US President George W. Bush's approval ratings remain low amid public doubts over the war in Iraq and the government's response to Hurricane Katrina, according to a new poll released over the weekend.
Bush received a 40 percent approval rating on his job performance in the poll commissioned by Newsweek magazine.
The results, released on Saturday, were similar to other surveys in recent weeks that showed a decline in Bush's ratings in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Three weeks ago, Bush's approval rating was at 38 percent in a previous Newsweek poll, just after Katrina slammed the US Gulf coast.
Bush received a mixed public reaction on his response to a second storm, Hurricane Rita, that hit the southern US coast on September 24.
Forty-nine percent said they disapproved of how he handled the effects of Rita, compared to 57 percent who were dissatisifed with the president's management of the more severe Hurricane Katrina.
The Bush administration has been sharply criticized for its response to Katrina, which struck on August 29 and claimed over 1,000 lives in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
After the president made several trips to the region and delivered a televised speech from New Orleans, however, public perceptions about the US government's ability to respond to a natural disaster appear to have improved.
A majority of 57 percent said the federal government now is "better able to respond to a major hurricane or natural disaster".
The poll also confirmed deteriorating popular support for the US-led war in Iraq as American casualties in the conflict continue to mount.
Sixty-two percent said they disapproved of the president's handling of the Iraq conflict, up from 60 percent in a previous Newsweek poll.
Bush received high ratings on his appointment to the US Supreme Court bench of John Roberts who will assume his post as chief justice on Monday.
Fifty-seven percent approved of Bush's appointment and 28 percent disapproved.
Last week's indictment of an important Bush ally, Tom DeLay, leader of the Republican majority in the House of Representatives, has created yet another political headache for the White House though the effect on public opinion remains unclear.
The issue appears to play out along partisan lines, with a majority of Democratic voters saying they believe DeLay is guilty of conspiracy charges related to a campaign finance probe.
Twenty-one percent of Republicans believe DeLay probably engaged in serious wrongdoing, the poll showed.
A plurality of Republicans, 47 percent, however, say the case is most likely an attempt by DeLays political rivals to embarrass him.
The poll, based on interviews with 1,004 adults, was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates on September 29 and September 30. The margin of error was four percentage points.
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