Bush Job Approval at 38%
After edging above 40%, it fades again


Zogby | December 14 2005

President Bush’s job approval rating languishes under 40%, despite an upturn in the economy and a public relations onslaught defending the role of the U.S. military in rebuilding Iraq, a new telephone poll by Zogby International shows.

Just 38% of Americans said they approve of the job the President is doing, down from 41% in a national Zogby America survey conducted last month.

The survey showed Mr. Bush is most popular in the western United States, where 46% approve of the job he is doing, and the South, where 44% approve. Just 28% in the East and 37% in the Midwest and Great Lakes states give him good marks.

People were less critical of the President personally. Asked whether they had a favorable overall impression of Mr. Bush, 49% agreed, including 58% of westerners and 56% of southerners.

Mr. Bush won re-election last year with solid support among those who live in “red” states, but 55% who live there now said he was doing only a fair or poor job. Just 31% of those living in a politically “blue” state approved of his performance in this latest survey.

Mr. Bush still has problems with much of his political base. While 85% who consider themselves “very conservative” say he is doing a good job, just 73% of “conservatives” gave him good marks – this as he has taken recent steps to burnish his conservative credentials. While he won re-election last year with the support of 91% of Republicans, just 77% of GOPers now approve of his performance. Just 11% of Democrats approve, and only one in four independents (24%) approve.

He carries a 42% approval rating among married respondents, and among Catholics – another key demographic group supporting Mr. Bush last year – just 34% now approve of his leadership. Among the investor class, 43% give him a positive job rating.

“Perhaps most ominous for the President is that only 52% of self-described born-again Protestants give him a positive job performance rating,” said John Zogby, President and CEO of Zogby International. “Despite his aggressive campaign on the war in Iraq, the President is still a victim of events on the ground there. If the election in Iraq goes smoothly and stability looks to be possible, then the President’s support among his base may increase. But improvements in events on the ground is a big “if,” and to date, his efforts are falling short.”

As Iraq prepares for its election this week to fill a national legislative body, 38% of those Americans with a family member in the military approve of the President’s leadership. Among veterans, 38% approve of his work.

The survey showed men and women agree about his job performance, as 39% of each demographic approve of his work. Among those who said they own a gun, 49% approved of his work, while just 29% of those who do not own firearms agreed.

The new job approval rating came as part of a national year-end poll conducted by Zogby International from its headquarters here. The poll, a comprehensive survey examining national opinion as the nation closes the books on 2005 and looks forward to 2006 and critical mid-term Congressional elections, included questions about war, political scandal, the economy, race, and the optimism of the American people. Mr. Zogby will release detailed results tomorrow in Washington.

Those working in the prime of their careers, and those in the age category most populated by retirees, favored the President’s work, while others did not. The intensity of opinion among those disapproving of Mr. Bush’s job was remarkable.


The Zogby International survey of a target sample of 1014 likely voters nationwide was conducted Dec. 6-8. It carries a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups.

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