Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Six in Ten Americans Critical of Bush on Leaks

The Gallup Poll

We've got some new poll results from USA-Today/Gallup:

PRINCETON, NJ -- The latest USA Today/Gallup poll finds more than 6 in 10 Americans critical of President George W. Bush on the leak controversy. The more closely people are following the issue, the more likely they are to say he did something illegal rather than unethical. The poll also shows that 37% of Americans continue to approve of Bush's job performance, unchanged from last month. While that is a low rating -- and among the lowest of the Bush administration -- it represents no change in four Gallup polls conducted since the end of February.

The leak controversy erupted into the news last week, when a court filing revealed that Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, testified that he was authorized to leak classified information by President Bush through Cheney. The president has long been critical of administration officials who have leaked information, and there are still questions as to how this revelation might relate to the leaking of a former CIA operative's name. While most political and legal observers acknowledge that Bush's actions in authorizing the release of classified information were not illegal, there are political implications to the controversy.

The poll, conduced April 7-9, 2006, shows that just 25% of Americans are following the matter "very" closely, while another 39% are following the issue "somewhat" closely. Another 36% are not following the issue closely.

Now this is an interesting result. We've got 36 percent of Americans not following the intelligence leak controversy, while President Bush's popularity remains at 37 percent. You have to wonder if President Bush's neoconservative and Religious Right wing-nut base, which could make up for the 37 percent electorate, also refuses to acknowledge Bush's role in the leak controversy.

There are a number of other interesting details regarding this poll. Consider the role of party affiliation:

Views are highly correlated with party affiliation. Sixty-one percent of Republicans say Bush did nothing wrong, while only 18% of independents and 8% of Democrats agree. On the other hand, 30% of Republicans say Bush did something unethical or illegal, compared with 70% of independents and 85% of Democrats.

The Gallup Poll

The political views and how they relate to Bush's performance is still very partisan. Currently, 61 percent of Republicans still claim that Bush did nothing wrong, but the percentages have been slowly dropping over the past three years. Bush is also losing support of the independents, where only 18 percent say Bush has done nothing wrong. the constant exposure of scandals and corruption is taking its toll on President Bush. And with this latest revelations of President Bush authorizing the leaking of specific NIE details to the press, this could further erode Bush's support as the Republicans are trying to maintain control of Congress during this year's midterm elections. At this point, the Republicans control Congress, and the congressional committees needed to initiate any investigations into the Bush White House scandals. What will happen to President Bush's poll numbers, if the Democrats take control of Congress and start up these investigations into the White House?

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