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AP Poll: Bush Public Approval at New Low

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WASHINGTON — Public approval of President Bush has dipped to a new low in the Associated Press-Ipsos poll, driven by dissatisfaction with his handling of the economy.

A survey released Thursday showed 28 percent approve of the overall job Bush is doing. That was statistically tied with his previous low in the poll of 30 percent last month and in February.

Only 27 percent are happy with his job on the economy, which threatens to enter a recession and which many national surveys show is voters' top worry. That was worse than his previous low of 29 percent approval for handling the economy set in February, and down 4 percentage points from last month.

Congress was rated positively by 23 percent, a point above its worst mark. It has been mired in poor ratings since last summer, with many Democrats complaining it has not challenged Bush strenuously enough on Iraq and other issues and Republicans generally unhappy with its Democratic leaders.

Highlighting Bush's broad unpopularity, 60 percent of Republicans approved of his overall job, his weakest showing yet with members of his own party. Just 7 percent of Democrats and 17 percent of independents approve.

On the economy, 54 percent of Republicans approve of Bush's efforts, another low.

His approval by all adults for handling domestic matters like health care fell 7 points to 27 percent, his steepest drop this month. His ratings for dealing with Iraq and other foreign policy issues were low but stable.

Overall, 24 percent said the country is heading in the right direction, about the same gloomy assessment the public has had for months.

The AP-Ipsos poll began in December 2003. The all-time low presidential approval in the Gallup Poll was President Truman's 23 percent in 1952 during the Korean War.

The AP-Ipsos poll was taken from April 7-9 and involved telephone interviews with 1,005 adults. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

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AP Director of Surveys Trevor Tompson and AP News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this report.

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http://www.ap-ipsosresults.com

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