WASHINGTON – President Bush's strength with the public is based largely on the belief that he has helped make the country safer from terrorists, polls suggest.
That is raising the stakes for Bush to improve the situation in Iraq (search) - which he describes as central to the fight against terrorism.
Almost three-fourths in a CBS News poll released Sunday said the president has helped make the country safer. Even a majority of Democrats agreed.
But the president is not viewed as favorably on his handling of the economy. Almost two-thirds of the respondent said he has had almost no success creating jobs, and half said Bush has not helped the economy.
Seven in 10 surveyed in the CBS poll said domestic issues, rather than international issues, will decide their vote in the 2004 presidential election.
The Bush administration is now seen as responsible for the current condition of the economy (search), which has shown signs of life though job losses have continued. Almost nine in 10 surveyed said the president has a lot or some responsibility in the condition of the economy.
Recent polls suggest just over half of the public approves of Bush's job performance after months where his job approval was in the 60s and 70s.
With the presidential campaign (search) gaining momentum, Bush needs to bolster his stance with the public. In a recent CNN-Time poll, more said they would definitely vote against him than definitely vote for him.
The CBS poll of 930 adults, including 775 registered voters, was taken Aug. 26-28 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.