President Carter's overall job rating from the American people has slipped to 52-to-44 per cent positive, down from a high of 69-to-27 per cent in April.
There are other findings in this latest Harris Survey of 1,491 adults, conducted between Aug. 13 and 20, that also indicate that the honeymoon is now over for Carter. By 59-to-35 per cent, the public gives high marks to the President for "inspiring confidence in the White House." But this down from the 65-to-35 per cent positive confidence rating recorded a month ago and well below the 75-to-15 per cent given him in March.
On one of the most controversial recent developments in the Carter administration, the public is critical of Carter, He receives a 40-to-33 per cent negative rating for the way he has handled the case of budget director Bert Lance, with a substantial 27 per cent who have not yet made a judgement.
As significant as the overall drop in the President's rating is the change in attitude towards him of key groups:
In the South, Carter has slipped 17 points in a single month, from a substantial 68-to-28 per cent positive in July to 51-to-44 per cent positive.
Among blacks, Carter's rating dropped from 71-to-26 per cent positive in July to 56-37 per cent positive a month later, a slippage of 15 points.
Among liberals, the President went down from 67-to-31 per cent positive to 56-to-42 per cent positive, a decline of 11 points.
Among Catholics he slipped from 61-to-37 per cent positive to a narrow 50-to-47 per cent positive over the same one-month period.
Among Jews, Carter declined from 57-to-37 per cent positive to 48-to-47 per cent negative, matters like welfare reform, energy problems and increased taxation on some kind of energy sources" for the drop of 17 percentage points in his popularity since April as measured by the Harris Survey.
The President said anew that Lance ought to have a comprehensive hearing before Congress.
"I'm very eager to see the testimony . . .," Carter declared. "There has never been any doubt in my mind that the outcome of these investigations will be not only proper but also will be well accepted by the American people."