That sinking feeling

George Bush's approval numbers have now hit 40 percent, a historical low in the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal survey:


Bush's approval rating has declined to its lowest level in his presidency. So has his handling of the situation in Iraq. Moreover, fewer than half those surveyed approve of the way in which Bush has dealt with the hurricane, and a whopping three-fourths believe the United States is not prepared for a nuclear, biological or chemical attack. ...
According to the poll, Bush’s job approval has plummeted to 40 percent, an all-time low for the president. That’s a drop of 6 points from the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll taken in July, and it’s consistent with results from other recent national surveys. The poll also finds that just 37 percent of respondents approve of Bush’s job handling Iraq, compared with 58 percent who disapprove — another all-time low. In addition, 55 percent want to reduce the number of troops in Iraq, while just 36 percent want to maintain the current level there. [LINK]
As Dem pollster Peter Hart suggests, that Iraq number is especially painful considering "there hasn’t been a single piece of news on Iraq on the front page."

The poll also offers clear evidence that Bush's second term agenda might be under water (pun intended) as well:
When asked to choose between rebuilding Iraq and establishing a democratic government there or rebuilding New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, 60 percent of respondents said New Orleans is the greater priority, while just 5 percent mentioned Iraq. Thirty-four percent said both are equally important.
On a somewhat similar note, 45 percent believe that reducing spending on the Iraq war is one or two actions that should be taken to pay for the Katrina relief efforts. That’s followed by 27 percent who want to repeal tax cuts, 12 percent who want to cut federal spending in other areas (such as education), 8 percent who want to increase the deficit and 7 percent who want to raise income taxes.

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