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Poll: U.S. On Wrong Track

From today's CBSNews poll:

"Americans’ slate of national priorities has remained in place for months — the war in Iraq, the economy and jobs among others — with one new addition to the palette: gas prices. But when asked about congressional accomplishments so far this year, fewer than half can name anything Congress has done. For those in the minority who can, the legislation spurred by the Terri Schiavo case (which isn’t mentioned by the public as a priority) stands out as the memorable.

More Americans disapprove than approve of the job the president and Congress are doing, and a majority thinks the country is on the wrong track.

Despite the efforts of President Bush and Republicans in Congress, public support for Social Security privatization remains unchanged this year. Views on the war in Iraq, which Americans see as a top problem now facing the country, remain mixed.

The impression on public opinion of Congress’ association with the Schiavo case seems to have been more negative than positive. Half of those who name the Schiavo matter as the most notable Congressional accomplishment think that what the Republicans have done so far has been bad for the country, nearly two-thirds of them disapprove of the job Congress has done, and six in ten have an unfavorable view of the Republicans in Congress.

President Bush's overall approval rating has changed little since last month: 44 percent of Americans approve of Bush's job as president, and 51 percent disapprove. Mr. Bush's approval rating has been under 50 percent since January of this year, and this is only the third time his disapproval rating has reached 50 percent or higher since he took office.

In addition, seven in 10 Americans express uneasiness about President Bush’s approach to Social Security, which he has attempted to make the hallmark of his second term. More Americans are uneasy about Mr. Bush’s approach to Social Security today than they were in February. Now, just a quarter feels confident that Mr. Bush will make the right decisions regarding the program.

Americans’ uneasiness about the president’s handling of Social Security may stem from their less-than-enthusiastic support for his plan to partially privatize the system. Forty-five percent now say allowing individuals to invest a portion of their Social Security taxes themselves is a good idea, but slightly more — 49 percent — say it is a bad idea. Views on the president’s plan have not changed since January, despite active campaigning for it by the president and other Republicans.

Men, Republicans and those in higher income brackets favor partially privatizing Social Security, while women, Democrats and lower income Americans oppose the idea."
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