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President Bush's Ratings Fall Sharply



President's Ratings Now 52% Positive, 46% Negative

Colin Powell Now the Only Cabinet Member or Political Leader with

Very High Ratings

ROCHESTER, N.Y., Feb. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The last two months have taken a heavy toll on the president's popularity, but a modest 52% to 46% majority still gives him positive ratings. Two months ago, almost two-thirds of all U.S. adults (64%) gave the president positive ratings and only just over a third (35%) gave him negative ratings.

Other members of President Bush's cabinet, as well as the parties in Congress and Congressional leaders, with one exception, have all seen a huge decline in their popularity since the very high numbers we recorded soon after September 11, 2001. The one exception is Secretary of State Colin Powell. He still enjoys an extraordinarily high degree of popularity, with 76% giving him positive ratings and only 21% giving him negative ratings. These numbers are fractionally better than they were in December 2002, perhaps because of his powerful recent testimony to the United Nations Security Council.

While none of the other leaders has seen as big declines since last December as President Bush has, their numbers, nonetheless, are all down very substantially since their peak soon after September 11, 2001.

Including results from the latest poll, we see the following declines in popularity since soon after September 11, 2001:

* President Bush down from 88% to 52%, a decline of 36 points.

* Secretary of State Colin Powell down from 88% to 76%, a decline of 12 points.

* Vice President Dick Cheney down from 69% to 45%, a decline of 24 points.

* Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld down from 78% to 56%, a decline of 22 points.

* Attorney General John Ashcroft down from 65% to 51%, a decline of 14 points.

* House Speaker Dennis Hastert down from 52% to 33%, a decline of 19 points.

* The Republicans in Congress down from 67% to 43%, a decline of 24 points.

* The Democrats in Congress down from 68% to 38%, a decline of 30 points.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll(R), a nationwide telephone survey conducted by Harris Interactive(R) among a sample of 1,010 adults, from February 12 to 16, 2003.

The Importance of Issues

In December only 18% of all adults spontaneously replied "the war" when asked to think of the most important issues for the government to address. This was far below the economy at 34% but ahead of all the other issues.

Now, fully 38% say that "the war" is one of the two most important issues for the government to address, virtually tied with the economy at 37%. Furthermore, the next two issues mentioned most frequently are terrorism (16%) and Iraq/Saddam Hussein (15%). Most other issues which were mentioned by substantial numbers of people have declined in importance: those saying education are down from 11% to 5%, those saying homeland domestic security are down from 9% to 6%, those saying employment/jobs are down from 8% to 5% and those saying health care are down from 10% to 8%.

These responses were not picked from any list. They are the unaided responses of those surveyed.

RATING DECLINES SINCE 9/11/01

POSITIVE RATINGS Soon December Now Change Change

After 2002 (February (December (9/11

9/11 2003) 2002 to to Now)

February

2003)

President

George Bush 88% 64% 52% -12 points -36 points

Secretary of State

Colin Powell 88% 74% 76% +2 points -12 points

Vice President

Dick Cheney 69% 50% 45% -5 points -24 points

Secretary of Defense

Ronald Rumsfeld 78% 59% 56% -3 points -22 points

Attorney General

John Ashcroft 65% 51% 51% 0 points -14 points

House Speaker

Dennis Hastert 52% 26% 33% +7 points -19 points

Republicans in

Congress 67% 47% 43% -4 points -24 points

Democrats in

Congress 68% 36% 38% +2 points -30 points

Senate Majority

Leader Bill Frist NA 31% 37% +6 points (NA)

Note: (NA) = Not Applicable

TABLE 1

PRESIDENT BUSH'S OVERALL JOB RATING

"How would you rate the job President George W. Bush is doing as president -

excellent, pretty good, only fair, or poor?"

Base: All adults

Positive* Negative**

2003 February % 52 46

2002 December % 64 35

November % 65 33

October % 64 35

September % 68 30

August % 63 37

July % 62 37

June % 70 28

May % 74 25

April % 75 23

March % 77 22

February % 79 20

January % 79 19

2001 December % 82 17

November % 86 12

October % 88 11

August % 52 43

July % 56 39

June % 50 46

May % 59 35

March % 49 38

February % 56 26

* Positive = excellent or good.

** Negative = only fair or poor.

TABLE 2

RATINGS OF DEMOCRATS IN CONGRESS - TREND

(Not Sure's Excluded) "And how do you rate the job Democrats in Congress are doing - excellent,

pretty good, only fair or poor?"

Base: All adults

TREND Positive Negative

2003 February % 38 54

2002 December % 36 55

November % 40 52

October % 40 52

September % 42 49

August % 38 54

July % 41 49

June % 45 46

May % 45 45

April % 47 42

March % 48 43

February % 49 41

January % 52 40

2001 October (high) % 68 24

May (low) % 40 51

2000 September (high) % 48 44

June (low) % 38 52

1999 October (low) % 42 50

January (high) % 50 47

1998 September (high) % 49 47

June (low) % 41 53

1997 June (low) % 36 60

February (high) % 43 54

1996 May (high) % 36 62

January (low) % 31 68

1995 November (high) % 34 64

July (low) % 30 66

1994 December % 28 70

TABLE 3

RATINGS OF REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS - TREND

(Not Sure's Excluded)

"And how do you rate the job Republicans in Congress are doing - excellent,

pretty good, only fair or poor?"

Base: All adults

TREND Positive Negative

2003 February % 43 49

2002 December % 47 47

November % 47 45

October % 46 45

September % 47 42

August % 41 49

July % 39 52

June % 46 45

May % 48 44

April % 49 39

March % 50 41

February % 50 40

January % 58 34

2001 October (high) % 67 24

August (low) % 37 52

2000 May (low) % 33 60

February (high) % 38 55

1999 October (low) % 32 58

September (high) % 39 55

1998 June (low) % 31 62

February (high) % 44 53

1997 June (low) % 31 67

February (high) % 38 58

1996 May (low) % 29 69

January (high) % 33 66

1995 November (low) % 35 63

April (high) % 42 56

TABLE 4

RATINGS OF DENNIS HASTERT - TREND

(Not Sure's Excluded)

"And how do you rate the job House Speaker Dennis Hastert is doing -

excellent, pretty good, only fair or poor?"

Base: All adults

TREND Positive Negative

2003 February % 33 34

2002 December % 26 33

November % 30 31

October % 30 29

September % 35 29

August % 29 35

July % 28 36

June % 34 31

May % 33 25

April % 32 26

March % 33 25

February % 37 25

January % 40 24

2001 October (high) % 52 16

August (low) % 27 29

2000 August (high) % 29 28

July (low) % 23 31

1999 October (low) % 25 34

April (high) % 36 39

TABLE 5

RATINGS OF VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY

(Not Sure's Excluded)

"And how do you rate the job Vice President Cheney is doing - excellent,

pretty good, only fair or poor?"

Base: All adults

TREND Positive Negative

2003 February % 45 44

2002 December % 50 37

November % 52 39

October % 54 37

September % 52 37

August % 45 43

July % 46 41

June % 55 34

May % 55 33

April % 55 31

March % 59 29

February % 57 31

January % 55 31

2001 October (high) % 69 20

July (low) % 39 52

TABLE 6

RATINGS OF SECRETARY OF STATE COLIN POWELL

(Not Sure's Excluded)

"And how do you rate the job Secretary of State Colin Powell is doing -

excellent, pretty good, only fair or poor?"

Base: All adults

TREND Positive Negative

2003 February % 76 21

2002 December % 74 21

November % 75 18

October % 75 20

September % 75 18

August % 75 19

July % 76 19

June % 79 16

May % 80 15

April % 80 14

March % 80 14

February % 79 15

January % 84 12

2001 December % 84 10

November % 83 12

October % 88 8

TABLE 7

RATINGS OF SECRETARY OF DEFENSE DONALD RUMSFELD

(Not Sure's Excluded) "And how do you rate the job Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is doing -

excellent, pretty good, only fair or poor?"

Base: All adults

TREND Positive Negative

2003 February % 56 35

2002 December % 59 30

November % 59 30

October % 60 30

September % 61 27

August % 60 29

July % 56 33

June % 65 24

May % 67 22

April % 70 18

March % 71 18

February % 70 17

January % 77 16

2001 December (low) % 75 14

October (high) % 78 12

TABLE 8

RATINGS OF ATTORNEY GENERAL JOHN ASHCROFT

(Not Sure's Excluded)

"And how do you rate the job Attorney General John Ashcroft is doing -

excellent, pretty good, only fair or poor?"

Base: All adults

TREND Positive Negative

2003 February % 51 37

2002 November % 51 33

November % 54 32

October % 53 32

September % 52 32

August % 53 34

July % 50 36

June % 52 33

May % 56 29

April % 61 24

March % 57 27

February % 59 26

January % 64 23

2001 December % 65 23

TABLE 9

MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES FOR GOVERNMENT

(Spontaneous, Unprompted Replies) "What do you think are the two most important issues for the government to

address?"

Base: All adults

`93 `94 `95 `96 `97 `98 `99 `00

Jan Feb Feb April May Jan Feb Aug

% % % % % % % %

The economy 26 12 7 14 8 9 7 5

(non-specific)

The war(3) -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

Terrorism(3) -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

Iraq/Saddam * * * * * * 1 --

Hussein

Education 10 6 10 14 15 14 21 25

Health care 31 45 25 16 10 11 12 15

(not Medicare)

Homeland/domestic

security/public

safety(3) -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

Employment/jobs 19 14 10 9 5 3 4 4

Taxes 7 6 12 11 14 16 12 13

Foreign policy 6 4 2 3 3 5 4 3

(non-specific)

National security(3) -- -- -- -- -- -- 2 2

Drugs 3 6 3 4 8 6 2 5

Environment 3 1 1 1 3 2 3 3

Social Security(1) x x x x 6 6 24 16

Homelessness(2) -- -- -- 3 4 4 3 3

Domestic/social issues

(non-specific) 10 4 4 4 2 3 2 2

Crime/violence 3 36 21 16 19 13 8 10

Peace/world

peace/nuclear arms 2 1 1 3 1 3 3 1

Middle East

peace process

between Palestinians

and Israel(3) -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

(Programs for)

the poor/poverty 7 8 10 2 3 2 2 3

Military/Defense x 2 1 1 2 2 2 4

Medicare(1) x x x 3 4 5 5 6

Immigration * * 2 2 2 1 * 1

Prescription drug prices -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

Ethics in government(3) * * * * * * * *

Programs for

the elderly

(not Medicare/Social

Security) 3 2 5 6 1 1 1 2

Corporate Scandals/Fraud X X X X X X X X

Welfare 2 7 16 13 14 8 4 2

Abortion 9 3 3 4 2 2 2 6

Human/civil/women's rights x 1 1 2 2 1 * 1

Federal budget

surplus/deficit 19 8 22 22 20 12 5 4

Race Relations(3) x x x x x 2 * 1

Issues

involving children X X X X 2 1 2 1

Gun control * 3 2 1 1 1 1 4

Family values (decline of) * * 2 2 2 1 2 1

Other(4) 5 8 7 7 8 19 2 19

Not sure/Refused/

No issue 5 8 7 7 9 12 16 18

'01 `01 `02 `02 `02 `02 `02 `03

Jun Dec Jan May Jul Sept Dec Feb

% % % % % % % %

The economy (non-specific) 13 32 32 17 33 28 34 37

The war(3) -- 12 8 4 4 14 18 38

Terrorism(3) -- 22 24 30 30 24 17 16

Iraq/Saddam Hussein -- -- -- -- -- 14 11 15

Education 20 12 15 11 8 7 11 5

Health care (not Medicare) 12 5 6 7 8 7 10 8

Homeland/domestic

security/public

safety(3) -- 8 4 5 7 3 9 6

Employment/jobs 3 7 7 3 4 4 8 5

Taxes 19 6 9 7 5 3 5 4

Foreign policy

(non-specific) 5 2 4 4 2 2 4 2

National security(3) 3 6 8 9 8 12 3 6

Drugs 4 2 2 2 2 3 3 2

Environment 8 1 2 2 2 2 3 1

Social Security(1) 8 3 4 4 4 3 2 1

Homelessness(2) 1 2 2 1 1 1 2 1

Domestic/social

issues (non-specific) 1 2 2 3 1 2 2 1

Crime/violence 6 1 2 3 5 2 2 *

Peace/world

peace/nuclear arms -- 2 1 1 3 2 2 3

Middle East

peace process

between Palestinians

and Israel(3) -- 2 1 6 1 2 2 1

(Programs for)

the poor/poverty 2 1 1 2 3 2 2 1

Military/Defense 3 4 2 2 1 2 1 2

Medicare(1) 4 1 1 1 1 2 1 2

Immigration 2 1 * 2 2 1 1 *

Prescription drug prices -- -- -- 1 1 X 1 1

Ethics in government(3) * 1 2 1 2 * 1 *

Programs for

the elderly (not

Medicare/Social Security) 2 1 1 2 1 1 1 1

Corporate X X X X X * 1 *

Scandals/Fraud

Welfare 2 1 1 2 2 1 1 1

Abortion 3 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

Human/civil/women's rights * 1 * 1 1 * 1 *

Federal budget 3 1 1 3 X X 1 3

surplus/deficit

Race Relations(3) * 1 1 1 * * * 1

Issues involving children 2 * 1 * 1 * * 1

Gun control 2 * * * 1 1 * *

Family values (decline of) 1 * 1 * * 1 * *

Other(4) 6 3 3 3 5 9 8 6

Not sure/Refused/No issue 13 11 11 22 11 16 10 4

* = Less than 0.5%.

X = Not mentioned as specific issue.

(1) Previously coded under "Programs for the elderly."

(2) Previously coded under "Programs for the poor."

(3) Previously coded as "Other."

(4) Including religion [lack of, decline of (1%)], and housing (1%)

Methodology

The Harris Poll(R) was conducted by telephone within the United States between February 12 and 16, 2003 among a nationwide cross section of 1,010 adults (ages 18+). Figures for age, sex, race, education, number of adults and number of voice/telephone lines in the household were weighted where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population.

In theory, with a probability sample of this size, one can say with 95 percent certainty that the results have a statistical precision of plus or minus 3 percentage points of what they would be if the entire adult population had been polled with complete accuracy. Unfortunately, there are several other possible sources of error in all polls or surveys that are probably more serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error. They include refusals to be interviewed (non-response), question wording and question order, interviewer bias, weighting by demographic control data and screening (e.g., for likely voters). It is impossible to quantify the errors that may result from these factors.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

About Harris Interactive(R)

Harris Interactive (http://www.harrisinteractive.com) is a worldwide market research and consulting firm best known for The Harris Poll(R), and for pioneering the Internet method to conduct scientifically accurate market research. Headquartered in Rochester, New York, U.S.A., Harris Interactive combines proprietary methodologies and technology with expertise in predictive, custom and strategic research. The Company conducts international research through wholly owned subsidiaries-London-based HI Europe (http://www.hieurope.com) and Tokyo-based Harris Interactive Japan-as well as through the Harris Interactive Global Network of local market-and opinion- research firms, and various U.S. offices.

To become a member of the Harris Poll Online(SM) and be invited to participate in future online surveys, visit http://www.harrispollonline.com.


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