FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll:Bush Job Performance "As Expected"

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:

"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?

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?

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

4. Dick Cheney

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

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

6. Knowledge of the issues?

7. Leadership skills?

8. Moral standards?

9. Judgment in a crisis?

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

19. Requiring mandatory testing for elementary and secondary students

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)

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)

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

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)?

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?

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?