Bush Blamed for Economic Ills

Just how bad does the public believe the economy is performing? And just how unhappy are Americans with President Bush’s handling of the economy?

A new Pew poll finds a substantial shift in the number of Americans who say their income is falling behind the cost of living. Last September, the number who believed they were staying even with the cost of living (43 percent) was about the same as the number saying they were falling behind (44 percent). Today, those saying they are falling behind (58 percent) outnumber those who say they are staying even (33 percent) by a 25 point margin. A mere 6 percent believe their income is actually rising faster than the cost of living.

Not surprisingly, the latest Gallup poll found Bush’s approval rating on the economy at a very low 27 percent, a 14 point fall from a year ago. His net job approval rating (approval minus disapproval) on the economy is now an abysmal -44 percent. But it’s not just on the economy where the public gives Bush a negative net approval rating. As the chart below shows, he now has that distinction in all the other areas Gallup asked about as well: immigration (-47); healthcare policy (-45); energy policy (-39); the situation in Iraq (-35); foreign affairs (-30); and terrorism (-2).

These data tell us that, as far the public is concerned, the Bush administration has no areas of strength left, only areas where they are less weak. As the economy continues to head south, don’t be surprised if these negative ratings become even worse.

Ruy Teixeira is a Joint Fellow at the Center for American Progress and The Century Foundation. To speak with him please contact:

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