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Iraq, WMD dent Bush's approval rating

February 13, 2004 10:11 IST
Last Updated: February 13, 2004 12:39 IST

United States President George W Bush's job approval rating has fallen to 50 per cent, reveals an ABCNEWS/Washington Post poll.

His popularity has fallen over questions about Iraq war, economic downturn and a resurgent John Kerry -- his likely Democratic rival for the November presidential polls.

His job approval rating is at a new career low. What is worse is that his rating for honesty and trustworthiness has also dipped drastically.

Fewer than half of Americans feel that the Iraq war was worth getting into and 57 per cent give the thumbs down to the US president for job creation.

Only 52 per cent viewed Bush as honest and trustworthy, a dive of 18 per cent. Seventy per cent perceived the American president to be honest and trustworthy before the Iraq war.

Fifty-seven per cent also think Bush doesn't understand the problems of ordinary Americans. He was rated negatively on four of the six election issues -- economy, Iraq, health insurance and job creation. The issue of job creation is closely interlinked with the current uproar over outsourcing.

Kerry leads the American president in trust to handle four of six issues -- health costs, jobs, economy, and education -- leaving Bush the lead on Iraq and the war on terrorism.

In a head-to-head contest his rival, Kerry, has 51 per cent support in comparison to Bush's 43 per cent. Many attribute Kerry's good showing to the Democratic primary season and the tons of positive coverage he has got.

Bush on the other hand delivered a tepid State of the Union Address and increasingly appeared to have a dodgy case for going to war against Iraq.

Amidst all this bad news, there is a silver lining for Bush. According to the poll he retains his image as a strong leader and gets the thumbs up for handling the war on terrorism.

Moreover, the poll indicates that the National Guard controversy is a non-issue. Critics have accused Bush of being Absent Without Leave (AWOL) from duty when his National Guard unit was posted to Vietnam.

Almost 66 per cent of the Americans thought the controversy was not a legitimate issue in the election campaign. Only 33 per cent felt it was a legitimate issue.

In fact more (42 per cent to 46 per cent split) thought that questions about Kerry's fund raising as a US senator were legitimate.

Eighty-three per cent of Bush's backers supported him strongly, compared with 59 per cent of Kerry's.

The ABCNEWS/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone February 10-11 among a random national sample of 1,003 adults.


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