Sunday, January 18, 2004

One Poll, Many Stories

Here's the lead of CBS's coverage of its CBS/NYT poll:

Poll: Bush's Approval Sinking

Jan. 17, 2004

Overall, most Americans say things in the country are worse now than they were five years ago. Fifty-seven percent say things are worse, while 21% say they're better.

(CBS) After rising in public support following the capture of Saddam Hussein, the President gives his State of the Union message next week with a decidedly less positive audience. His approval rating of 50% matches his lowest approval ratings ever, and the largest number ever – 45% - disapprove.

Here's how even the genocide-advocating cult leader owned Moonie UPI reported it:

Times/CBS poll show Bush ratings down
NEW YORK, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Democratic voters held a 2 point edge over those who would vote for President Bush if the U.S. election were held now, a CBS/New York Times poll said.

The poll published Saturday found that 45 percent of voters said they would vote for a still unspecified Democratic candidate and 43 percent would vote for President Bush.

Late last month, the president held a 49 percent to 40 percent edge. The standing now is similar to what it was in November 2003, before the capture of Saddam Hussein.

Here's how even the liberal New York Times reported it:

Poll Bolsters Bush on Terrorism but Finds Doubts on Economy
President Bush begins his campaign year with Americans voicing strong support for his handling of the war against terrorism, but many doubting his economic and domestic policies, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

Fewer than one in five people said their tax burden had been eased by Mr. Bush, who has made tax cuts the centerpiece of his economic program. His latest domestic initiatives, unveiled in the run-up to the State of the Union message on Tuesday, got only a lukewarm response, with 58 percent saying that building a permanent space station on the Moon was not worth the risks and costs.

Moreover, the support Mr. Bush gained after the capture of Saddam Hussein last month has largely dissipated. His overall approval rating now stands at 50 percent, comparable to President Bill Clinton's 47 percent in January 1996. Mr. Bush remains a polarizing figure in a sharply divided country, with 9 in 10 Republicans approving of his performance, and only 1 in 4 of the Democrats.

Despite those vulnerabilities, which the Democratic presidential candidates are busily trying to exploit, Mr. Bush retains a powerful advantage on national security. Sixty-eight percent, including majorities of both Democrats and independents, gave him high marks for the campaign against terrorism, and 68 percent said the Bush administration's policies have made the United States safer from terrorist attacks. Sixty-four percent said they considered him a strong leader.