Bush Ratings Rise Despite Iraq Concerns, Vietnam Parallels Rejected

Source Organization: Pew Research Center

04/26/2004 - President Bush's approval ratings have improved over the month of April even as Americans continue to express strong concerns about Iraq and the way the president is handling that situation. The latest nationwide survey by the Pew Research Center finds 48% approving and 43% disapproving of Bush's overall job performance. This is slightly better than the 43% rating he received in early April, conducted in the days immediately following the murder and mutilation of American contractors in Falluja.

While the president's overall job scores are up, a slim plurality of Americans (48%) disapprove of the way he is dealing with Iraq, and just 36% think Bush has a clear plan for bringing the situation in Iraq to a successful conclusion. Nonetheless, these evaluations are no worse ­ and if anything slightly better ­ than they were in Pew's previous survey, conducted April 1-4.

Further, nearly a month of bad news of mounting casualties and growing instability in Iraq have not resulted in a sea change in opinions about Iraq policy. Most Americans continue to say the U.S. made the right decision to go to war (54% now, 57% in early April). Moreover, 53% favor keeping U.S. forces in Iraq until a stable government is established, compared with 40% who support withdrawing the troops as soon as possible. This measure also has changed little from early April (50%-44%).

While some recent nationwide polls have found many Americans expressing concern that Iraq might turn into another Vietnam, just 25% think that Iraq will turn out to be another Vietnam; a 54% majority believes that the U.S. will accomplish its goals there. There is a wide partisan disparity on this issue, as a 41% plurality of Democrats believe Iraq will become another Vietnam while Republicans overwhelmingly reject that idea (80%). But age is not a factor in these attitudes. Americans in the mid-40s and older ­ those who personally remember the Vietnam War ­ are no more likely to see parallels between Iraq and Vietnam than are younger people.

Read the full report Bush Ratings Rise Despite Iraq Concerns, Vietnam Parallels Rejected on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Web site.

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