Confidence in Bush Leadership Continues to Drop, Poll Finds
President Bush will deliver his State of the Union address on Tuesday at the weakest point of his presidency, with dissatisfaction over his Iraq war policies continuing to rise and confidence in his leadership continuing to decline, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.And much of the dissatisfaction revolves around Iraq.
With a major confrontation between Congress and the president brewing over Iraq, Americans overwhelmingly oppose Bush's plan to send an additional 21,500 troops to the conflict. By wide margins, they prefer that congressional Democrats, who now hold majorities in both chambers, take the lead in setting the direction for the country rather than the president.And while he sill use SOTU to try to rally support for his "stay the course" with more targets policy headlines like this won't help.
Iraq dominates the national agenda, with 48 percent of Americans calling the war the single most important issue they want Bush and the Congress to deal with this year. No other issue rises out of single digits.
The poll also finds that the public trusts congressional Democrats over Bush to deal with the conflict by a margin of 60 percent to 33 percent.
U.S. Toll in Iraq Is 27 for Deadly Weekend
BAGHDAD, Jan. 21 — The United States military said that two marines died Sunday in western Iraq and that an additional seven service members died Saturday. The deaths brought the weekend toll to 27 and made Saturday the third-deadliest day for United States forces since the war here began.And this:
Bombs kill at least 78 people in Baghdad
BAGHDAD, Iraq - At least 78 people were killed and more than 150 wounded Monday after two nearly simultaneous bombs struck a predominantly Shiite commercial area in central Baghdad in the deadliest attack in two months, officials said.And as I discussed below his out of touch health care initiative is dead on arrival. We can also expect to hear more empty words about energy independence; read tax breaks for oil companies and drilling in ANWAR. But Bush will find a hostile audience that has little faith in his ability to lead the country.
More broadly, Bush will be speaking on Tuesday night to a nation that is deeply pessimistic, with just 26 percent of Americans saying the country is heading in the right direction and 71 percent saying the country is seriously off track. That is the worst these ratings have been in more than a decade.
Bush's overall approval rating in the new poll is 33 percent, matching the lowest it has been in Post-ABC polls since he took office in 2001. Sixty-five percent say they disapprove of Bush.
Equally telling is the finding that 51 percent of Americans now strongly disapprove of his performance in office, the worst rating of his presidency. Just 17 percent strongly approve of the way he is handling his job.
Only two presidents have had lower approval ratings on the eve of a State of the Union speech. Richard Nixon was at 26 percent in 1974, seven months before he resigned in disgrace because of the Watergate scandal. Harry S. Truman was at 23 percent in January 1952, driven down by public disapproval of the Korean conflict and his firing of Gen. Douglas MacArthur.
Just 29 percent approve of Bush's handling of the Iraq war, which is only one percentage point off his career low, recorded a month ago. Seventy percent disapprove. Similarly, Bush's approval rating on handling terrorism is at a near-low; just 46 percent give him positive marks, while 52 percent are negative.