What Mandate?

From Holden:

The latest Pew poll places Chimpy’s job approval rating below that of the last five incumbent presidents entering their second term.

President George W. Bush (news – web sites)’s approval rating is lower than the past five second-term US presidents, according to a poll, with a plurality of Americans seeing Iraq (news – web sites) a top US concern.

At 50 percent Bush has the lowest approval rating when compared to presidents Bill Clinton (news – web sites), Ronald Reagan (news – web sites), Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson and Dwight Eisenhower at the moment they took office for a second term, according to the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

Bush also has by far the highest disapproval rating of any of the second-term presidents in the survey — 43 percent, 12 points higher than the nearest runner up, Clinton, who took office for a second time in January 1997.

The highest score was for World War II hero Eisenhower, who took office in January 1957 with a 73 percent approval rating and 14 percent disapproval.

A plurality of Americans — 32 percent — see Iraq as the country’s most important problem, according to the Pew poll.

Nearly half of those surveyed believe that little will change after Iraq’s January 30 national elections. While 29 percent believe the vote will result in greater stability, 14 percent expect violence to worsen.

And the public is divided 48-49 percent on whether military efforts in Iraq are going well.


Concerning terrorism, 60 percent believe the priority should be building domestic defenses to prevent future attacks instead of attacking terrorists abroad.

And many of Bush’s legislative priorities — including making tax cuts permanent, simplifying the tax code and limiting lawsuit awards — are low priorities among the public, according to the poll.

Seventy percent of those surveyed agree with Bush that the Social Security (news – web sites) retirement system needs reform, but nearly half — 47 percent — believe only minor changes were needed.

The latest versions of six other national polls roughly agree with Pew. At the upper end we find the Fox and Gallup polls (surprised?), who give the Chimpster a job approval rating of 52%. The AP, Time and ABC/WaPo polls give him a 48% approval rating, while Zogby has the same number as Pew, 50%.