Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Bush's Approval Rating Shows Unexpected Resiliency ; despite a Weak Stock Market and Corporate Scandals, President's Popularity Is Solid

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Bush's Approval Rating Shows Unexpected Resiliency ; despite a Weak Stock Market and Corporate Scandals, President's Popularity Is Solid

Article excerpt

Surprisingly, the slumping stock market and wave of corporate scandals have so far not taken a major toll on President Bush's approval ratings.

Even though the president has recently endured some of the toughest weeks of his administration - facing questions about his party's ties to corporate interests, and even about his own past business dealings - several recent polls show little or no change in his overall popularity.

Clear warning signs exist that the president's standing could be vulnerable in the future, particularly on the question of the economy, where his ratings have taken a noticeable dip. And most polls show Americans are increasingly pessimistic about the general direction of the country, an indicator analysts say often predicts the future path of other ratings, such as presidential approval.

For the most part, however, his popularity remains unusually strong, defying even what his own pollster predicted would be an inevitable drop from the high ratings in the wake of Sept. 11.

"He's pretty much hanging tough," says Raghavan Mayur, president of TIPP, a unit of TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, which conducts polls for The Christian Science Monitor.

"People have economic worries - they do think these accounting problems are common across the board in corporate America," he says. But so far, the vast majority of Americans "don't see a link to the president."

According to a new Monitor/TIPP poll, the president's leadership index - which combines job approval, leadership, and favorability - essentially stayed the same from mid-June to mid-July, hovering at around 70. These findings echo recently released polls by The New York Times and The Washington Post.

The firm support is all the more striking, says Mr. Mayur, because Mr. Bush's ratings had been slipping a few points each month since January, suggesting he may have plateaued. …

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