Bush Approval Rating Remains at 70% Level

by David W. Moore

Other ratings suggest vulnerability on economy

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- With President George W. Bush enjoying a 70% approval rating, as he has since the war with Iraq began, one might expect that he would have an easy time with his re-election campaign next year. Indeed, the most recent Gallup Poll finds him leading an unnamed Democratic opponent by 14 percentage points. But an analysis of other questions in the poll suggests several issues on which the president may be vulnerable heading into his re-election campaign.

Apart from any analysis of current data, one reason for taking the current horse race numbers with a grain of salt is history: The elder Bush's approval rating shortly after the first Gulf War in 1991 was about 15 to 20 points higher than the current president's approval rating. Yet, the elder Bush lost his re-election bid in 1992, largely, most analysts believe, because of the economy.

While the economy is not rated as poorly today as it was in 1991-1992, the president's current ratings in this area suggest a somewhat critical public. More than half the public, 54%, says the president is not paying enough attention to the economy, while just 43% says he is.

How Much Attention Is President Bush
Paying to the Economy?

By contrast, in January of last year, 64% said Bush was paying the right amount of attention, though that slipped to 53% six months later. In the three polls taken this year, two in January and the current one, majorities have said he is not paying enough attention.

Bush's efforts to help the economy have focused mostly on a tax-cut proposal that initially totaled $726 billion. The Republican-controlled Senate has rejected that large of a cut, and the controversy now is over a tax cut of about $550 billion versus one of about $350 billion. But Americans are lukewarm to the proposals. By a 47% to 42% margin, Americans say the tax cuts that Bush is proposing are a bad, rather than a good, idea at this time. Furthermore, only 36% of Americans say the tax cuts would mostly help the U.S. economy, while a majority says they would either mostly hurt the economy (26%) or have no effect (31%).

April 22-23, 2003

Another indication that Bush may be vulnerable is that Americans are almost equally divided as to whether he is in touch or out of touch with the problems ordinary Americans face in their daily lives. Fifty percent say he is in touch, 48% say out of touch.

President Bush: In Touch or Out of Touch With the Problems of Ordinary Americans?

In the days immediately prior to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the public was also divided equally in its opinion of the president, with 47% saying he was in touch and 50% out of touch. In the spring of 2002, in the wake of the rally effect that characterized Americans' responses to 9/11, Americans expressed a more positive view of the president, saying he was in touch by 62% to 36%. His current rating is about the same as it was prior to 9/11.

While the war in Iraq is likely to help the president, given its widespread support, some potential for backlash exists. The poll shows that Americans are evenly divided over whether work contracts awarded to American companies to help rebuild Iraq were fairly granted. Forty-five percent take the positive view, that the Bush administration is mostly picking the best company for the job and some just happened to have ties to the Republican Party. An almost equal number, 44%, take a more jaundiced view, that the Bush administration is mostly trying to reward companies with ties to the Republican Party and is not necessarily picking the best company for the job.

Efforts to Rebuild Iraq:
Work Going to the Best Companies, or to Reward Ones With Republican Ties?
April 22-23, 2003

Not surprisingly, all of these issues are highly related to party affiliation. Republicans take a decidedly pro-Bush point of view, Democrats the opposite. Independents lean more toward the Democratic than the Republican point of view.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,001 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted April 22-23, 2003. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error 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.

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

 


Approve

Dis-approve

No
opinion

%

%

%

2003

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 13-16

61

34

5

2003 Jan 10-12

58

37

5

2003 Jan 3-5

63

32

5

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



Would you say President Bush is in touch or out of touch with the problems ordinary Americans face in their daily lives?

 

In touch

Out of touch

No opinion

%

%

%

2003 Apr 22-23

50

48

2

2003 Jan 10-12

50

48

2

2002 Apr 29-May 1

62

36

2

2001 Jul 10-11

47

50

3



Do you think President Bush is paying -- [ROTATED: too much attention, about the right amount of attention, or not enough attention] -- to the economy?

 

Too much

Right
amount

Not
enough

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

2003 Apr 22-23

1

43

54

2

2003 Jan 31-Feb 2 ^

2

37

60

1

2003 Jan 10-12 ^

2

41

55

2

2002 Jul 26-28 †

1

53

43

3

2002 Jan 11-14 †

2

64

31

3

^

Asked of a half sample.

Asked of a full sample and rotated with the same question asking about the war on terrorism; results show when question was asked first in rotation.



Do you think the tax cuts being proposed by George W. Bush would – [ROTATED: mostly help the U.S. economy, will have no effect, or mostly hurt the U.S. economy]– over the next year?

BASED ON –490—NATIONAL ADULTS IN FORM A

 

Mostly
help

No
effect

Mostly
hurt

No
opinion

2003 Apr 22-23

36%

31

26

7



Do you think the tax cuts being proposed by George W. Bush are – [ROTATED: a good idea (or) a bad idea] – at this time?

BASED ON –511—NATIONAL ADULTS IN FORM B

 

Good idea

Bad idea

No opinion

2003 Apr 22-23

42%

47

11



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