Bush job approval takes ratings dip

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

WASHINGTON -- President Bush's job approval ratings dipped into the 60s this week, dragged down by worries about the stock market and the economy after nearly a year of sky-high post-Sept. 11 ratings.

A bit of a fade was inevitable, analysts said. "One way to put it is that the law of gravity wasn't repealed," said political scientist David Rohde of Michigan State University.

Bush's ratings had hovered just above 70 percent in most polls for the past few months. Now a Newsweek poll shows his job approval at 65 percent. He's at 67 percent in an Ipsos-Reid poll done for the Cook Political Report and in an NBC-Wall Street Journal poll.

"There's been unrelieved bad news for the past several weeks," said Thomas Riehle, president of Ipsos-Reid Public Affairs, "so a lot of what's happened has occurred in the weeks from the end of June until today."

The timing of Bush's return to a more normal -- though still high -- rating was predicted months ago by Matthew Dowd, pollster for the Republican National Committee.

Republican strategist Rich Galen said current polls aren't as important but the trend over the next few months will be.

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