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Another Poll Finds Bush Sinking

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By Dan Froomkin
Special to washingtonpost.com
Wednesday, August 24, 2005; 1:22 PM

There's an old riddle that goes: What do you get when you give a reporter two facts and a deadline? The answer is: A trend.

Well, folks, by that standard, we've got ourselves a trend.

The Harris Poll is out today, showing President Bush's approval rating down sharply over the past two months to 40 percent. Just two days ago, the American Research Group also found it down sharply, to 36 percent.

In both cases, those are all-time lows for Bush that put him in dangerously unpopular territory. And the results lead inescapably to the conclusion that the American people are deeply unhappy with the war in Iraq and blame the president.

The Wall Street Journal reports: "President Bush's job approval ratings are at their lowest point of his presidency as only 40% of U.S. adults have a favorable opinion of his job performance and 58% have a negative opinion, according to a Harris Interactive poll.

"This is a decline from just two months ago in June when the president's ratings were 45% positive and 55% negative. Much of this decline can be tied to the public's opinion on important issues. The war in Iraq has climbed to the top of the most important issues list and the economy is now viewed as the second most important issue, according to the poll."

This chart shows how the war in Iraq has grown in importance over time.

Harris Interactive adds: "Americans are also less satisfied with the way things are going in the country now as compared to in June. A majority (59%) of adults say things in the country have gotten pretty seriously off on the wrong track and 37 percent believe things are moving in the right direction. In June, those numbers were 38 percent who said things were moving in the right direction and 55 percent who said things had headed off on the wrong track."

An American Research Group poll released Monday found Bush's overall approval rating down to 36 percent in August, from 42 percent in July.

And more polls will be out soon. I'm told that Gallup, for instance, is in the field now and should have results in the next few days.

The Harris poll was in the field from Aug. 9 to 16. The most recent Gallup Poll, conducted Aug. 5 to 7, had Bush's approval down at 45 percent -- and even more notably, showed that 56 percent of Americans said they want some or all troops withdrawn from Iraq now.

Frank Newport and Joseph Carroll of the Gallup Poll are out today with an analysis comparing Iraq and Vietnam, as far as public opinion is concerned.


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