Monday, January 30


Bad, bad news for Bush on the eve of his State of the Union address.

Bush's approvals haven't moved an inch since the last NBC/WSJ poll and remain at 39%. Only 25 percent say they want to see Bush take the lead role in setting policy for the country, while 49 percent say they prefer Congress.

“He’s off track,” says Hart, who wonders if Bush will use his State of the Union address to strike a more conciliatory tone with his political opponents. “If it is ‘our way or the highway,’ it will be a very long year for the president.”
Yet one of the big things that the American people want accomplished is something that Bush — as of now — isn’t prepared to do: bring U.S. troops home from Iraq. Asked which goal they’d pick if America could achieve just one thing in the coming year, 35 percent said they’d choose bringing most of the American forces home from Iraq; 20 percent cited dealing with the cost of health care and coverage for the uninsured; 17 percent said stimulating the economy and job growth; and 11 percent said simplifying the Medicare prescription-drug benefit for seniors. Only 7 percent chose reducing taxes as their No. 1 goal.

In another sign that Americans want to bring the soldiers home, the poll shows that 66 percent want to reduce the number of U.S. troops. Yet just 28 percent want to maintain the current troop level — down from 35 percent in December. McInturff explains that Republicans and others expected the largely successful Iraqi election in December would help justify the administration’s stay-the-course Iraq strategy with the public. “It may have done just the opposite,” he says.

Here's a sampling of the other results:

"Which party do you think is more influenced by special interests and lobbyists - the Democratic Party or the Republican Party?"
* Asked of one-half the respondents
1/06* 1/01 6/98 9/97
Democratic Party 22 26 28 30
Republican Party 36 27 30 29
Both equally (Vol) 33 35 28 30
Not sure 9 12 14 11

While 51% of respondents approve of Bush's warrantless wiretapping program (46% disapprove and 3% aren't sure), a significant majority is concerned that it could be misused:

"How concerned are you that the Bush administration's use of these kinds of wiretaps could be misused to violate people's privacy--extremely concerned, quite concerned, not really concerned, or not concerned at all?"
Extremely concerned 31
Quite concerned 25
Not really concerned 22
Not concerned at all 21
Not sure 1

I'm taking bets on what kind of bounce in the polls Bush will get from his SOTU address. And I've staked out -1%.

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