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Home >> World
UPDATED: 08:52, September 09, 2005
Bush suffers in polls post-Katrina
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US President George W. Bush's image suffered in public opinion polls taken after Hurricane Katrina hit the U.S. Gulf Coast, with some finding growing doubts about his leadership and the country's direction. Reuters reported.

After a week of criticism for a slow response to the devastation caused by Katrina, polls released on Thursday registered drops in Bush's approval ratings and in confidence in his leadership.

A Pew Research Center poll found 67 percent of Americans believed Bush could have done more to speed up relief efforts, and just 28 percent believed he did all he could. His approval rating slipped to 40 percent, down four points since July to the lowest point Pew has recorded.

The Pew poll also found a shift in public priorities after Katrina caused a jump in gasoline prices last week, with a majority saying for the first time since the September 11, 2001, attacks that it was more important for Bush to focus on domestic policy than the war on terrorism.

"Americans are depressed, angry and very worried about the economic consequences of the disaster," said Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew poll.

A WEEK OF CRITICISM

The new polls indicated a week of criticism and political finger-pointing over who is to blame for the disastrous response to Katrina could have taken a toll on the White House.

A CBS poll taken September 6-7 found 38 percent approved of Bush's handling of the storm's aftermath, while 58 percent disapproved. That was a dramatic shift from immediately after the storm last week, when 54 percent approved and 12 percent disapproved.

The CBS poll also found confidence in Bush during a crisis had fallen and only 48 percent now view him as a strong leader -- the lowest number ever for Bush in the poll. A year ago 64 percent of voters saw Bush as a strong leader.

Bush's approval rating fell to 41 percent in a new Zogby poll, with only 36 percent giving him a passing grade on his handling of the response to the storm.

The Zogby poll also found broad pessimism among a majority of Americans after the storm, with 53 percent saying the country is headed in the wrong direction and 42 percent saying it is on the right track.

A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll taken on September 5-6 found 42 percent believed Bush did a "bad" or "terrible" job handling the storm and subsequent flooding, while 35 percent thought he performed "great" or "good."

A Washington Post/ABC News poll taken September 2 offered more mixed results, with 46 percent approving of Bush's performance and 47 percent disapproving.

There was plenty of blame to go around for the slow response to Katrina, with local and state governments also taking a hit.

The Gallup poll found 13 percent blamed Bush for the problems in New Orleans, while 18 percent blamed federal agencies, 25 percent blamed state and local officials and 38 percent said no one was to blame.

In the Pew poll, 58 percent thought the federal government had done only a fair or poor job after the storm, but 51 percent also thought state and local governments in Louisiana and Mississippi had done just a fair or poor job.

Source: CD/Agencies


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