Poll: Americans Tired of Partisan Bickering, Bush Job Rating Up Slightly

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Voters are fed up. Majorities say they are tired of partisan fighting, high gas prices and the war in Iraq. A plurality thinks it would be better for the country if Democrats win next year’s congressional elections, though President George W. Bush (search) has the edge over Democrats for having a better plan for handling Iraq. In addition, the president’s job approval rating is back up to its pre-Katrina level this week. These are just some of the finding of a new FOX News nation-wide poll of registered voters.

To gauge Americans’ mood, the poll asked respondents if they were "fed up with and tired of" several issues in the news these days. Top of the list: high gas prices. Almost everyone — fully 85 percent of respondents — say they are fed up with prices at the pump.

The public is also losing patience with elected officials, as 77 percent say they are fed up with partisan bickering in Washington, D.C. This may be why, at least in part, the public thinks it is time for a change: by 40 percent to 32 percent, voters today say they think it would be better for the country if Democrats win next year’s mid-term elections. Last month, 38 percent said they wanted Democrats to win and 35 percent said Republicans (30-31 Aug 2005).

Bush’s job approval rating is up four points from two weeks ago, and now 45 percent of Americans approve and 47 percent disapprove of the job he is doing as president.

The up tick comes from the president recovering ground among several groups, including independents (+9 percentage points), those over age 55 (+7 points) and Southerners (+6 points).

To illustrate the wide partisan gap on the president’s job performance, consider this: 84 percent of Republicans approve, while 81 percent of Democrats disapprove.

Opinion Dynamics Corporation conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News on September 27-28.

Almost six in 10 voters (58 percent) say they are tired and fed up with the Iraq war; however, an almost equal number (57 percent) say they have not given up on the United States be

ing able to create a stable government in Iraq (34 percent have given up).

Democrats overwhelmingly are "fed up with Iraq" (85 percent), as are a majority of independents (59 percent); less than a third of Republicans feel that way (31 percent).

And while less than one in five Republicans (18 percent) say they have given up on Iraq, the views of Democrats and independents are more sharply divided. Equal percentages of Democrats say they have given up on achieving a stable government in Iraq as say they have not (45 percent and 45 percent). Among independents, 43 percent have given up and 49 percent have not.

On Wednesday Bush spoke from the Rose Garden about the war in Iraq, saying

an increase in violence should be expected in the lead up to next month’s vote on a new constitution. By an 11-percentage point margin, the president has the edge over Congressional Democrats as having a better plan for handling the situation in Iraq (34 percent to 23 percent), though almost a quarter of respondents volunteer the response "neither" has a plan.

Feeling Fed Up With...

Bush and Hurricane Relief

Overall, about half of voters (51 percent) say Bush is spending the right amount of time on hurricane relief, with 12 percent saying he is spending too much time and 27 percent too little.

"While Bush clearly suffered in the immediate aftermath of Katrina, the flurry of activity since then has apparently brought a few people back into the president’s column," comments Opinion Dynamics Chairman John Gorman. "The problem for the administration is that none of the challenges it faces-from Iraq to reconstruction to the ethical issues around its Congressional allies-is likely to be resolved any time soon."

Twice as many Americans think state and local officials should take the lead role in responding to natural disasters as think the federal government should. Nearly half (46 percent) think state/local governments should be in charge, while 23 percent think it should be the federal government and another 28 percent say "both."

Many voters (58 percent) believe people who rebuild in high-risk areas that are known to flood should not be eligible to receive disaster relief money a second time, and a clear majority thinks the best way for the government to pay for hurricane relief is through spending cuts (61 percent) rather than by increasing taxes (9 percent) or adding to the nation’s debt (5 percent).

• PDF: Click here for full poll results.