Americans have a bleaker view of the country’s direction than at any time in more than two decades, and sharp disapproval of President Bush’s handling of gasoline prices has combined with intensified unhappiness about Iraq to create a grim political environment for the White House and Congressional Republicans, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll.
Mr. Bush’s approval rating for his management of foreign policy, Iraq and the economy have fallen to the lowest levels of his presidency. He drew poor marks on the specific issues that have been at the top of the national agenda in recent months ? in particular, immigration and gas prices ? underscoring the difficulty the administration faces in reversing its political fortunes.
Just 13 percent approved of Mr. Bush’s handling of rising gas prices. Only one-quarter said they approved of his handling of immigration, as Congressional Republicans struggle to come up with a compromise to deal with the influx of illegal immigrants into the country.
The poll showed a continued decline in support for the war, the issue that has most eaten into Mr. Bush’s public support. The percentage of respondents who said going to war in Iraq was the correct decision slipped to a new low of 39 percent, down from 47 percent in January. Two-thirds said they have little or no confidence that Mr. Bush will be able to successfully end the war there.