Bush Approval Measured at All-Time Low

President Bush's approval rating has dropped to 28 percent in a Newsweek poll released this weekend, the lowest of any president in a generation.

Bush's low is now tied with Jimmy Carter during the Iran hostage crisis. Only two modern presidents have fared worse -- Richard Nixon, at 23 percent, and Harry Truman, bogged down in the Korean War, at 22 percent.

"When presidents get down into the 20's -- as Harry Truman, Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon [did], of course -- what it tells us, of course, is that they have lost their hold on the public's imagination. The public is so at odds with them, they don't have credibility any more. The public does not trust them -- and it's ruinous."

Like President Carter, Bush faces domestic and international crises -- in Iraq and on such pocketbook issues as a housing slump and rising gas prices.

"This has been the year of horrors for the Bush administration, reeling from an election result and then moving into scandal after scandal," said Norman Ornstein, political analyst at the American Enterprise Institute. "The clear majority of Americans, if they could, would just TiVo through the rest of this administration and move on to the next."

Nearly two-thirds of respondents also found Bush "stubborn and unwilling to admit mistakes."

The president has now had less-than-majority favorability numbers for three years. Only President Truman was as low for longer. It has been a steep fall from Bush's peak approval rating of 92 percent after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the highest on record for any president.

While other recent polls showed different results, this poll found disaffection with the president may be dragging down Republican presidential hopefuls.

"No Republican will win in 2008 on keeping Washington as it is," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said on CBS' "Face the Nation" program. "Unless they're prepared to offer that change, I think the country will almost certainly elect a Democrat."

[Today, House Republican Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, suggested public support among Republicans for President Bush's Iraq policy could crumble in the fall without clear success.

"Over the course of the next three to four months, we'll have some idea how well the plan's working. Early signs are indicating there is clearly some success on a number of fronts," he said on "Fox News Sunday. "By the time we get to September or October, members are going to want to know how well this is working, and if it isn't, what's Plan B."]

During last week's Republican presidential debate at the Reagan presidential library, Bush's name was mentioned just once. Candidates instead cited Ronald Reagan, the GOP standard-bearer of the 1980s, 20 times.

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