NEW YORK – At the six-month mark, President Bush receives positive ratings from a majority of Americans. Among "Red States," those states that gave their electoral votes to Bush in the 2000 presidential election, his ratings are considerably higher than in "Blue States" (states that voted for Democratic candidate Al Gore).
In the latest FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll, 59 percent say they approve of the job George W. Bush is doing as president, and 25 percent disapprove. In Red States, 64 percent approve of the job he's doing compared to 54 percent in Blue States.
The same division is seen on the opinion of Bush as a person. Again, nationwide, 59 percent have a favorable opinion of Bush. That number rises to 66 percent favorable in Red States and dips to 53 percent favorable in Blue.
Bush's job approval rating is much higher than Bill Clinton's was at this point of his presidency, although lower than his father's. A Gallup poll from July 1993 shows 42 percent approved of the job Clinton was doing while 49 percent disapproved. In July 1989, 67 percent approved of George H.W. Bush's job performance and only 18 percent disapproved [Gallup].
"It is unlikely that we will see numbers like those the elder Bush received any time soon," comments Opinion Dynamics President John Gorman. "Both Clinton and the younger Bush came into office with higher negatives because of the intense negative politics that we now take for granted."
Other findings from the poll include:
• Most Americans can’t form an opinion of Bush's recent trip to the global summit. For example, 31 percent think Bush's trip was a success, 21 percent think it was a failure and 48 percent say neither or not sure.
• Currently 55 percent of Americans feel optimistic about the country's economy (22 percent strongly, 33 percent somewhat), compared to 37 percent who feel pessimistic (15 percent strongly, 22 percent somewhat).
• 41 percent plan to spend their tax rebate check, 35 percent say they will save it, and 15 percent don't expect to receive a rebate check.
• Stem cell research is an important issue to a majority of Americans (63 percent say "very" or "somewhat" important).
• 38 percent think Bush should follow the Pope's advise and oppose stem cell research (47 percent of Catholics), while 42 percent think Bush should support the research (including 39 percent of Catholics).
Polling was conducted by telephone July 25-26, 2001 in the evenings. The sample is 900 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of ± 3 percentage points. LV = likely voters. "Red States" are states that voted for George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential election, and "Blue States" gave their electoral votes to Democrat Al Gore.
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)
1. George W. Bush
2. Bill Clinton
3. Do you approve or disapprove of the job George W. Bush is doing as president?
4. Last week President Bush participated in a global summit of world leaders. From what you know about the trip, do you think the president’s trip was a success or was it a failure?
5. Would you say you feel optimistic or pessimistic about the U.S. economy right now? (If optimistic/pessimistic) Is that strongly or only somewhat?
6. The tax cut legislation enacted earlier this year means tax refund checks will be mailed this summer. What do you plan to do with your tax rebate – spend it or save it?
7. Would you favor or oppose requiring all high school students to take drug tests?
8. Would you favor or oppose requiring all high school students to take drug tests if their parents consented to the tests and the test results could only be used to provide treatment for students using drugs?
9. At a meeting earlier this week, Pope John Paul II strongly urged President Bush to oppose stem cell research -- that is, medical research using tissue from human embryos. Do you think Bush should follow the Pope's advice and oppose stem cell research?
10. How important is the issue of stem cell research to you personally?
11. Do you believe there is intelligent life on other planets?
SCALE: 1. Yes 2. No 3. (Not sure)
12. Do you believe there is intelligent life in Washington, D.C.?
SCALE: 1. Yes 2. No 3. (Some, but not much) 4. (Not sure)