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AP News: Bush Approval a Low for Recent 2-Termers

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From AP News:

"President Bush's standing with an American public anxious about Iraq and the nation's direction is lower than that of the last two men who won re-election to the White House — Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton — at this point in their second terms.

But solid backing from his base supporters has kept Bush from sinking to the depths reached by former presidents Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and Bush's father. Truman decided not to run for re-election. Nixon resigned. Carter and the first President Bush were defeated in re-election campaigns.

'This president should be glad he's not running for re-election,' said Karlyn Bowman, a public opinion analyst from the American Enterprise Institute. 'But the president is clearly holding his base. It's very important for him to keep the base support in terms of getting things done.'

Indeed, Republicans in Congress already are starting to fret about the 2006 election. If Bush's approval ratings sink lower, more of them may be unwilling to go along with his major initiatives for fear it could cause backlash for them with voters.

Bush's job approval in recent polls ranges from the low- to mid-40s. It was 42 percent in the latest AP-Ipsos poll. His ratings on everything from handling Iraq to the economy to Social Security and other domestic issues are at their lowest levels so far.

Reagan was at 57 percent at this stage of his presidency and Clinton was at 61 percent, according to Gallup polling at the time."
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