")

Approve

Disapprove

%

%

The response to Hurricane Katrina

41

57

Overall job approval

40

58

Foreign affairs

38

58

The economy

35

63

The situation in Iraq

32

67

Forty-one percent of Americans approve of the president's handling of the response to Hurricane Katrina, while 57% disapprove -- down slightly from the 43% to 54% rating Bush received for Katrina in early September.

Bush's image among Americans has suffered not only in the way he has handled his job, but in his personal characteristics as well. Perhaps the most positive image of the president has been that of a strong and decisive leader, a trait that was used to contrast Bush with Democratic Sen. John Kerry during the recent presidential election. Even as late as the end of August, a week after Hurricane Katrina hit, Americans viewed the president as a strong leader by a 60% to 40% margin. The latest results show a divided public -- with a slight majority, 51%, saying that trait does not apply to Bush, and 49% saying it does.

Thinking about the following characteristics and qualities, please say whether you think it applies or doesn't apply to George W. Bush. How about -- [ROTATED]?

 

2005 Sep 16-18
(sorted by "applies")

Applies

Doesn't apply

%

%

Is a strong and decisive leader

49

51

Is honest and trustworthy

47

50

Cares about the needs of people like you

42

56

Similarly, Americans are now considerably less likely to think of Bush as being honest and trustworthy than they did during most of his presidency and even earlier this year. As late as July, a clear majority, 54%, thought of Bush that way, with 44% expressing disagreement. Today, Americans lean in the opposite direction -- 50% say he is not honest and trustworthy; 47% say he is.

On whether he "cares about the needs of people like you," a decisive majority says Bush does not -- by 56% to 42%. This view is reinforced by a separate question, asked later in the survey, about whether Bush had taken steps to help victims of Hurricane Katrina because of his sincere concern about the victims or because of political reasons. Americans choose political reasons by 56% to 42%.

Just your best guess, do you think George W. Bush has taken steps to help victims of Hurricane Katrina -- [ROTATED: mostly because he sincerely cares about the victims, (or) mostly for political reasons]?

 

 

Sincerely cares
about the victims

Political
reasons

No opinion

       

2005 Sep 16-18

42%

56

2

Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

Overwhelmingly, the public believes that Hurricane Katrina will require the average American to make sacrifices in the form of higher taxes or cuts in government benefits.

In order for the federal government to handle the problems caused by Hurricane Katrina, do you think the average American will have to make major sacrifices in the form of higher taxes or cuts in government programs that benefit them, minor sacrifices, or no sacrifices at all?

 

 

Major
sacrifices

Minor
sacrifices

No
sacrifices

No
opinion

         

2005 Sep 16-18

45%

48

6

1

And the vast majority of Americans, 84%, say they are willing to do that -- although only 20% of Americans are willing to make "major" sacrifices while 64% say they would be willing to make "minor" sacrifices.

Would you, personally, be willing to make major sacrifices, minor sacrifices or no sacrifices at all in your taxes or government benefits to allow the government to spend money to address the problems caused by Hurricane Katrina?

 

 

Major
sacrifices

Minor
sacrifices

No
sacrifices

No
opinion

         

2005 Sep 16-18

20%

64

14

2

Still, a clear majority of Americans, 54%, want the federal government to pay for the costs of Hurricane Katrina by cutting spending for the war in Iraq, while only 17% want taxes raised, 15% prefer an increase in the federal budget deficit, and 6% opt for cuts in domestic programs.

If you had to choose, which of the following would you say would be the best way for the government to pay for the problems caused by Hurricane Katrina -- [ROTATED: increase the federal budget deficit, raise taxes, cut spending for the war in Iraq, (or) cut spending for domestic programs such as education and health care]?

 

 


Increase federal budget deficit




Raise taxes


Cut spending for war in Iraq

Cut spending for domestic programs




OTHER (vol.)




No
opinion

             

2005 Sep 16-18

15%

17

54

6

5

3

(vol.) = Volunteered response

Also, Americans are more worried that the government will spend too much on the problems caused by Katrina and ignore other problems facing the country, than they are worried that the government will spend too little to help the victims of Katrina.

Thinking about the money the federal government plans to spend on the problems caused by Hurricane Katrina, which worries you more -- [ROTATED: that the federal government will spend TOO MUCH on these problems and ignore other problems the country faces, (or) that the federal government will spend TOO LITTLE on these problems and not adequately fix the problems caused by the hurricane]?

 

 

Will spend
too much

Will spend
too little

NOT
WORRIED (vol.)

No
opinion

         

2005 Sep 16-18

50%

40

5

5

(vol.) = Volunteered response

As for government efforts to address the problems, most Americans express limited optimism. By 45% to 27%, Americans approve of the proposals Bush outlined in his address to the nation last week, though 28% volunteered no opinion.

Based on what you have heard or read, do you approve or disapprove of the proposals George W. Bush outlined in his speech on Thursday night to handle the problems caused by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and other areas of the Gulf Coast?

 

Approve

Disapprove

No opinion

       

2005 Sep 16-18

45%

27

28



And when asked how much confidence they had in the Bush administration to respond to the current problems caused by Katrina, as well as future natural disasters and terrorist attacks, most Americans are guardedly optimistic. From 24% to 29% express a "great deal" of confidence, while from 30% to 40% have little or no confidence. Another 30% to 40% have a "moderate" amount of confidence.

How much confidence do you have in the Bush administration's ability to do each of the following -- a great deal, a moderate amount, not much, or none at all? How about -- [RANDOM ORDER]?

2005 Sep 16-18
(sorted by "great deal")


Great
deal

Moderate amount


Not
much


None
at all


No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

%

Assist the victims of Hurricane Katrina

29

41

20

10

*

Improve the government's ability to respond to future acts of terrorism

29

30

27

13

1

Rebuild New Orleans and other areas of the Gulf Coast region

25

43

21

10

1

Improve the government's ability to respond to future natural disasters

24

36

27

13

*

* = Less than 0.5%



Despite their relatively sanguine view on these issues, the vast majority of Americans want an independent panel, not Congress, to investigate the government's slow response to Hurricane Katrina.

As you may know, some people have called for an investigation into the problems the government had in responding to Hurricane Katrina. Who would you rather see conduct this investigation -- [ROTATED: an independent panel (or) Congress]?

 

 

Independent panel

Congress

No opinion

       

2005 Sep 16-18

81%

18

1

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 818 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Sep. 16-18, 2005. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 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

2005

%

%

%

2005 Sep 16-18

40

58

2

       

2005 Sep 12-15

45

52

3

2005 Sep 8-11

46

51

3

2005 Aug 28-30

45

52

3

2005 Aug 22-25

40

56

4

2005 Aug 8-11

45

51

4

2005 Aug 5-7

45

51

4

2005 Jul 25-28

44

51

5

2005 Jul 22-24

49

48

3

2005 Jul 7-10

49

48

3

2005 Jun 29-30

46

51

3

2005 Jun 24-26

45

53

2

2005 Jun 16-19

47

51

2

2005 Jun 6-8

47

49

4

2005 May 23-26

48

47

5

2005 May 20-22

46

50

4

2005 May 2-5

50

45

5

2005 Apr 29-May 1

48

49

3

2005 Apr 18-21

48

49

3

2005 Apr 4-7

50

45

5

2005 Apr 1-2

48

48

4

2005 Mar 21-23

45

49

6

2005 Mar 18-20

52

44

4

2005 Mar 7-10

52

44

4

2005 Feb 25-27

52

45

3

2005 Feb 21-24

51

45

4

2005 Feb 7-10

49

48

3

2005 Feb 4-6

57

40

3

2005 Jan 14-16

51

46

3

2005 Jan 7-9

52

44

4

2005 Jan 3-5

52

44

4

Bush Issue Approval Trends

A. The economy

 

 


Approve

Disapprove

No opinion

2005

%

%

%

2005 Sep 16-18

35

63

2

       

2005 Sep 8-11

39

58

3

2005 Aug 28-30

38

60

2

2005 Jun 24-26

41

55

4

2005 May 20-22 ^

40

58

2

2005 Apr 29-May 1

43

53

4

2005 Apr 1-2

41

55

4

2005 Feb 25-27

48

49

3

2005 Feb 4-6

50

47

3

2005 Jan 7-9

50

48

2

2004

     

2004 Nov 7-10

47

51

2

2004 Oct 14-16

46

51

3

2004 Sep 24-26

49

48

3

2004 Aug 9-11

46

51

3

2004 Jun 21-23 ^

47

50

3

2004 Jun 3-6

41

58

1

2004 May 7-9 ^

41

56

3

2004 May 2-4

41

56

3

2004 Apr 16-18

46

52

2

2004 Mar 26-28

42

55

3

2004 Feb 9-12

45

52

3

2004 Jan 29-Feb 1

43

54

3

2004 Jan 2-5

54

43

3

2003

     

2003 Dec 5-7

48

49

3

2003 Nov 3-5

47

50

3

2003 Oct 6-8

42

55

3

2003 Sep 8-10

45

53

2

2003 Aug 25-26

45

52

3

2003 Jul 25-27

46

51

3

2003 Jul 18-20

45

51

4

^ = Asked of half sample

B. Foreign affairs

 

 


Approve


Disapprove


No opinion

2005

%

%

%

2005 Sep 16-18

38

58

4

       

2005 Aug 28-30

43

52

5

2005 May 20-22 ^

44

51

5

2005 Apr 29-May 1

45

49

6

2005 Feb 25-27

50

46

4

2005 Feb 4-6

51

44

5

2005 Jan 7-9

47

49

4

2004

     

2004 Nov 7-10

47

50

3

2004 Sep 24-26 ^

49

48

3

2004 Aug 9-11

44

51

5

2004 Jun 3-6

44

54

2

2004 May 2-4

42

53

5

2004 Feb 9-12

46

52

2

2004 Jan 29-Feb 1

46

51

3

2004 Jan 2-5

58

39

3

2003

     

2003 Dec 5-7

53

43

4

2003 Nov 3-5

46

50

4

2003 Oct 6-8

49

49

2

2003 Sep 8-10

52

45

3

2003 Aug 25-26

55

42

3

2003 Jul 25-27

54

42

4

2003 Jul 18-20

54

41

5

2003 Jul 7-9

55

42

3

2003 Jun 12-15

58

39

3

2003 May 5-7

68

30

2

2003 Apr 14-16

65

31

4

^ = Asked of half sample

C. The situation in Iraq

 

Approve

Disapprove

No opinion

%

%

%

2005 Sep 16-18

32

67

1

2005 Sep 8-11

40

58

2

2005 Aug 28-30

40

59

1

2005 Jun 24-26

40

58

2

2005 May 20-22 ^

40

56

4

2005 Apr 29-May 1

42

55

3

2005 Apr 1-2

43

54

3

2005 Feb 25-27

45

53

2

2005 Feb 4-6

50

48

2

2005 Jan 7-9

42

56

2

2004 Nov 7-10

47

51

2

2004 Oct 14-16

46

52

2

2004 Sep 24-26

48

49

3

2004 Aug 9-11

45

52

3

2004 Jun 21-23 ^

42

56

2

2004 Jun 3-6

41

57

2

2004 May 7-9 ^

41

58

1

2004 May 2-4

42

55

3

2004 Apr 16-18

48

49

3

2004 Mar 26-28

51

47

2

2004 Jan 29-Feb 1

46

53

1

2004 Jan 2-5

61

36

3

2003 Dec 5-7

50

47

3

2003 Nov 3-5

45

54

1

2003 Oct 6-8

47

50

3

2003 Sep 8-10

51

47

2

2003 Aug 25-26

57

41

2

2003 Jul 25-27

60

38

2

2003 Jul 18-20

57

39

4

2003 Jul 7-9

58

39

3

2003 Jun 12-15

63

34

3

2003 Apr 14-16

76

21

3

2003 Mar 29-30

71

27

2

2003 Mar 24-25

71

26

3

2003 Mar 14-15

56

41

3

2003 Jan 31-Feb 2

54

42

4

2003 Jan 3-5

55

40

5

2002 Dec 9-10

55

39

6

2002 Oct 21-22

52

40

8

^ Asked of half sample

D. The response to Hurricane Katrina

 

 

Approve

Disapprove

No opinion

 

%

%

%

2005 Sep 16-18

41

57

2

       

2005 Sep 8-11

43

54

3

3. Thinking about the following characteristics and qualities, please say whether you think it applies or doesn't apply to George W. Bush. How about -- [ROTATED]?

 

2005 Sep 16-18
(sorted by "applies")


Applies


Doesn't apply

 

%

%

Is a strong and decisive leader

49

51

Is honest and trustworthy

47

50

Cares about the needs of people like you

42

56

Full Trends: Bush Qualities and Characteristics

A. Is honest and trustworthy

 

 

Applies

Doesn't apply

No opinion

 

%

%

%

2005 Sep 16-18

47

50

3

       

2005 Aug 28-30

51

47

2

2005 Jul 22-24

54

44

2

2005 Apr 1-2

56

42

2

2005 Jan 14-16 ^

56

41

3

2004 Feb 16-17

55

42

3

2003 Nov 14-16

59

40

1

2003 Jun 27-29

65

33

2

2003 Apr 5-6

73

25

2

2003 Jan 10-12 ^

70

27

3

2002 Jul 26-28

69

26

5

2002 Apr 29-May 1

77

20

3

2001 Jul 10-11

66

31

3

2001 Apr 20-22

67

29

4

2001 Feb 9-11

64

29

7

2000 Mar 10-12

64

28

8

1999 Sep 10-12

62

29

9

^ = Asked of a half sample

B. Is a strong and decisive leader

 

 

Applies

Doesn't apply

No opinion

 

%

%

%

2005 Sep 16-18

49

51

*

       

2005 Sep 8-11

52

47

1

2005 Aug 28-30

60

40

*

2005 Jul 22-24

62

37

1

2005 Jan 14-16 ^

61

37

2

2004 Feb 16-17

65

33

2

2003 Nov 14-16

66

34

*

2003 Jun 27-29

75

24

1

2003 Apr 5-6

80

19

1

2003 Jan 10-12 ^

76

23

1

2002 Jul 26-28

70

27

3

2002 Apr 29-May 1

77

21

2

2001 Oct 5-6

75

23

2

2001 Aug 10-12

55

43

2

2001 Jul 10-11

57

40

3

2001 Apr 20-22

60

37

3

2001 Feb 9-11

61

34

5

2000 Mar 10-12

63

30

7

2000 Feb 25-27

61

32

7

2000 Feb 20-21

58

33

9

2000 Feb 4-6

62

30

8

2000 Jan 17-19

66

24

10

1999 Mar 4

60

14

26

* = Less than 0.5%

^ = Asked of a half sample

C. Cares about the needs of people like you

 

 

Applies

Doesn't apply

No opinion

 

%

%

%

2005 Sep 16-18

42

56

2

       

2005 Sep 8-11

48

51

1

2005 Aug 28-30

44

55

1

2005 Apr 1-2

53

46

1

2005 Jan 14-16 ^

45

53

2

2003 Nov 14-16

49

50

1

2003 Jun 27-29

57

42

1

2003 Apr 5-6

65

34

1

2003 Jan 10-12 ^

56

41

3

2002 Nov 8-10

60

38

2

2002 Jul 26-28

60

36

4

2002 Apr 29-May 1

66

31

3

2001 Oct 5-6

69

29

2

2001 Jul 10-11

57

40

3

2001 Apr 20-22

59

39

2

2001 Feb 9-11

56

39

5

2000 Mar 10-12

51

42

7

2000 Jan 17-19

56

33

11

1999 Sep 10-14

59

32

9

1999 Mar 12-14

59

32

9

^ = Asked of a half sample

4. Based on what you have heard or read, do you approve or disapprove of the proposals George W. Bush outlined in his speech on Thursday night to handle the problems caused by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and other areas of the Gulf Coast?

 

 

Approve

Disapprove

No opinion

       

2005 Sep 16-18

45%

27

28

5. How much confidence do you have in the Bush administration's ability to do each of the following -- a great deal, a moderate amount, not much, or none at all? How about -- [RANDOM ORDER]?

 

2005 Sep 16-18
(sorted by "great deal")


Great
deal

Moderate amount


Not
much


None
at all


No
opinion

Assist the victims of Hurricane Katrina

29

41

20

10

*

Improve the government's ability to respond to future acts of terrorism

29

30

27

13

1

Rebuild New Orleans and other areas of the Gulf Coast region

25

43

21

10

1

Improve the government's ability to respond to future natural disasters

24

36

27

13

*

* = Less than 0.5%

6. Thinking about the money the federal government plans to spend on the problems caused by Hurricane Katrina, which worries you more -- [ROTATED: that the federal government will spend TOO MUCH on these problems and ignore other problems the country faces, (or) that the federal government will spend TOO LITTLE on these problems and not adequately fix the problems caused by the hurricane]?

 

 

Will spend
too much

Will spend
too little

NOT
WORRIED (vol.)

No
opinion

         

2005 Sep 16-18

50%

40

5

5

(vol.) = Volunteered response

7. In order for the federal government to handle the problems caused by Hurricane Katrina, do you think the average American will have to make major sacrifices in the form of higher taxes or cuts in government programs that benefit them, minor sacrifices, or no sacrifices at all?

 

 

Major
sacrifices

Minor
sacrifices

No
sacrifices

No
opinion

         

2005 Sep 16-18

45%

48

6

1

8. Would you, personally, be willing to make major sacrifices, minor sacrifices or no sacrifices at all in your taxes or government benefits to allow the government to spend money to address the problems caused by Hurricane Katrina?

 

 

Major
sacrifices

Minor
sacrifices

No
sacrifices

No
opinion

         

2005 Sep 16-18

20%

64

14

2

9. If you had to choose, which of the following would you say would be the best way for the government to pay for the problems caused by Hurricane Katrina -- [ROTATED: increase the federal budget deficit, raise taxes, cut spending for the war in Iraq, (or) cut spending for domestic programs such as education and health care]?

 

 


Increase federal budget deficit




Raise taxes


Cut spending for war in Iraq

Cut spending for domestic programs




OTHER (vol.)




No
opinion

             

2005 Sep 16-18

15%

17

54

6

5

3

(vol.) = Volunteered response

10. As you may know, some people have called for an investigation into the problems the government had in responding to Hurricane Katrina. Who would you rather see conduct this investigation -- [ROTATED: an independent panel (or) Congress]?

 

 

Independent panel

Congress

No opinion

       

2005 Sep 16-18

81%

18

1

11. Just your best guess, do you think George W. Bush has taken steps to help victims of Hurricane Katrina -- [ROTATED: mostly because he sincerely cares about the victims, (or) mostly for political reasons]?

 

 

Sincerely cares
about the victims

Political
reasons

No
opinion

       

2005 Sep 16-18

42%

56

2

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