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Poll Finds Public of Two Minds on Economy

Do you approve or disapprove of the way George Bush is handling the economy?
NPR
Do you approve or disapprove of the way George Bush is handling the economy?
Would you describe the state of the nation's economy these days as excellent, good, not so good or poor?
/ NPR
/
NPR
Would you describe the state of the nation's economy these days as excellent, good, not so good or poor?
Now after hearing all those indicators about the state of the current economy, which group of indicators tells a better story about the economy in general? Your economic situation?
/ NPR
/
NPR
Now after hearing all those indicators about the state of the current economy, which group of indicators tells a better story about the economy in general? Your economic situation?

While the news is dominated by deadly bombings and Supreme Court politics, Morning Edition decided to look ahead -- way ahead -- to the 2006 elections for Congress.

We asked our two pollsters, Democrat Stan Greenberg and Republican Glen Bolger, to take a look at how the economy was perceived by likely voters; and how those perceptions may affect fortunes at the ballot box 15 months from now.

The survey shows that a majority of likely voters are unhappy with the economy. Only 43 percent of respondents approved of the way President Bush was handling the economy; 53 percent disapproved.

Yet when asked about their personal economic well being, respondents were more postive.

"We asked them, 'How about your economic situation?' and the numbers virtually flipped," Bolger said.

The survey also asked respondents to rate the political parties overall. Our pollsters asked voters to rate their feelings on a thermometer; with one meaning cold and unfavorable, 100 meaning very warm and favorable.

The Democratic Party scored slighty lower than the Republican Party, and several points lower than President Bush.

"The fact is, the Democrats are viewed less favorably right now, at a time when Republicans aren't very popular, when the president's not very popular," pollster Greenberg said.

He called any Democratic advantage derived from the perception of a weak economy "theoretical."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mara Liasson is a national political correspondent for NPR. Her reports can be heard regularly on NPR's award-winning newsmagazine programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Liasson provides extensive coverage of politics and policy from Washington, DC — focusing on the White House and Congress — and also reports on political trends beyond the Beltway.