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Monday, October 01, 2007

John Q. Public to Bush: NO!

Majority of Americans favor Democrats to handle Iraq and healthcare:

Shamelessy "borrowed" from The Washington Post:

Most Americans oppose fully funding President Bush's $190 billion request for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a sizable majority supports an expansion of a children's health insurance bill the president has promised to veto, putting Bush and many congressional Republicans on the wrong side of public opinion on upcoming foreign and domestic policy battles.

The new Washington Post-ABC News poll also shows deep dissatisfaction with the president and Congress. Bush's approval rating stands at 33 percent, equal to his career low in Post-ABC polls. Congressional approval is even lower: Just 29 percent approve of the job the Congress is doing. That is Congress's lowest approval rating in this poll since November 1995, when Republicans controlled both the House and Senate, and represents a 14-point drop since Democrats took control last January.

Still, the public rates congressional Republicans (29 percent approve) lower than congressional Democrats (38 percent approve). And when the two parties are pitted directly against one another, the public broadly favors Democrats to handle Iraq, health care, the federal budget and the economy. Only on the issue of terrorism are Republicans at parity with Democrats.

Part of the dissatisfaction with Congress stems from the stalemate between Democrats and the White House over Iraq policy. Most Americans do not think Congress has gone far enough in opposing the war, with liberal Democrats especially critical of their party's failure to force the president into a significant change in policy.

Overall, 55 percent of Americans want congressional Democrats to do more to challenge the president's Iraq war policies, while only a third think the Democrats have already gone too far. The level of agitation for more action in opposition to the war has not dissipated since August 2005, when Democrats were the minority party in Congress.

More than eight in 10 liberal Democrats said Congress has been too restrained, while about the same percentage of conservative Republicans said it has been too aggressive. A narrow majority of independents, 53 percent, wants more congressional action.

At the same time, there is no consensus about the pace of any U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq. In July, nearly six in 10 said they wanted to decrease the number of troops there, but now a slim majority, 52 percent, thinks Bush's plan for removing some troops by next summer is either the right pace for withdrawal (38 percent) or too hasty (12 percent would like a slower reduction and 2 percent want no force reduction); fewer, 43 percent, want a quicker exit.

A central challenge for all policymakers is that those who want more congressional action are not unanimous in what they would like Congress to do. Almost all of those who would like congressional Democrats to do more to oppose the Iraq war disapprove of how the president has handled the war effort, but about a quarter want U.S. troops to remain in Iraq until civil order is restored, and more than a third see Bush's plan to withdraw the "surge" troops by next summer as about right or even too fast.

There is broader public agreement, however, on how Congress should approach the war funding issue. Only about a quarter of all adults want Congress to fully fund the administration's $190 billion request for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over the next year, while two-thirds want the proposed allocation reduced, with 43 percent wanting it reduced sharply. (Three percent say Congress should approve no money at all.)

Two-thirds of independents want Congress to reduce the funds allocated for the war effort, as do 83 percent of Democrats; 45 percent of Republicans agree.

Bush and the Republicans may also be headed for a political setback from the fight over the State Children's Health Insurance Program, even if Congress fails to override Bush's threatened veto, with broad bipartisan support for the new legislation.

More than seven in 10 support the planned $35 billion spending increase, and only 25 percent are opposed. About half of Americans "strongly" support the increased spending; 17 percent are that firmly against the additional money. And the program expansion has majority support across party lines: Eighty-one percent of Democrats, 69 percent of independents and 61 percent of Republicans are in favor.

Democrats hold a big edge over Republicans on handling the nation's health-care issues more generally. Overall, 56 percent said they trust Democrats to handle health care, and 26 percent side with the GOP on the issue. About one in eight doesn't trust either major party. Only 30 percent give Bush positive marks on his handling of health care. Democrats also have public trust leads on other key issues, including Iraq (Democrats have a 15-point advantage), the economy (18 points) and handling the federal budget deficit (23 points). The two parties are at parity on handling the U.S. campaign against terrorism; 41 percent put more faith in the Democrats on the issue, 40 percent in the Republicans.

Translating these advantages into political momentum, however, has proved a tricky proposition. Congressional ratings are low, and falling, and despite progress toward some of the Democrats' primary stated goals, few Americans credit Congress with significant progress this year.

The drop-off in Congress's approval rating over the past six months has been precipitous among Democrats and independents. Barely a third of liberal Democrats now approve of the job Congress is doing; in April, 59 percent approved. Among independents, 24 percent approve, equaling last year's pre-election low mark for the GOP-controlled Congress.

Independents broke heavily for Democratic candidates in the 2006 midterm elections, powering their takeover.

In this poll, independents spread their discontent. About three in 10 rate Democrats in Congress positively, while just 23 percent give congressional Republicans a good review. Since April, independents' support for the Democrats in Congress is down 20 percentage points; approval of the Republicans is down 11 points.

The congressional Democrats have also lost some of their standing among self-identified Democrats and Republicans, as their overall rating has dipped from 54 percent in April to 38 percent in this poll. At 29 percent, Republicans in Congress rate only as high as the institution.

Deteriorating reviews of congressional job performance are linked to a broad-based assessment that Congress has not accomplished much this year. Overall, more than eight in 10 Americans, including large majorities across party lines, said Congress has accomplished "not too much" or "nothing at all" this year. And the percentage granting Congress more achievement is down from April, again led by declines among Democrats and independents.

Few, however, pin a "do nothing" label solely on Congress.

By a 2-1 margin, those who see little accomplishment in the Congress's first nine months place more blame for the inaction on the president and the GOP rather than on the majority Democrats. Some 51 percent place primary fault with the president and congressional Republicans, 25 percent on the Democrats; two in 10 volunteer that both parties share the blame equally. Among independents, 43 percent blame the Republicans, 23 percent the Democrats, and nearly three in 10 blame both sides equally.

The poll was conducted Thursday through Sunday among a national random sample of 1,114 adults. The results from the full poll have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.


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Blogger Mary Ellen said...

I'm so glad you posted this, John. I know this one guy who keeps telling me what low rating the Dems have since they took over the House, totally ignoring the fact that it's the Repug's that are the obstructionists.

It's good to see them get what they deserve. Of course, Bush is sure that 28% is a good number, he's never been that good at math.

title="comment permalink">October 02, 2007 12:23 AM  
Blogger enigma4ever said...

great post....better than the wapo any day...and ME is right above- obstruction creates gridlock on so many issues...I really find it hard to believe that Bush really even has 28%...but that is what the Voices in his head tell him...

title="comment permalink">October 02, 2007 12:48 AM  
Blogger Parson said...

The Democrats could be doing more, they just won't because they are too worried about getting re-elected or elected president. They are going to sit back and watch war with Iran start pretty soon now.

title="comment permalink">October 02, 2007 10:47 AM  
Blogger azgoddess said...

ok ok ok - john...we have a one party system - called green = money...people who have the money pay for our government to do their bidding...

so it matters not what one calls oneself - a dem or regug...they are horses of the same color...hugs

we need a people's party...one that can't be bought and sold in the public market...then we will have our freedoms back - JMHO

title="comment permalink">October 02, 2007 1:56 PM  
Blogger Dan Klug said...

Hey i know! lets have a socialists party, and elect ol' Hilary. Maybe she can TELL us what else we WANT AND NEED. what a few billion dollars a year? I can take care of my own insurance that very much, where are we getting that??? washinton already dont pay their bills as it is .shes proposing that every babie born get a $5000 savings bond! is she a loon? yah, All the same color? DIRTY BROWN SH@#$T all of them a dum or regrudg...they are horses of the same color.

title="comment permalink">October 02, 2007 9:08 PM  
Blogger John Good said...

ME - I know! I just knew there had to be a breakdown on it somewhere!

E4E - I guess we'll just have to finish the job next November!

Parson - If that happens, we're all f*cked and it won't matter. I refuse to believe it until it happens. . .

AZ - You're right - otherwise Kucinich would be leading the pack.

Dan - When did you start drinking?

title="comment permalink">October 02, 2007 9:17 PM  

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