Can Bush Keep His Halo?


When it comes to managing the economy and the war on terrorism -- and to acting as peacemaker in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict -- President George Bush is doing as well or better than a majority of people expected him to do. At least, that's what 2,100-plus respondents had to say in response to our Reader Survey, "Can Bush Keep His Halo?" since it was published on Apr. 24.

Only problem is, a large percentage of those who partcipated in this unscientific reader poll don't think Bush has done particularly well at any of those three tasks -- nor do they think he's likely to in the future.

Bush gets his highest marks for his anti-terrorism campaign in the wake of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Nearly 47% of those who responded think he did a good or excellent job in trying to root out the terrorists in Afghanistan. However, 35% give him a poor rating for that effort. And opinions of his performance go downhill from there.

DEFICIT JITTERS. For instance, 63% of those who took the survey give him a poor rating for his handling of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, while only 27% rate his performance good or excellent. And 54% say he has done a poor job of dealing with the economic slowdown, vs. 32% who give him a mark of good or excellent. Some 69% say they're concerned that under Bush, the U.S. again has federal budget deficits, while 27% don't seem to care.

Moreover, survey participants don't have much faith that the President can do appreciably better in the future. Some 44% doubt that he'll realize his goal of neutralizing Osama bin Laden's terrorist organization, vs. the 33% who give him a good or excellent chance.

Some 71% doubt that the Bush Administration's strategy can do much to ameliorate the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, vs. a scant 11% who give Bush a good or excellent chance of succeeding.

GOP'ERS LOG IN. Surprisingly, in light of the current recovery, 46% say there's a poor chance that the Administration's economic policies will reignite profits, capital spending, and employment growth by 2003, while 32% give the President's policies a good or excellent chance of reaching those goals.

Overall, 42.5% of those who participated say that Bush is doing a worse job then they thought he would, while about 57% say he's doing as well or better than they expected.

Incidentally, some 41% of those who participated identified themselves as Republicans, while 34% said they are independents, and 18% said they're Democrats.

Here are the detailed results:

How would you rate Bush's direction of his post-September 11 anti-terrorism campaign?

Option

Total

%

Excellent

602

28.34 %

Good

391

18.41 %

Fair

381

17.94 %

Poor

739

34.79 %

No opinion

11

0.52 %

How would you rate his efforts to defuse the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

Option

Total

%

Excellent

201

9.58 %

Good

369

17.59 %

Fair

190

9.06 %

Poor

1330

63.39 %

No opinion

8

0.38 %

How would you rate the President's management of the economy during the recent slowdown?

Option

Total

%

Excellent

368

17.53 %

Good

319

15.2 %

Fair

267

12.72 %

Poor

1131

53.88 %

No opinion

14

0.67 %

Are you concerned that the federal budget surpluses of the past few years have turned again into budget deficits?

Option

Total

%

No

576

27.43 %

Yes

1453

69.19 %

No opinion

71

3.38 %

What do you think the chances are that the President's anti-terrorism campaign will reach his goals of neutralizing Osama bin Laden and his terrorist organization?

Option

Total

%

Excellent

297

14.13 %

Good

405

19.27 %

Fair

465

22.12 %

Poor

923

43.91 %

No opinion

12

0.57 %

What do you think the chances are that the Bush Administration's strategy will help produce a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians?

Option

Total

%

Excellent

64

3.05 %

Good

170

8.10 %

Fair

320

15.25 %

Poor

1497

71.32 %

No opinion

48

2.29 %

What do you think the chances are that the Administration's economic policies will reignite profits, capital spending, and employment growth by 2003?

Option

Total

%

Excellent

330

15.77 %

Good

350

16.73 %

Fair

415

19.84 %

Poor

970

46.37 %

No opinion

27

1.29 %

Overall, how do you rate Bush's performance as President so far?

Option

Total

%

Better than I expected

636

30.26 %

About what I expected

560

26.64 %

Worse than I expected

894

42.53 %

No opinion

12

0.57 %

Do you consider yourself a:

Option

Total

%

Republican

887

41.94 %

Democrat

385

18.2 %

Independent

723

34.18 %

Other

120

5.67 %


Later, Baby
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