Bush approval dips below 40 percent
NBC-WSJ poll shows only 28 percent believe U.S. headed in right direction
WASHINGTON - It has been weeks since Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast; since gas prices began spiking to record highs; and since Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq, held her antiwar vigil outside President Bushs Texas ranch. But, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, the fortunes of the Bush administration and the Republican Party have not yet begun to recover.
For the first time in the poll, Bushs approval rating has sunk below 40 percent, while the percentage believing the country is heading in the right direction has dipped below 30 percent. In addition, a sizable plurality prefers a Democratic-controlled Congress, and just 29 percent think Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers is qualified to serve on the nations highest court.
"Any way you slice this data, I think these are just terrible sets of numbers," said Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff.
The poll shows that Bushs approval rating stands at 39 percent, a new low for the president. In the last NBC/Wall Street Journal survey, which was released in mid-September, 40 percent approved of Bushs job performance while 55 percent disapproved. In addition, just 28 percent believe the country is headed in the right direction, another all-time low in Bushs presidency.
Strikingly, much has happened in the time between those two polls many of them seemingly positive events for the White House. The president delivered a prime-time speech from New Orleans, in which he promised to rebuild the Gulf Coast. He also made several more visits to the region, to examine the damage caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Furthermore, he saw the Senate confirm John Roberts to the Supreme Court, and he nominated Miers, his White House counsel, to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day OConnor.