Downward Trends: A new CBS News poll conducted Tuesday and Wednesday found that 52% of respondents disapproved of George Bush’s overall job performance as president. Of course, 81% of Repugs approved while 80% of Dems didn’t, but most telling was that 55% of independents thought Bush’s handling of the most powerful office in the world was sub-par.
To the question of how much confidence they have in Bush’s ability to handle a crisis, 32% said “a lot,” versus 66% for Repugs, while 39% of Dems and 24% of indies had “none at all.”
When asked how much confidence they have in the U.S. government to protect citizens from terrorist attacks, 30% of all respondents said “not very much,” only a third of Republicans expressed “a great deal” of confidence; 39% of Democrats and 31% of independents said “not very much.”
Asked the same confidence question about the government’s ability to respond effectively to natural disasters, just over a third of respondents said “not very much,” only a third of Repugs expressed “a great deal” of confidence, 24% of Dems and 17% of indies said “none at all.”
On whether they approve or disapprove of the way Bush handled Hurricane Katrina, 58% of all respondents and 57% of independents expressed disapproval. Just over two-thirds of Repugs approved, while 86% of Dems disapproved.
Regarding Katrina, 69%of respondents said federal officials did a poor job of preparing before the storm and 70% said state and local officials didn’t prepare well, either. More than three-quarters of those surveyed said the feds could have done “much better” in the days following the storm and 80% said the government could have moved faster. Both Louisiana state and local officials and FEMA could have moved faster in the wake of the storm, according to 70% of respondents.
Nearly half of respondents thought reductions in goverment spending were a “major factor” in the severity of flooding in New Orleans. Regarding whether the speed of the government’s response was affected by the fact that most people left behind in New Orleans after the storm were black and poor, less than a third said it was a “major factor” and half said it wasn’t a factor at all.
When asked about the alacrity of Bush’s response to the worst natural disaster in U.S. history, 1% (all Republicans) said he responded too quickly, two-thirds said “too slow” and less than a third said his speed was “about right.”