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Poll: Bush’s Standing Is Solid

July 22, 2003

President Bush’s poll numbers have slipped in recent weeks, but his overall standing with the public remains solid, largely based on his relative strength on foreign policy, a new poll suggests.

Bush’s job approval was at 59 percent in the CNN-USA Today Gallup poll released Monday, while some recent polls have shown him in the mid 50s.

A majority approved of Bush’s handling of foreign affairs, 54 percent and the situation in Iraq, 57 percent, in the new poll.

People were less enthusiastic about his handling of the economy, with slightly more people disapproving, 51 percent, than approving, 47 percent.

The president has faced increasing criticism about his handling of the Iraq situation, which has pulled his support down from postwar levels.

Democrats have been trying to drive down his support further by aggressively questioning his use of faulty or hyped intelligence to justify the war with Iraq.

The relative strengths of the two political parties could be seen when people were asked which party in Congress would do a better job of handling certain issues.

_Republicans were stronger on fighting terrorism by a 55-29 margin.

_Democrats were stronger on the economy by 53-36.

_Republicans were stronger on Iraq by 51-36.

The poll showed Democrats with a substantial lead on domestic issues from the deficit to unemployment to prescription drugs to education.

Despite the strength of Democrats on numerous domestic issues, Bush was favored over an unnamed Democratic presidential candidate by 47-41 when people were asked who they would vote for.

When people were asked whether the situation in Iraq was worth going to war over, 63 percent said yes, and only 35 percent said no.

The poll of 1,003 adults was taken July 18-20 and has an error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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