WASHINGTON – President Bush’s approval rating has surged in the wake of last week’s elections in Iraq, reversing what had been an extended period of decline, with Americans now expressing renewed optimism about the future of democracy in Iraq, the campaign against terrorism, and the U.S. economy, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News Poll.
Bush’s overall approval rating rose to 47 percent, up from 39 percent in early November, with 52 percent saying they disapprove of how he is handling his job.
His approval rating on Iraq jumped 10 percentage points since early November to 46 percent, while his rating on the economy rose 11 percentage points to 47 percent.
A clear majority, 56 percent, said they approve of the way Bush is handling the fight against terrorism – a traditional strong point in his reputation that nonetheless had flagged to 48 percent in the November poll.
The marked improvement in Bush’s fortunes comes after months of erosion in the president’s political standing that tracked a series of problems afflicting his administration. The most significant was the continuing violence and mounting U.S. casualties in Iraq, but high gasoline prices and the federal government’s slow response to Hurricane Katrina also caused increasing numbers of Americans to register doubts about Bush’s leadership.
The Post-ABC News poll suggests that the massive turnout in last week’s elections in Iraq, coupled with a White House public relations offensive that saw the president deliver five speeches and hold a news conference in 19 days, have delivered a substantial year-end dividend to a president badly in need of good news.