WASHINGTON — Public approval of the job President Bush is doing now matches its all-time low, an AP-Ipsos poll says. The survey, released Thursday, reflects widespread discontent over how Bush is handling the war in Iraq, efforts against terrorism and domestic issues. It also underscores challenges Republican presidential and congressional candidates will confront next year when they face voters who seem to be clamoring for change.
Only 32 percent said they were satisfied with how Bush is handling his job overall, the same low point AP-Ipsos polling measured last January and a drop of 3 percentage points since May.
Bush still wins approval from seven in 10 Republicans, though that is near his historic low for GOP support of 67 percent in January. Only a quarter of those initially identifying themselves as independents expressed satisfaction with the president, about equaling his low with them reached in February. Eight percent of Democrats gave him their approval.
On issue after issue, approval of Bush's efforts matched previous all-time lows in the survey.
Twenty-eight percent were satisfied with his handling of the war in Iraq, down 5 percentage points in a month. Two in three Republicans said they approved.
Only a third overall approved of how Bush is handling domestic issues like health care, with the same proportion expressing satisfaction with his job on foreign policy and the war on terror. And 37 percent said they approved of his handling of the economy. Support in all categories dropped slightly since May.
In another indication of the public's bleak mood, only 21 percent said they believe things in the U.S. are heading in the right direction, the worst mark since the AP-Ipsos poll began in December 2003.
Women, older people, and those with low incomes were especially discontent. Only three in 10 conservatives and similar numbers of white evangelicals _ usually strong GOP supporters _ expressed satisfaction with the country's direction.
The poll involved telephone interviews with 1,000 randomly chosen adults from June 4 to 6. It had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
AP Manager of News Surveys Trevor Tompson and AP News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this report.