WASHINGTON - President Bush's job approval rating dropped in two polls released on Saturday amid concern about the economy and instability in Iraq.
Bush, who faces a re-election fight in just over a year, saw his rating fell sharply from last month in a Zogby America poll of likely voters. Forty-five percent gave Bush positive marks for job performance in the new survey, down from 52 percent in August and the lowest since January 2001, the month he took office.
President George W. Bush 's job approval rating dropped in two polls released on September 6, 2003 amid concern about the economy and instability in Iraq . Bush speaks at a Bush-Cheney 2004 fund-raiser at The Murat Center in Indianapolis, September 5, 2003. (Larry Downing/Reuters)
In a Time magazine/CNN poll of registered voters, the president's approval slid to 52 percent. The same poll recorded 63 percent approval for Bush back in May.
"The economy clearly is the chief concern," pollster John Zogby said, noting that recent surveys found more people fearful of losing their jobs within the next year.
A Labor Department report Friday showed a weak labor market as initial claims for unemployment aid rose unexpectedly, even as other indicators showed the economy gaining strength.
Iraq, where U.S. soldiers face daily attacks amid rebuilding attempts, has also hurt Bush's standing, Zogby said.
Bush is scheduled to address the nation Sunday night about Iraq and the war on terrorism.
"There is growing concern and impatience about whether the war was worth it," Zogby said.
The Time/CNN poll, however, said 72 percent of people surveyed thought the United States had done a "good job" in Iraq since major fighting ended, and 63 percent believed going to war with Iraq was the right decision.
The poll found a split on whether the war was worth the toll in American lives and other costs, with 49 percent saying yes and 43 percent saying no.
The Zogby poll of 1,013 people was conducted Sept. 3-5. The margin of error was 3.2 percentage points. The Time/CNN poll was conducted Sept. 3-4 and surveyed 1,003 people. Its margin of error was 3.1 percentage points.
© 2003 Reuters Ltd