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Posted by on Feb 11, 2005 in At TMV | 0 comments

Bush Poll Numbers Start To Erode

A new poll suggests President George Bush’s support is starting to slowly erode as good feelings about Iraq’s democratic elections begin to wear off and controversy over the administration’s Social Security reform plan takes center stage.

In fact, one of the most notable aspects of this poll is the drop in numbers for GWB among seniors:

WASHINGTON – Americans are feeling a bit more optimistic about the future of Iraq, a bright spot for the administration in an Associated Press poll that indicates many are souring on President Bush’s job performance.

Half in the AP-Ipsos poll, 51 percent, said they think a stable, democratic Iraq is likely, up slightly from the 46 percent who felt that way before the Iraq elections.

So the elections did help many feel as if the ideal of a free and stable Iraq is attainable. But then there’s this:

The uptick in sentiment about Iraq was not matched by increasing optimism about how things are going at home.

Public confidence in President Bush’s job performance and the nation’s direction slipped in the opening weeks of his second term, particularly among people 50 and older, the poll found.

Adults were evenly divided on Bush’s job performance in January, but now 54 percent disapprove and 45 percent approve. The number who think the country is headed down the wrong track increased from 51 percent to 58 percent in the past month.

That’s never a good sign for any President…but whether that holds or now is going to be influenced less by p.r. programs and statements then by unpredictable events and emerging trends. More:

The poll, conducted for the AP by Ipsos-Public Affairs, was taken after the president’s State of the Union address and the elections in Iraq and at the start of a heated debate over creating personal Social Security accounts.

Older Americans, especially those 65 and above, were most responsible for the declining confidence and approval numbers. Middle-aged people between 30 and 50 were about evenly split on Bush’s job performance.

“It looks like people are reacting to the State of the Union and plans to change Social Security,” said Charles Franklin, a political scientist from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The AP poll did not ask about Social Security. Only four in 10 said they approved of Bush’s handling of domestic policy in general, and a majority of people disapproved of his handling of the economy.

If this trend continues it may not portend well for the President’s agenda. For instance, on Iraq, the excitement in the immediate aftermath of the free elections there has mutated into an accepted fact that the elections were pulled off. He’ll get credit for that but as this poll shows it may not translate into sustainable momentum, in terms of legislative clout. Basic outlook: the GOP and White House are in the drivers’ seat but the car may be shaky.

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