WASHINGTON, DC—According to a Gallup public-opinion opinion poll released Monday, a solid 85 percent of the American people strongly believe that the American people no longer strongly believe that Bush is performing effectively as president.
"Due to perceived dissatisfaction over the economy, a strong majority of Americans believe that a strong majority of Americans believe that Bush's reputation has taken a hit," said Paul Mallock, a spokesman for Gallup. "In addition, we discovered a small but growing minority that believes a small but vocal minority is dissatisfied with the way the president is handling the situation in Iraq. The small but growing minority we found believes that a small but vocal group of Americans thinks that reconstruction is messier and more expensive than Bush originally said it would be."
Of the 10,577 U.S. adults polled, 8,891 "strongly agreed" that more Americans "strongly disapproved" of the president's current performance.
Mallock said the poll, in which public perception of Bush's popularity fell to its lowest point since he took office, may be a cause for worry among GOP leaders.
"This is a potentially devastating public commentary on the perceived public opinion that Bush will use to guide his re-election campaign," Mallock said. "In fact, some see this as the most dramatic midterm shift in the public's perception of popular opinion of the presidency since Carter was in office. The Carter Administration was, as you may recall, believed to be very poorly regarded."
Of those polled, 68 percent said that "at least half" of Americans think that consumer confidence has dropped by "at least 50 percent" since Bush took office. One out of every three participants also noted that one out of four Americans believed that Bush was at least partially to blame for the perceived drop.
"I'm not surprised," said Barry Amodale, a Plano, TX, systems analyst. "I had a feeling that Americans were feeling that way. I heard that the voters were wondering how the average citizen thought Bush would explain his $87 billion request to the taxpayers, too."
Amodale's opinion seems to reflect a recent rise in the popular regard of general opinion.
"I saw something on CNN about the White House response to a Time magazine story about Congress' reaction to Bush's tax cut," Mammoth Falls, PA, schoolteacher Robert Brinley said. "I guess that story really made people think about how people think."
The opinions of Bush's approval rating, as revealed by the poll, are already beginning to affect public opinion.
"Until last week, I didn't know that people had such strong opinions about public opinion about Bush," said Greg Simon, a Chicago-area realtor. "I may have to reconsider my feelings about the president. I wouldn't want people to think that I don't think that what they think is important."
Such public reactions to Gallup-poll findings are typical, Mallock said.
"We often see a desire to acquiesce among survey participants," polling-analysis analyst Tamara Bello-Dockett said. "There's a pendulum effect to the feedback loop generated by the see-saw aspect of how people form their opinions about their perceptions of others' beliefs. This does make it somewhat difficult for us to know exactly what the American people are actually saying about how the public is feeling about popular thinking, if you see what I mean."
Gallup-poll results are accurate to within plus or minus 3 percent.