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61% disapprove of Bush handling of war in Iraq
Updated: 12:13 p.m. ET Aug. 6, 2005

Aug. 6, 2005 - As U.S. troops endured a deadly week in Iraq, 61 percent of Americans polled say they disapprove of the way President George W. Bush is handling the war in Iraq, according to a new NEWSWEEK poll. Thirty four percent say they approve. This is Bush's lowest rating on Iraq and the first time it has dropped below 40 percent in the NEWSWEEK poll. And 50 percent of those polled say the United States is losing ground in its efforts to establish security and democracy in Iraq; just 40 percent say the U.S. is making progress there.

A NEWSWEEK poll taken one month ago showed that 41 percent of Americans approved of Bush's handling of Iraq; 54 percent did not.

While 26 percent of those polled say they support keeping large numbers of U.S. military personnel in Iraq for as long as it takes to achieve U.S. goals there, 38 percent say they would support keeping troops there less than a year, 13 percent say one to two years and 12 percent volunteered that troops should be brought home now.

Meanwhile, Bush's approval ratings have dropped to 42 percent; 51 percent of Americans say they disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job as president. Bush's approval ratings reached a high of 88 percent in his first term, in the month after the September 11 attacks. Forty-two percent is his low.

Fifty-four percent of Americans say they are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States at this time, according to the latest NEWSWEEK poll. Just over a third say they are satisfied.

Bush earns his best marks for homeland security, with 51 percent of Americans saying they are satisfied with his handling of the matter, though that is a drop of six points from a NEWSWEEK poll taken in March. Bush earns significantly lower marks on his handling of the economy (40 percent approve), education (44 percent), energy policy (34 percent), the environment (39 percent) and Social Security (32 percent).

In general, 28 percent say the war in Iraq has made Americans safer from terrorism; 64 percent say it has not, the poll shows. In the wake of the London attacks, 45 percent of those polled say it's very likely that Islamic extremists will carry out major terrorist attacks against U.S. cities, buildings or national landmarks in the near future; 37 percent say it's somewhat likely and 10 percent say it's not too likely.

In other matters, 31 percent approve of Bush's handling of federal funding for stem-cell research, while 52 percent disapprove. And 47 percent approve of Bush's handling of appointments to the Supreme Court; 35 percent disapprove. Forty-seven percent of Americans polled say that Bush's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, John Roberts ,should be confirmed; 24 percent say he shouldn't be confirmed and 29 percent say they don't know.

And when asked about the reports that White House adviser Karl Rove may have leaked classified information about Valerie Plame, a CIA agent, 45 percent say, from what they've heard or read about Rove's involvement in the case, that they believe he is guilty of a serious crime; 18 percent say he is not guilty of a serious offense and 37 percent say they don't know, the poll shows.

The NEWSWEEK poll, conducted Tuesday, Aug. 2, to Thursday, Aug. 4, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. In conducting the poll, Princeton Survey Research Associates International interviewed 1,004 adults aged 18 and older.
© 2005 Newsweek, Inc.