Thursday, November 02, 2006


Still bouncing.

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1 — A substantial majority of Americans expect Democrats to reduce or end American military involvement in Iraq if they win control of Congress next Tuesday and say Republicans will maintain or increase troop levels to try to win the war if they hold on to power on Capitol Hill, according to the final New York Times/CBS News poll before the midterm election.

The poll showed that 29 percent of Americans approve of the way President Bush is managing the war, matching the lowest mark of his presidency. Nearly 70 percent said Mr. Bush did not have a plan to end the war, and 80 percent said Mr. Bush’s latest effort to rally public support for the conflict amounted to a change in language but not policy.

The poll underlined the extent to which the war has framed the midterm elections. Americans cited Iraq as the most important issue affecting their vote, and majorities of Republicans and Democrats said they wanted a change in approach. Twenty percent said they thought the United States was winning in Iraq, down from a high this year of 36 percent in January.


Among registered voters, 33 percent said they planned to support Republicans, and 52 percent said they would vote for Democrats.


Mr. Bush’s overall approval rating was 34 percent, unchanged from a poll three weeks ago, an anemic rating that explains why many Democrats are featuring him in their final advertisements, as well as why some Republican incumbents do not want him at their side.

That approval rating is 9 points below where former President Bill Clinton’s was in October 1994 — the election in which Republicans surprised Democrats by taking control of the House — and 28 points below where Mr. Bush’s approval rating was on the eve of the 2002 midterms.