Poll suggests public support drops for Bush on energy
WASHINGTON (AP) – Disapproval of President Bush’s handling of the nation’s energy problems has increased by 15 percentage points in the weeks since he announced his energy plan in mid-April, according to a poll released Monday.
The number who disapprove of his handling of the energy situation has increased from 43 percent to 58 percent in the poll by ABC News and The Washington Post, while fewer Americans reported they lacked an opinion about his energy policy. Support for the president on energy was relatively unchanged at almost four in 10.
Officials in the Bush administration have emphasized both energy production and conservation, but some critics say the plans focus too heavily on production and not enough on conservation.
Bush spokeswoman Claire Buchan responded: ”The president doesn’t govern based on polls, he governs based on what he believes is the right thing to do for the country.”
”America is facing a very serious energy problem, and the administration has proposed a very comprehensive energy policy that includes conservation measures, initiatives to increase renewable sources of energy and also to increase America’s energy security and decrease reliance on foreign sources of energy,” Buchan said.
The poll found a country inclined toward wanting more compromise between the two parties.
Two-thirds of Americans said Bush should focus more on compromising with the Democrats than pushing his own agenda, according to the ABC-Washington Post poll. Almost that many, 63 percent, think Bush has tried harder to push his own agenda than he has to compromise with Democrats.
Americans were about evenly divided on whose leadership they prefer, Bush or the Democrats. In mid-April they preferred Bush’s leadership by 10 points.
Those in the poll said by a 2-1 margin – 41 percent to 20 percent – the recent changes that gave Democrats control of the Senate are good for the country.
Public preference for Bush or the Democrats was mixed on top issues. Bush had a 7-point advantage over the Democrats on whom they trust on tax cuts and international affairs, and they were essentially even on education and the economy.
Democrats had a double-digit advantage on public trust concerning issues such as the environment, energy, patients’ rights and Social Security.
Bush’s overall job approval was down slightly – from 63 percent to 55 percent. Six in 10 had a favorable impression of Bush as a person, no change since April.
The poll of 1,004 adults was taken May 31 through Sunday and has an error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
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