Public confidence in Bush slips, poll finds

October 03, 2003|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

The public's confidence in President Bush's ability to deal wisely with an international crisis has slid sharply over the past five months, and a clear majority is uneasy about his ability to make the right decisions on the nation's economy, the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll has found.

Overall, the poll found, Americans are for the first time more critical than not of the president's ability to handle both foreign and domestic problems, and a majority says he does not share their priorities.

A solid majority of Americans says the country is seriously on the wrong track, and only about half approve of Bush's overall job performance. That is about the same as when Bush took office after the tight 2000 election.

But more than six in 10 Americans say he has strong leadership qualities; more than five in 10 say he has more honesty and integrity than most people in public life; and a majority credits him with making the country safer from terrorists.

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