Wednesday, October 1, 2003

Bush's approval rate slipping in Kentucky

The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE - A new poll shows 65 percent of Kentuckians approve of the way President Bush is doing his job, a slight drop from early this year but still higher than national polls.

The results of the latest Bluegrass Poll, conducted by The Courier-Journal and published Tuesday, reflected a drop of 3 percentage points from February. Bush's approval rating in Kentucky was as high as 87 percent in March 2002 and was 77 percent in September 2002.

Recent national polls put the president's job-approval rating at about 50 percent, the lowest of his presidency. The Bluegrass Poll has traditionally found that Kentuckians give higher job ratings to presidents than the country as a whole.

The latest Bluegrass Poll was conducted from Sept. 19-24 among 801 adults. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

In the poll, 44 percent of respondents either somewhat disapproved or strongly disapproved of Bush's handling of the economy, while 51 percent somewhat approved or strongly approved.

The number of Kentuckians who feel the nation is "seriously off on the wrong track" has changed only 1 percentage point over the past seven months. Fifty-four percent feel that way now, compared with 53 percent in February. Now and in February, 38 percent of those polled said the country was "going in the right direction."

Those numbers reflected a considerable shift from March 2002, during the U.S. war in Afghanistan, when the right direction/wrong track percentages were nearly opposite what they are now.

On Iraq, 74 percent of the Kentuckians polled back the U.S. presence there. Nineteen percent were opposed, according to the poll. But a much larger percentage of men polled, 62 percent, strongly support having the U.S. in Iraq than do the percentage of women, 44 percent, the poll shows.

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