- Jul 31, 2005
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
WASHINGTON - Evangelicals, Republican women, Southerners and other critical groups in
President Bush's political coalition are worried about the direction the nation is headed and disappointed with his performance, an AP-Ipsos poll found.
That unease could be a troubling sign for a White House already struggling to keep the Republican Party base from slipping over Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, Gulf Coast spending projects, immigration and other issues.
"Politically, this is very serious for the president," said James Thurber, a political scientist at American University. "If the base of his party has lost faith, that could spell trouble for his policy agenda and for the party generally."
Only 28 percent say the country is headed in the right direction while two-thirds, 66 percent, say it is on the wrong track, the poll found.
"There is a growing, deep-seated discontentment and pessimism about the direction of the country," said Republican strategist Tony Fabrizio, who believes the reasons for their pessimism differ for those in one political party or another.
Among those most likely to have lost confidence about the nation's direction over the past year are white evangelicals, down 30 percentage points since November, Republican women, down 28 points, Southerners, down 26 points, and suburban men, down 20 points.
Bush's supporters are uneasy about issues such as federal deficits, immigration and his latest nomination for the Supreme Court. Social conservatives are concerned about his choice of Miers, a relatively unknown lawyer who has most recently served as White House counsel.
"Bush is trying to get more support generally from the American public by seeming more moderate and showing he's a strong leader at the same time he has a rebellion within his own party," Thurber said. "The far right is starting to be very open about their claim that he's not a real conservative."
The president's job approval is mired at the lowest level of his presidency — 39 percent. While four of five Republicans say they approve of Bush's job performance — enthusiasm in that support has dipped over the last year.
"We've lost focus on where we're supposed to be going and not able to respond to the crises that affect the people of this country," said David Ernest, a Republican from San Ramon, Calif., who is angry about the government's response to Hurricane Katrina. "We're mired in a Middle Eastern adventure and we've taken the focus off of our own country."
"I approve of what the president is doing, but it's a mixed decision," said Richard Saulinski, a Republican from Orland Park, Ill. "We should get out of Iraq. It seems like there's no light at the end of the tunnel. I just think we're dealing with a culture we don't really understand."
The poll of 1,000 adults was conducted by Ipsos, an international polling company, from Monday to Wednesday and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.