In addition to the president’s falling job approval rating — 40 percent — the new Gallup poll has several other measures of bad news for the president. First, Gallup asked whether respondents approved or disapproved of Bush’s handling of particular policy areas — Iraq, the economy, etc. Bush’s handling of Hurricane Katrina was his highest rating — 41 percent. His handling of foreign affairs got a 38 percent approval rating, the economy 35 percent, and the situation in Iraq 32 percent.
Also, the number of people who say that Bush is honest and trustworthy has fallen to 47 percent — the first time ever below 50 percent. The number who say he is a strong and decisive leader is 49 percent — again, the first time below 50 percent. Both areas have been traditional strong points for the president.
And just to show what a foul mood the public appears to be in, Gallup asked respondents, “Just your best guess, do you think George W. Bush has taken steps to help victims of Hurricane Katrina — mostly because he sincerely cares about the victims, or mostly for political reasons?” Fifty-six percent said Bush acted mostly for political reasons, while 42 percent said he sincerely cares about the victims. That’s pretty grim.