-- As Senators and Representatives returned to Washington this week for the start of the 109th Congress, half (53%) of Americans voice disapproval of the way Congress does its work. Nearly one in five (18%) strongly disapprove. Four in ten (41%) approve of the way Congress handles its job.
By party, Republican registered voters (61%) -- and especially Republican women registered voters (66%) -- approve of the job the Republican-controlled Congress has been doing. By contrast, registered Democratic voters (68%) and a plurality of registered Independents (49%) disapprove.
People under 30 tend to approve of Congress (52%), while people age 50-64 (61%) and seniors 65 and over (62%) disapprove of the job their representatives are doing. Men (58% disapprove) are harsher critics of Congress than women (48%), and men who are college graduates (65%) and live in the suburbs (63%) are especially disparaging.
What stands out in these assessments of Congressional approval is how soft opinion is. Barely one in four either "strongly approve" (8%) or "strongly disapprove" (18%) of the job Congress is doing.
As Inauguration Nears, Public Divides On Bush's Performance
In contrast to their views of Congress, a majority of Americans hold strong views of how President Bush is handling his job. Overall, as many approve (49%) as disapprove (49%) of Bush's performance. Moreover, over half the public either "strongly approves" (27%) or "strongly disapproves" (30%) of Bush's handling of the Presidency.
As usual, one of the strongest links is with partisanship: most Republican voters approve of Bush's job as President (89% approve; 58% strongly), and most Democratic voters disapprove (82%; 54% strongly).
People under 30 disapprove (57%) of Bush's performance, whereas people in their thirties (55%) and forties (54%) tend to approve. Whites (53%) are favorable, non-whites are not (65% disapprove). College graduates (56%) disapprove of Bush's performance, while people with some college background approve (56%). Married men (56%) and married women (54%) approve of Bush's job in office, while six in ten single women disapprove (62%).
Views Divided On Bush's Foreign Policy, Negative Toward Iraq And Domestic Policy
Bush gains as much approval (50%) as disapproval (48%) for his handling of foreign policy. On other issues, Bush's ratings lag. Slightly more disapprove (51%) than approve (47%) of his handling of the economy. Solid majorities disapprove of Bush's handling of the situation in Iraq (54%) and domestic issues (56%). Four in ten Americans (39%) "strongly disapprove" of Bush's handling of Iraq (24% strongly approve). Likewise, on domestic issues, nearly twice as many "strongly disapprove" (33%) as "strongly approve" (18%) of the job Bush is doing.
The Associated Press Poll is conducted by Ipsos-Public Affairs. Between January 3-5, 2005, the AP-Ipsos poll interviewed a representative sample of 1,001 adults nationwide, including 836 registered voters. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 for all adults and +/- 3.4 for registered voters. Margin of error for subgroups may be higher.
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