In the face of rising gas prices, partisan sniping over Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, and a resumption of insurgent violence in Iraq, President Bush's job approval rating has slipped into a post-holiday funk, again dipping below 40%, a new telephone poll by Zogby International shows.
His approval rating almost mirrors the percentage of respondents (40%) who said the nation overall is headed in the right direction. The deterioration in the President's numbers appears to be the result of eroding support among the investor class and others who supported him in his 2004 re-election bid, said Pollster John Zogby, President and CEO of Zogby International. And the problem is the Iraq war - just 34% of respondents said Mr. Bush was doing a good or excellent job managing the war, down from 38% approval in a Zogby poll taken in mid-October.
Among investors, Bush's support for managing the war dropped five points since October, from 45% to 40%, Zogby data shows.
But Zogby said the glaring split between how Republicans, Democrats and independents think the President is handling Iraq is remarkable.
"The numbers in support for the war in Iraq are extremely low among Democrats and independents," Zogby said. "This is a partisan war." While 61% of Republicans said he was doing a good job managing the war (down from 70% in October), just 11% of Democrats and 28% of independents gave him good marks in that area. Among Democrats, 71% said Bush was doing a "poor" job with the war, while 17% said he was doing only a "fair" job.