More polls are coming out underscoring growing public unease over the Bush administration’s Iraq policy and management — and what is now becoming evident: President Bush’s much-anticipated speech on a new direction for Iraq has failed to convince the bulk of the American public.
Two out of three Americans oppose President Bush’s plan to send more troops to Iraq, a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Friday indicates.
Nearly two-thirds of those polled also say Bush has no clear plan for Iraq.
While his numbers have inched up slightly on that question since the previous poll last week, Bush’s address to the nation Wednesday night seems to have made little difference.
Nearly half of those who saw the speech say their minds were not changed, while the rest are evenly split over whether they’d be more or less likely to support his policies.
This is the first poll gauging Americans’ positions on the strategy following Bush’s address. The telephone survey of 1,093 adult Americans was conducted Thursday. The sampling error on all the questions in the poll is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
TIME analyzes a poll we previously noted here:
Public approval of Congress has edged up a bit now that Democrats are back in control, but it’s still nothing to write home about. Approval for the way Congress is handling its job rose to 32 percent in the latest AP-Ipsos poll, up from a meager 27 percent a month earlier. That puts Congress on par with President Bush, whose 32 percent approval rating represents a new low for him in AP-Ipsos polling.
The Democrats, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, took control of Congress when the new session began on Jan. 4.
The softening of attitudes toward Congress suggests legislators may have an opportunity to improve their standing in the new year, but there appears to be little opening for Bush to move up similarly, public opinion experts believe.
“The question for Nancy Pelosi and Mr. Reid and the Democrats is whether they show the American public they can govern in a responsible way,” said James Thurber, a political scientist at American University. Bush has less chance for improvement, Thurber said, because the unpopular war in Iraq is “the driving issue” in assessing his performance.
Mystery Pollster cites these polls:
A new CNN/Opinion Research survey says 27% of those who watched Bush’s speech were more likely to support his plan “to send about 20,000 more U.S. troops to Iraq,” while 27% were less likely to support it, and 45% say it “didn’t make any difference.” Among all adults, 32% favor Bush’s plan and 66% oppose it. More analysis from last week’s Gallup Poll shows 68% of Americans say it is “not too” or “not at all” likely that violence in Iraq will be significantly reduced in 2007.
A new Rasmussen Reports poll also fails to show that Bush is either increasing his support among the public for his policy or scoring points for his job performance:
Just 35% of Americans now approve of the way that George W. Bush is performing his role as President. Thatâ€™s down sharply in recent days and is the lowest level of Approval ever measured by Rasmussen Reports (see comments on comparing Approval Ratings from different polling firms). Sixty-one percent (61%) disapprove of his performance.
These figures are based upon nightly telephone surveys and reported on a three-day rolling average basis. Most of interviews were completed before the Presidentâ€™s Wednesday night speech, but after details of his plan for a troop surge had been discussed. The President now earns approval from 39% of men and 31% of women.
Rasmussen Reports also conducts a separate survey of Likely Voters rating the Presidentâ€™s job performance on a different scale. That survey found 35% give the President a good or excellent rating, 18% say fair, and 45% poor.
A separate survey completed the night before the Presidentâ€™s speech found that most Americans oppose plans for increasing U.S. troop strength in Iraq. Just 33% of Americans now believe that the U.S. and its allies are winning the War on Terror. Just 26% say that President Bush is doing a good or an excellent job handing the situation in Iraq.
Clout is important for politicians and leaders who want to get things done. Bottom line: Bush’s clout continues to diminish.