Approval of Bush, GOP improving, poll shows

September 21, 2006|By Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON -- President Bush's approval rating has reached its highest level since January, helping to boost the Republican Party's image across a range of domestic and national security issues just seven weeks before this year's midterm election, a new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg Poll has found.

While the survey spotlights an array of Republican vulnerabilities, it also offers the first evidence in months that the GOP might be gaining momentum in the battle for control of Congress.

Democrats hold a lead in the poll, 49 percent to 39 percent, when registered voters are asked which party they intend to support for Congress this year. But that advantage could rest on softening ground - on virtually every comparison between the parties measured in the survey, Republicans have improved their position since the summer.

In particular, Republicans have nearly doubled their lead when voters are asked which party they trust most to protect the nation against terrorism - the thrust of Bush's public relations blitz in recent weeks.

"I believe he has made the country more secure," said R.C. Cox, a police officer from North Little Rock, Ark., who responded to the survey and categorized himself as a political independent. "President Bush has stuck with a non-popular plan throughout this and he has been relentless in what he has done."

The shift hasn't dispelled all of the GOP's problems. Along with a plurality of voters saying they want Democrats to control Congress, most say they disapprove of Bush's overall job performance. And the percentage of voters who say they believe their own member of Congress deserves re-election is lower than in the weeks before a 1994 Republican landslide overturned Democratic majorities in the House and Senate.

Los Angeles Times.

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