In the next few weeks Americans will start receiving the tax rebate checks Congress authorized in May. But feelings are divided on the tax rebate, with 49 percent of the public looking forward to receiving their checks and 46 percent saying the rebate makes no difference to them. This mixed sentiment could be one reason President Bush's job approval rating didn't get the post-tax cut boost he might have expected.

In the latest FOX News/Opinion Dynamics poll, the president's job approval rating comes in at 56 percent, and his personal favorable rating is 61 percent. These numbers are significantly higher in "red states," or those states that voted for Bush in the election, than in blue states-those that gave their electoral votes to Gore.

Rating President Bush:

  All Red States Blue States
Favorable 61% 68% 55%
Unfavorable 31 24 37
  All Red States Blue States
Approve of Job 56% 62% 50%
Disapprove 30 25 35

"Bush has clearly had a month of mixed news on various issues and his ratings have jumped around a little in national polls," comments Opinion Dynamics President John Gorman. "However, this early in an administration some bouncing is to be expected as many people are still making up their minds. Bush appears to be settling into a pattern where around three fifths of the public are fairly positive and one third are pretty solidly negative. If this persists for a while, it is likely to be where the administration settles for the next few years. Once settled, only big events-recession, scandal or war-are likely to move the numbers much."

Bush's highest rating comes on the characteristic of being honest and trustworthy (69 percent). A slim majority gives him positive ratings on his knowledge of the issues (54 percent) and his leadership skills (also 54 percent), but the number dips slightly on having "judgement in a crisis" (48 percent).

Is Bush turning out to be the leader voters thought he was going to be? Overall, the answer is yes. Some say he's a stronger leader than expected (14 percent) or a weaker leader (13 percent), but overall Americans say Bush's leadership is what they expected (68 percent).

Of the issues Congress is working on right now, the Patients' Bill of Rights tops the priority list (37 percent), followed closely by education reform (32 percent). Of these two priority issues, Democrats in Congress are more trusted than Republicans are on the issue of health care (40 percent to 31 percent), while Republicans edge Democrats on education (37 percent to 33 percent).

Polling was conducted by telephone July 11-12, 2001 in the evenings. Questions 1 and 2 are for demographic purposes only. The sample is 900 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of ± 3 percentage points. LV = likely voters

1. Considering how things are today, would you say that the U.S. is generally headed in the right direction, or is it off on the wrong track?

  Right direction Undecided Wrong track
13 July 01 51% 15 34
20 Apr 01 52% 19 29
23 Feb 01 51% 20 29
12 Jan 01 53% 19 28

2. Considering just the moral climate of the U.S. today, would you say that the U.S. is generally headed in the right direction, or is it off on the wrong track?

  Right direction Undecided Wrong track
13 July 01 33% 11 56
20 Apr 01 32% 13 55
23 Feb 01 31% 14 55
12 Jan 01 31% 14 55

I'm going to read the names of some political figures. Please tell me whether you have a generally favorable or unfavorable opinion of each one. If you've never heard of someone, please just say so.

SCALE: 1. Favorable 2. Unfavorable 3. (Can't say) 4. (Never heard of) (ROTATE)

3. George W. Bush

  Favorable Unfavorable Can't say Never heard
13 July 01 61% 31 8 -
8 June 01 59% 31 9 1
11 May 01 59% 30 11 -
20 Apr 01 64% 27 9 -

4. Dick Cheney

  Favorable Unfavorable Can't say Never heard
13 July 01 65% 21 12 2
11 May 01 58% 22 16 4
20 Apr 01 63% 19 16 2
30 Mar 01 63% 17 18 2

5. Do you approve or disapprove of the job George W. Bush is doing as president?

  Approve Disapprove (DK)
13 July 01 56% 30 14
8 June 01 59% 28 13
11 May 01 59% 26 15
20 Apr 01 63% 22 15

On a scale of excellent, good, only fair and poor, how would you rate President Bush's:

6. Knowledge of the issues?

  Excellent Good Fair Poor (Not sure)
13 July 01 14% 40 28 14 4
16 Mar 01 14% 43 26 13 4

7. Leadership skills?

  Excellent Good Fair Poor (Not sure)
13 July 01 18% 36 27 15 4
16 Mar 01 22% 38 23 11 6

8. Moral standards?

  Excellent Good Fair Poor (Not sure)
13 July 01 25% 42 19 8 6
16 Mar 01 36% 39 14 5 6

9. Judgment in a crisis?

  Excellent Good Fair Poor (Not sure)
13 July 01 15% 33 21 12 19

10. In general, do you think President Bush is honest and trustworthy?

  Yes No Not sure
13 July 01 69% 20 11
30 June 00 57% 26 17
10 Sept 00 58% 20 22

11. Is President Bush a stronger leader than you expected, a weaker leader, or is he about what you expected?

Stronger leader than expected 14%
Weaker leader than expected 13
Same as expected 68
Not sure) 5

12. Do you think your Representative in Congress is doing what he or she was elected to do?

Yes 56%
No 18
I don't know what my Representative is doing 17
(Not sure) 9

13. Congress is currently working on several controversial issues. I'm going to read you a list of some of these issues. Please tell me which one is most important to you personally? (ROTATE)

An Education Reform Bill 32%
A Campaign Finance Reform Bill 8
A Health-care Bill with a Patients' Bill of Rights 37
A Bill Regulating Human Stem-Cell Research 7
A Comprehensive Energy Development Plan 14
(Not sure) 2

14. And which one is second most important to you?

An Education Reform Bill 26%
A Campaign Finance Reform Bill 12
A Health-care Bill with a Patients' Bill of Rights 25
A Bill Regulating Human Stem-Cell Research 11
A Comprehensive Energy Development Plan 20
(Not sure) 6

Based on what you know, do you support or oppose each of the following:

15. Allowing individuals the right to sue their HMO or insurance company for unlimited damages for denying care

Support Oppose (Dk)
58% 32 10

16. What if the right to sue included a limit of $500,000 in damages that a judge or jury could award, then would you support or oppose allowing individuals to sue their HMO or insurance company

Support Oppose (Dk)
58% 30 12

17. Allowing government funds to be used by faith-based organizations, such as churches and synagogues, to deliver services to the needy

Support Oppose (Dk)
61% 33 6

18. Allowing medical research using tissue from fertilized human eggs — commonly called stem-cell research

Support Oppose (Dk)
43% 40 17

19. Requiring mandatory testing for elementary and secondary students

Support Oppose (Dk)
67% 24 9

Who do you trust more to provide leadership on each of the following issues:

SCALE: 1. The Republicans in Congress 2. The Democrats in Congress 3. (Equal) 4. (Neither) 5. (Not sure)

  Republicans Democrats (Equal) (Neither) (Dk)
20. The economy 36% 35 13 8 8
21. The environment 26% 47 11 7 9
22. Education 37% 33 15 7 8
23. Taxes 42% 31 10 9 8
24. Health care 31% 40 12 8 9
25. Energy 33% 37 12 8 10
26. Military defense 51% 23 12 5 9
27. Family values 42% 24 15 10 9
28. Social Security 31% 37 13 10 9

29. Do you think the country is:

1. Currently in an energy crisis,
2. Experiencing energy problems that may become a crisis, or
3. Experiencing temporary energy problems that will not become a crisis?
4. (Not sure)

  Crisis May be crisis Temporary problems (Dk)
13 July 01 17% 39 35 9
8 June 01 23% 38 31 8

30. On a scale of excellent, good, only fair and poor, how would you rate economic conditions today?

  Excellent Good Fair Poor (Dk)
13 July 01 4% 38 44 13 1
20 Apr 01 4% 35 45 14 2
16 Mar 01 3% 36 42 18 1
23 Feb 01 5% 41 44 9 1
12 Jan 01 9% 50 29 10 2

31. A year from now, do you think the economy will be better or worse? Is that a lot (better/worse) or only a little (better/worse)?

  A lot better A little better A little worse A lot worse Not sure No change
13 July 01 15% 39 17 10 10 9
20 Apr 01 12% 40 19 8 9 12
23 Feb 01 9% 37 23 11 12 8
12 Jan 01 9% 27 25 13 13 13

32. The tax cut legislation enacted earlier this year means tax refund checks will be mailed out this summer. Would you say that you are looking forward to your rebate check, or doesn't the tax rebate make any difference to you?

Looking forward to rebate check 49%
Doesn't make any difference 46
(Not sure) 5

33. If you had a daughter in her late teens or early twenties, would you rather she be an intern for a Republican Member of Congress, a Democratic Member of Congress, or would you rather she not be a Washington intern at all?

Republican 12%
Democrat 11
Would rather daughter not be an intern 67
(Not sure) 10