Bush's Approval Rating Down, Concern Over Iraq Rising, Poll Shows

Some 45 percent 'doubt [president's] veracity'; Iraq replaces jobs as main concern.

More Americans are doubting the president's word, and Iraq has replaced the U.S. economy as their top priority, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released on Wednesday.

The poll showed that the number of Americans who see President Bush as "honest and straightforward" dipped to 41 percent — an all-time low for his presidency — down 9 points from 50 percent in January. As for those who "doubt his veracity," that number climbed from 36 percent to 45 percent, NBC News reports.

Another new development showed that Iraq has surpassed jobs as the most important issue among Americans, topping the list at 40 percent, while 34 percent ranked the job market as their prime concern. In January, respondents ranked job creation at 46 percent, versus 39 percent for Iraq.

Also, 57 percent of those polled agree with the president in keeping U.S. troops and economic commitment in Iraq until the country can govern itself, and 61 percent agree with Bush's assertion that the war in Iraq is part of the larger war against terror (see "Bush Insists Iraq War Is 'Worth It' In Sober Speech").

In light of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor stepping down from the bench (see "Sandra Day O'Connor, First Woman Supreme Court Justice, Announces Retirement"), the majority said it would be a positive move for Bush to appoint another female to the court (60 percent), and someone who supports references to God in public life (63 percent). However, 50 percent believe the president would be making a misstep if he chose someone who would vote to overturn Roe vs. Wade, the landmark case that legalized abortion in 1973.

Overall, President Bush suffered a decline in his approval rating, sliding one point from May to 45 percent, despite his involvement at the G8 Summit earlier this month where the leaders pledged $50 billion toward African aid (see "G8 Leaders Double African Aid To $50 Billion"). His disapproval rating went up by two points, hitting nearly half, at 49 percent. Most Americans surveyed also said they disapprove of how he is handling the economy, foreign policy and Iraq.

The poll also indicated that 45 percent of its respondents would like to see Republicans lose control of Congress in the 2006 elections.