The Associated Press/Ipsos Poll: Bush Re-election Support Stabilizes

News On Economy, Medicare Bill Passage And Bush Visit With Iraq Troops Stabilize Bush Re-election Support

The Associated Press/Ipsos Poll: Bush Re-election Support Stabilizes

Washington, D.C. -- Since the last national Ipsos poll, conducted the week before Thanksgiving, there have been three big news stories that have had the net effect of stabilizing definite support for the re-election of President Bush, according to a poll for The Associated Press conducted by Ipsos-Public Affairs. In this inaugural AP/Ipsos Poll there are also signs that Democratic opposition is coalescing against Bush and, especially, the direction Bush is leading the country. The Associated Press Poll was conducted by Ipsos-Public Affairs between December 1-3, 2003, with 1,001 adults nationwide (margin of error of +/-3.1%). Political questions were asked only of registered voters (765 adults and a margin of error of +/-3.6%). The Economy The economy is an unmixed good news story that helps Bush. Fewer have negative feelings about the current local economy than at any time since the shadow of 9/11, according to the AP/Ipsos Poll. People in the AP/Ipsos Poll are as optimistic about the direction of the local economy as they have been in two years. Respondents also feel a little better than they did a year ago about their progress in being able to make major purchases and other purchases--good news for retailers as the holiday shopping season opens. In the AP/Ipsos poll, respondents prove especially confident about job security and the ability to save and invest in the future--two key indicators of deep-seated financial security that have proven historically to be the foundation of consumer confidence that leads to economic growth. The Bush Thanksgiving Visit To Troops In Iraq The situation in Iraq -- with Bush's telegenic Thankgiving visit to the troops balanced against a month with more American casualties than any month this year (including the months last Spring of major military actions) -- gets mixed reviews. Young people in particular are less likely than others to approve of Bush's handling of foreign policy and the war on terrorism, and that spills over into low approval ratings overall and on his handling of the economy from 18-to-29-year old voters. Legislative Victory on Medicare Bill The legislative situation -- passage of the Medicare Bill -- is giving Bush much less of a bump. In fact, older voters age 50+ are less likely than younger voters under age 30 to approve of Bush's handling of non-economic domestic responsibilities like health care and other issues, even though older voters are in every other measure more positive toward Bush than the youngest voters. Bush Re-Election Standing Overall, Bush has solidified his position, recovering from slippage on his reelection score from what it was a year ago, back when voters were 15 points more likely to say they'd definitely vote for Bush (44%) rather than definitely not support Bush (29%). Through the summer, that number fell from a double-digit Bush advantage in early June to a lead in the 5-point to 12-point range through the rest of the summer, then a range of 0 to 7 points throughout the fall. It is at the higher end of that range (+5 points, 41% definitely re-elect to 36% definitely vote for someone else) today. The shape of Bush support looks like a lopsided Liberty Bell. He is extremely weak among the youngest voters, strong with voters in their 30s and 40s, weaker among older voters. Bush is strongest in the Midwest and West, especially the Great Plains and Mountain states, weakest in the Northeast and on the Pacific Coast -- and quite weak in the South (although in the Oil Patch states of the South, Bush does well on his own re-elect, Republicans do not do well on Congressional party preference in the Oil Patch). There is a strong economic class pattern to responses, with the vote split among those in the middle-income ranges The only hint of bad news for Bush: Opposition is coalescing. Throughout 2002-2003, Republicans have been more monolithic in their support of Bush, Democrats not quite so unified in opposition. Now there are cracks in the monolith and unified opposition (on whether the country is headed in the right direction, Democratic women are far more negative than Republican women are positive, for example). There has also been some rallying of Democrats behind their leaders. In the Democratic primary/caucus poll roll-up, several candidates tie or outpoint "Other/None/Not sure." In September and before that, "Other/None/Not sure" generally out-pointed every live candidate in the race. For more information on this, please contact: Thomas Riehle President, Ipsos Public Affairs Washington, D.C. 202.463.7300 About Ipsos Public Affairs Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, public affairs company made up of veteran campaign and political polling veterans as well as seasoned research professionals. The company conducts strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of Canadian, American, and international organizations based not only on public opinion research, but often elite stakeholder, corporate and media opinion research. Ipsos Public Affairs also conducts national and international public opinion polling on behalf of the The Associated Press, the world's oldest and largest news organization. Ipsos Public Affairs is a member of the Ipsos Group, a leading global survey-based research firm. About Ipsos Ipsos is a leading global survey-based market research group, with revenues of 538.5 million euros in 2002. It offers a full suite of research services, guided by industry experts and bolstered by advanced analytics and methodologies in advertising, marketing, public opinion and customer loyalty research, as well as forecasting and modeling. Member companies also offer a full line of custom, syndicated, omnibus, panel, and online research products and services. To learn more, visit: www.ipsos.com Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris Premier Marchй, and is part of the SBF 120 and Next Prime Indices as well as eligible to the Deferred Settlement System (SRD). Euroclear code 7329, Reuters ISOS.LN, Bloomberg IPS FP

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