Bush Approval Rating Stabilizes at 63%

by Jeffrey M. Jones

Ratings of Bush on issues show postwar decline

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- The most recent Gallup Poll shows that George W. Bush's job approval rating has stabilized in the low 60s after declining from its wartime levels. The public continues to give Bush positive marks for his handling of foreign affairs, but his ratings in this regard have dropped considerably from shortly after the Iraq war. The public is currently evenly divided in its evaluation of how Bush is handling the economy.

The poll, conducted June 12-15, finds George W. Bush's latest job approval rating at 63%. Bush's rating has held steady in June (with readings of 64% in a May 30-June 1 poll and 62% in a June 9-10 poll) after falling from wartime levels of about 70%, and remains slightly higher than Bush's last prewar rating of 58%.

George W. Bush's Job Approval Rating

Throughout his term in office, Bush has averaged a 68% job approval. John F. Kennedy has the highest average approval rating since World War II, at 70%. Bush's average is slightly higher than Dwight Eisenhower's 65% average from 1953-1961, the second best by a post-World War II president.

Bush's Ratings on the Issues

As has been the case for Bush's overall job approval rating and other measures such as satisfaction with the course of the nation, the president's ratings on specific issues also show declines from their wartime levels (these were last measured in early May, when Bush's overall approval rating was still at 69%).

The public is currently divided on Bush's handling of the economy -- 48% approve and 48% disapprove. This rating shows some decline from 53% approval in early May. Despite the fact that for the most part, the public has rated the economy quite negatively during Bush's tenure in office, Bush's economic ratings have tended to be more positive than negative. Only during a short stretch between late January of this year and the start of the war with Iraq in mid-March did more Americans disapprove than approve of Bush's economic stewardship. This is due in no small part to rallies in support for Bush following Sept. 11 and the recent Iraq war, but recent polls by Newsweek and ABC News/Washington Post show that relatively few Americans think Bush deserves much blame for the state of the economy.

George W. Bush's Job of Handling the Economy

Bush has generally been rated quite favorably for his handling of foreign affairs throughout his time in the White House, averaging a 63% approval rating on international matters (compared with an average 55% approval rating on the economy). This reflects the Bush administration's major focus on international issues such as terrorism and military action in Afghanistan and Iraq. Currently, 58% approve and 39% disapprove of Bush's handling of foreign affairs.

George W. Bush's Job of Handling Foreign Affairs

Bush's current foreign affairs rating does show a rather sharp decline from a 68% reading in early May. This decline probably results from a reduced focus on the military success in Iraq and an increased focus on Bush's current challenges with rebuilding Iraq and trying to promote peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. The decline has occurred among all partisan groups, but more so among Bush's natural opponents (Democrats) than among independents and Republicans.

Percentage Approving of George W. Bush's Handling of Foreign Affairs,
May Versus June

May 5-7

June 12-15

Change

Overall

68

58

-10

Republicans

94

87

-7

Independents

60

55

-5

Democrats

46

31

-15

With regards to Iraq, 63% of Americans approve of Bush's handling of that situation while 34% disapprove. Bush is rated similarly for his handling of the situation in the Middle East, with the public approving by a 60% to 36% margin.

Survey Methods

These results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,006 adults, 18 years and older, conducted June 12-15, 2003. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95 percent 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.

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

 

Approve

Disapprove

No opinion

%

%

%

2003

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 May 5-7

69

28

3

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



Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling -- [ROTATED]? How about -- ?

The economy

 

 

Approve

Disapprove

No opinion

%

%

%

2003 Jun 12-15

48

48

4

2003 May 5-7

53

44

3

2003 Apr 14-16

49

45

6

2003 Mar 29-30

49

47

4

2003 Mar 24-25

52

42

6

2003 Mar 14-15

44

52

4

2003 Feb 3-6

44

52

4

2003 Jan 31-Feb 2

47

48

5

2003 Jan 23-25

46

49

5

2003 Jan 10-12

48

47

5

2003 Jan 3-5

49

47

4

2002 Dec 9-10

49

47

4

2002 Nov 8-10

55

39

6

2002 Oct 21-22

49

44

7

2002 Jul 26-28

52

43

5

2002 Jul 5-8

58

36

6

2002 Jun 28-30

63

33

4

2002 May 20-22

61

29

10

2002 Apr 5-7

60

33

7

2002 Mar 22-24

65

29

6

2002 Mar 1-3

64

31

5

2002 Feb 4-6

66

30

4

2002 Jan 25-27

64

30

6

2001 Nov 2-4

71

24

5

2001 Oct 5-6

72

23

5

2001 Jul 10-11

54

36

10

2001 May 18-20

51

41

8

2001 Apr 20-22

55

38

7

2001 Mar 9-11

55

32

13

2001 Feb 1-4

53

27

20



Foreign affairs

 

Approve

Disapprove

No opinion

%

%

%

2003 Jun 12-15

58

39

3

2003 May 5-7

68

30

2

2003 Apr 14-16

65

31

4

2003 Mar 29-30

64

31

5

2003 Mar 24-25

65

30

5

2003 Mar 14-15

53

43

4

2003 Feb 3-6

49

46

5

2003 Jan 31-Feb 2

57

39

4

2003 Jan 23-25

50

45

5

2003 Jan 10-12

53

42

5

2003 Jan 3-5

60

35

5

2002 Dec 9-10

59

35

6

2002 Nov 8-10

59

36

5

2002 Oct 21-22

58

35

7

2002 Jul 26-28

63

30

7

2002 Jul 5-8

71

25

4

2002 Jun 28-30

66

27

7

2002 May 20-22

70

23

7

2002 Apr 5-7

70

24

6

2002 Mar 22-24

71

22

7

2002 Mar 1-3

78

17

5

2002 Feb 4-6

79

16

5

2002 Jan 25-27

83

14

3

2001 Oct 5-6

81

14

5

2001 Jul 10-11

54

33

13

2001 May 18-20

55

35

10

2001 Apr 20-22

56

31

13

2001 Mar 9-11

52

27

21

2001 Feb 1-4

46

21

33



The situation with Iraq

 

Approve

Disapprove

No opinion

%

%

%

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



The situation in the Middle East

 

Approve

Disapprove

No opinion

%

%

%

2003 Jun 12-15

60

36

4

2002 Jun 28-30

67

27

6

2002 Apr 29-May 1

72

23

5

2002 Apr 5-7

67

27

6

2002 Mar 22-24

72

23

5



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