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bush 0 continues to sink

Julie Fern

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bush 0 continues to sink
« on: August 05, 2005, 06:49:39 AM »
as country finally starts to catch on...

Bush's Approval Rating on Iraq Drops in Poll
Six Out of Ten Believe Country Is on Wrong Track

WASHINGTON (Aug. 5) - Americans' approval of President Bush's handling of Iraq is at its lowest level yet, according to an AP-Ipsos poll that also found fewer than half now think he's honest.

A solid majority still see Bush as a strong and likable leader, though the president's confidence is seen as arrogance by a growing number.

Approval of Bush's handling of Iraq, which had been hovering in the low- to mid-40s most of the year, dipped to 38 percent. Midwesterners and young women and men with a high school education or less were most likely to abandon Bush on his handling of Iraq in the last six months.

American troops have suffered heavy casualties in Iraq in recent days. On Wednesday, 14 Marines were killed in the Euphrates River valley in the worst roadside bombing targeting Americans since the war began in March 2003.

William Anderson, a retired Republican from Fort Worth, Texas, said Bush "has the right intentions, but he's going about them the wrong way.''

"Iraq is one of the issues that everybody has a problem with,'' Anderson said. "There are some big discussions about it around town. Everybody's got their agreements and disagreements. It seems like there's no end. Is it going to end up another Vietnam?''

Continuing worries about Iraq may do more than drag down Bush's standing with the public. They could become a major issue in the 2006 midterm congressional races, and if the war is still going in 2008, they could be a factor in the presidential race.

Bush's overall job approval was at 42 percent, with 55 percent disapproving. That's about where Bush's approval has been all summer but slightly lower than at the beginning of the year.

The portion of people who consider Bush honest has dropped slightly from January, when 53 percent described him that way while 45 percent did not. Now, people are just about evenly split on that issue - with 48 percent saying he's honest and 50 percent saying he's not.

The drop in the number of people who see Bush as honest was strongest among middle-aged Americans as well as suburban women, a key voting group in the 2004 election. A further erosion of trust could make it tougher for Bush to win support for his policies in Congress and internationally.

"The reason that trust is so important has to do with the long-standing belief that you could trust him, even if you don't always agree with him and don't understand what he's doing,'' said Bruce Buchanan, a political scientist at the University of Texas. "The honesty dip is partly caused by a loss of faith in his credibility on Iraq.''

The president said Thursday from his ranch in Crawford, Texas, that threats from al-Qaida's No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahri, "make it clear that Iraq is a part of this war on terror, and we're at war.'' Bush pledged to "complete this job in Iraq.''

Almost two-thirds in the poll described Bush as strong and likable.

"He's a man of character,'' said Cheryl Cheyney, a school bus driver from Cumming, Ga., and a Republican. "He's very honest in the things he says. I agree with his belief system, the way he believes in God and is not afraid to show it. That's very important to me.''

But the portion of people who view his confidence as arrogance has increased from 49 percent in January to 56 percent now.

"This country is a monarchy,'' said Charles Nuutinen, a 62-year-old independent from Greenville, Wis. "He's turning this country into Saudi Arabia. He does what he wants. He doesn't care what the people want.''

Six in 10 said they think the country is headed down the wrong track, despite some encouraging economic news in recent weeks.

"Iraq is just a great weight holding down perceptions of an economy that is quite robust,'' said Karlyn Bowman, a public opinion analyst at the American Enterprise Institute. "Whenever you have troops in harm's way, people are anxious about things in general.''

The poll of 1,000 adults was conducted Aug. 1-3 by Ipsos, an international polling firm. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

08/05/05 04:39 EDT

Julie Fern

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Re: bush 0 continues to sink
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2005, 07:57:56 AM »
Deadly attacks increase pressure on Bush
New survey shows lowest approval yet for his handling of war

By Tom Raum

WASHINGTON - The deadly recent attacks on American troops in Iraq are increasing the pressure on President Bush to develop an exit strategy. The U.S. death toll from the war is now over 1,800, and a new AP-Ipsos poll shows the lowest approval yet for Bush’s handling of Iraq, just 38 percent.

The president’s fellow Republicans are growing nervous as they head into an election year.

Yet the administration must also confront the possibility that a U.S. drawdown of troops — tentatively planned to begin next spring — could further embolden the insurgents and throw Iraq into civil war.

“We will stay the course. We will complete the job in Iraq,” Bush pledged anew during a news conference on his Texas ranch with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

Bush suggested his resolve was only strengthened by a videotaped warning earlier Thursday from al-Qaida’s second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri, threatening more terror attacks in Britain and tens of thousands of U.S. military deaths if the United States doesn’t withdraw.

There has been little outward sign of progress in U.S.-led efforts to defeat the insurgency and to beef up the Iraqi army and police so they can take over security responsibilities and allow an orderly withdrawal of American forces.

Particularly lethal bombings over the past few weeks, including a roadside bomb that claimed the lives of 14 Marines on Wednesday, have made the situation look even bleaker than U.S. military experts suggest it is.

Eroding support

That translates into a continued erosion of public support for Bush’s Iraq policy at home.

An AP-Ipsos poll taken Monday through Wednesday indicated that just 38 percent of Americans approve of Bush’s handling of Iraq. A year ago, the public was evenly divided on Iraq, and Bush’s stance on the war and terrorism helped him to election victory.

Bush has lost support most dramatically among younger women, especially those who live in the suburbs, and among men with a high school education or less.

Despite the horrific headlines, many military analysts say that attacks on U.S. troops have actually remained constant in recent weeks while attacks on Iraqi civilians have increased.

“As tragic as they are, they don’t establish a pattern that says U.S. casualties are getting consistently worse,” said Anthony H. Cordesman, an Iraq expert and former Pentagon intelligence official. He attributed recent deaths of Marines to the fact that “these are more aggressive military patrols going into hostile areas.”

Even so, Bush faces a real dilemma, said Cordesman, now with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “The president’s legacy, if he fails in Iraq, historically is an absolute disaster. President Bush and the Bush administration can scarcely ignore that problem.”

“If you pull out troops too quickly now, and you see the situation in Iraq collapse before the midterm elections, the impact is going to be far more serious than if you keep the troops in at reasonable levels,” Cordesman said.

Regardless of whether attacks against U.S. troops are increasing overall or remaining constant, the deaths over the past few days of Marines in western Iraq — including multiple losses for the community of Brook Park, Ohio — underscore that things in Iraq are not going well.

Jeff Mers, commander of a VFW post that has raised money and sent care packages to the Columbus-based Marine company that suffered the heaviest losses, said that even before this week’s attacks, he and other veterans were dazed from attending funerals.

‘Grim reminder’

“I think I’ve been to nine of these just in central Ohio in the past few months,” he said.

Bush called the fallen Marines a “grim reminder” that America is still at war.

The war will be a major factor in the 2006 midterm congressional races and could be one in the 2008 presidential race, said Stephen Cimbala, a Pennsylvania State University political scientist who has studied the impact of wars on American politics.

“If you look at it from a Republican point of view, by the 2006 congressional elections, you’re going to want to have a timetable in place for withdrawal of U.S. forces and their replacement by Iraqis. And by the fall of 2008, you will want to have most U.S. forces out of there,” Cimbala said.