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Americans Want Different Type of President Next Time, Poll Says
Bloomberg
December 3, 2005

Dec. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Three in five Americans want the next U.S. president to be completely different from incumbent George W. Bush, according to a poll by Time magazine.

Bush's policies in Iraq and high gasoline and energy prices had a ``very negative'' effect on his overall job rating for 45 percent of respondents, according to the poll, conducted between Nov. 29 and Dec. 1. The results showed 36 percent would like the next president to have policies similar to those of Bush, compared with 60 percent who want a different type of leader.

The findings indicate Bush is failing to reverse flagging approval ratings after laying out his strategy for Iraq in a Nov. 30 speech. The poll showed 41 percent approve of the job Bush is doing while 53 percent disapprove, little changed from results in September after Hurricane Katrina hit the U.S. Gulf Coast. Of those who disapprove, 76 percent said they were unlikely to change their opinion of Bush.

Bush said in the Nov. 30 speech that he would set no timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. Training and equipping Iraqi forces to take over their country's security is crucial to U.S. success in the conflict and will strike a blow against terrorism, Bush said in the speech at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

In the Time poll, 47 percent of respondents said the U.S. should withdraw most troops from Iraq in the next 12 months, while 40 percent said they should stay until the Iraqi government is stable. A majority, 56 percent, said it was very likely or somewhat likely the Iraqi government would build a stable democracy, compared with 37 percent who said it was not very likely or not at all likely.

Handling of Iraq

Bush won approval for his handling of Iraq from 38 percent of those surveyed compared with 60 percent who disapproved. The respondents were nearly split on Bush's handling of the war on terrorism, with 49 percent saying they approve and 48 percent saying they disapprove.

Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have assailed critics who accused the administration of misleading Americans on pre-war intelligence. In the poll, 48 percent said they think Bush deliberately misled to build the case for war while 45 percent said he was truthful.

Half of those polled said the U.S. was wrong to go to war, and 51 percent said the country's actions in Iraq have worsened the danger of terrorist attacks against the U.S. Forty four percent say going to war was right, and 41 percent said the U.S. is safer. The poll also showed that a majority of Americans, 60 percent, think the country is heading in the wrong direction.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's earned the highest approval rating, 53 percent, of anyone in the Bush administration.

The poll is based on telephone interviews with a national sample of 1,004 adults, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Jim Efstathiou Jr. in Washington at  jefstathiou@bloomberg.net.

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