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FOX News Poll: Bush Approval Stuck in Mid-30s

As the House debates President Bush’s Iraq troop surge plan, a new FOX News poll finds that approval of the president’s overall job performance is low, but holding fairly steady.

Currently 35 percent of Americans approve of the job Bush is doing and 56 percent disapprove. The president’s approval rating has hovered between 35 percent and 38 percent for the past three months.

Opinion Dynamics Corporation conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News from February 13 to February 14. The poll has a 3-point error margin.

As has been the case for most of his presidency, Bush’s job rating shows a large partisan divide: 69 percent of Republicans approve, compared to 8 percent of Democrats and 26 percent of independents.

Click here to view full results of the poll. (pdf)

In addition to Republicans, some of Bush’s strongest approval comes from Born-Again Christians (60 percent) and conservatives (56 percent).

At times in the past there has been a gap between how men and women view the president’s job performance, but currently there is no gender gap: 35 percent of women approve and 34 percent of men.

"Since the FOX News Poll looks at registered voters it tends to be a couple of points more ‘approving’ than other polls that look at all adults," comments Opinion Dynamics Chairman John Gorman.

The Highs and Lows

Bush’s highest approval rating came in the months following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when in mid-November 2001 fully 88 percent of Americans said they approved of the job he was doing. That was also when the partisan gap was narrower than at any other time during his presidency.

For example, the gap between approval among Republicans and Democrats in mid-November 2001 was 21 percentage points, while today it is 61 percent.

Bush's lowest approval of his term was 33 percent in April 2006, around the time the public was focused not only on Iraq, but also on high gas prices.

Looking at each year’s average approval separately, Bush’s second year in office was his best with an average approval rating of 72 percent (2002). His most recent year in office, his sixth year, was his worst with an average of 39 percent approval (2006).

The average job rating for Bush’s complete first term in office is 61 percent approve and 29 percent disapprove.