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Support for Bush on Social Security Wanes

Barely One-Third of Americans Approve of President's Plan, Poll Finds

By Richard Morin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 14, 2005; 7:21 AM

Barely a third of the public approves of the way President Bush is dealing with Social Security and a majority says the more they hear about Bush's plan to reform the giant retirement system, the less they like it, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Bush's overall job approval rating stood at 50 percent, unchanged from last month and nearly exactly where it was a year ago. Currently, 48 percent disapprove of the job Bush is doing as president.

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But on Social Security, the president's popularity continues to decline. Thirty-five percent of those surveyed said they approved of the way Bush is handling Social Security, down three points since January and the lowest level of support for Bush on this issue ever recorded in Post-ABC polls.

Bush has made Social Security reform the cornerstone of his domestic policy agenda. But his efforts to win public support for his proposals to change the system appear to be having just the opposite effect, according to the poll.

Nearly six in 10--58 percent--say they are more inclined to oppose administration's reform plans as they learn more about it. Only a third say they are more receptive to Bush's proposals as more details become available.

A total of 1,001 randomly selected adults were interviewed March 10-13. Margin of sampling error for the overall results is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Additional Post-ABC survey findings on Social Security will be available on washingtonpost.com at 5 p.m.

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