October 7, 2008

PRINCETON, NJ — President Bush’s job approval rating is at 25% in the latest Oct. 3-5 Gallup Poll, the lowest of the Bush administration, and only three percentage points above the lowest presidential approval rating in Gallup Poll history.

Bush’s previous low point was 27%, measured about a week ago. The 25% approval rating is one point higher than Richard Nixon’s lowest job approval rating of 24% measured in the summer of 1974, and it is just three points higher than Harry Truman’s all-time Gallup low job approval rating of 22% measured in 1952. No other presidents have had job approval ratings of 27% or lower in Gallup Poll history.

George W. Bush's Job Approval Ratings Trend (2001-Present)

George W. Bush's Presidential Job Approval Ratings, 2008

The current poll recording Bush’s low job approval rating was conducted after Congress passed the economic rescue bill on Oct. 3. Americans recognize the economy as the nation’s top problem, but apparently, the passage of this bill — which the Bush administration had heavily advocated — did nothing to affect Bush’s approval ratings. Indeed, only 55% of members of Bush’s own party approve of him in the poll, perhaps a reflection of some pushback from conservatives who do not strongly support the economic bill. Nineteen percent of independents and 5% of Democrats approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president.

Americans’ Satisfaction at All-Time Low of 9%

PRINCETON, NJ — Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain are set to meet for the second presidential debate in Nashville Tuesday night at a time when only 9% of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in the United States — the lowest such reading in Gallup Poll history.

In general, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States at this time?

The previous low point for Gallup’s measure of satisfaction had been 12%, recorded back in 1979, in the midst of rising prices and gas shortages when Jimmy Carter was president. Gallup has recorded a 14% satisfaction level at several points — once in the senior Bush’s administration in 1992, and several times earlier this year.

The reason for Americans’ extraordinarily low level of satisfaction is straightforward: the economy. Asked in the weekend Gallup Poll to name the most important problem facing the country today, almost 7 in 10 Americans mentioned some aspect of the economy, far ahead of any other problem mentioned.

In general, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States at this time?

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,011 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Oct. 3-5, 2008. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones (for respondents with a landline telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell phone only).

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

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