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Poll shows praise for Bush in most cases

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- After 13 weeks in office, President Bush gets relatively high marks from the American public on a wide range of issues and shows few weaknesses in areas that many thought would be the Achilles heels of his administration.

This latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll of 1,015 adult Americans was conducted on April 20-22, 2001.

Has he Bush been too conservative? Only a third think so. Is he working hard enough? Seven in 10 say he has. Is he letting others make the important decisions a president should make? Most do not think so.

Did the Florida recount make Americans feel he is not a legitimate president? Not really.

Does he understand complex issues? Some 56 percent say yes. Does he care about ordinary Americans? Some 59 percent say he does. He appears to be doing well even on the environment -- the issue on which he gets his lowest marks from the public -- following last week's flurry of pro-environment announcements.

Most say he is a strong leader, inspires confidence, keeps his promises, and can get things done. He even gets high marks on the "vision thing" that plagued his father. Some 55 percent say his policies would move the country in the right direction, and 62 percent say they approve of how he is handling his job as president.

Vice President Cheney, for the record, gets an almost identical approval rating.

But there is some bad news for Bush. Some 63 percent of respondents say big business has too much influence over decisions made by the Bush administration. Only half the country thinks he won the presidency fair and square -- although that number is up slightly since January.

After months of partisan bickering in Washington, the public is split on whether Bush can heal political divisions in this country. His environmental ratings are weak, and four in 10 have doubts about his ability to keep the budget balanced, improve health care and protect Social Security.

And the public does not think history will remember Bush as a better president than Bill Clinton or his father. Nonetheless, approaching the 100-day mark, Bush's overall approval rating holds up well in comparison to previous presidents.

Over the past four decades, the average approval rating for presidents in April of their first year in office has been 61 percent -- Bush's now stands at 62 percent. That makes him slightly more popular at this juncture than his father or Bill Clinton were, and slightly less popular than Ronald Reagan at the same point in his presidency.

Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president?

Approve62%
Disapprove29
Sampling error: +/-3% pts

April approval ratings in first year in office

Bush now62%
Clinton, 199355
Bush, 198958
Reagan, 198167
Carter, 197763
Nixon, 196961
Sampling error: +/-3% pts

Do you think big business does or does not have too much influence over the decisions made by the Bush administration?

Yes63%
No30
Sampling error: +/-3% pts

Next I have some questions about the Bush administration, which took office in January. Whether or not you support Bush, do you think the Bush administration will or will not be able to do each of the following?

Improve the quality of the environment:

 NowJanuary
Yes48%42%
No4752
Sampling error: +/-5% pts

Do you think George W. Bush's political views are too conservative, about right, or too liberal?

Too conservative35%
Too liberal16
About right41
Sampling error: +/-5% pts

Have George W. Bush's policies since he became president been more conservative than you thought they would be?

Yes36%
No56
Sampling error: +/-5% pts

Do you think President Bush is working hard enough to be an effective president?

Yes70%
No26
Sampling error: +/-3% pts

Which of the following comes closer to your view -- George W. Bush is personally making the decisions in his administration that a president should make, or other people aside from George W. Bush are making the decisions in his administration that a president should make?

Bush51%
Others43
Sampling error: +/-3% pts

Which comes closest to your view of the way George W. Bush won the 2000 presidential election -- he won fair and square, he won, but only on a technicality, or he stole the election?

Fair and square50%
On a technicality29
Stole the election19
Sampling error: +/-5% pts

Did Bush win fair and square?

 YesNo
Now50%48%
January4555
Sampling error: +/-3% pts

Do you accept George W. Bush as the legitimate president?

 NowDecember
Yes76%83%
No2316
Sampling error: +/-5% pts

Thinking about the following characteristics and qualities, please say whether you think it applies or doesn't apply to George W. Bush:
Shares your values;
Cares about the needs of people like you;
Is a strong and decisive leader;
Is honest and trustworthy;
Is tough enough for the job;
Inspires confidence;
Understands complex issues;
Can get things done;
Keeps his promises;
Has a vision for the country's future.

Has vision74%
Can get things done69
Tough enough68
Honest and trustworthy67
Strong leader60
Cares about people59%
Shares your values58
Keeps his promises57
Understands issues56
Inspires confidence55
Sampling error: +/-3% pts

From what you can tell so far, who do you think history will remember as a better president -- the current president, George W. Bush, or the former President George Bush, the father of the current president?

George W. Bush31%
His father47
Sampling error: +/-5% pts

From what you can tell so far, who do you think history will remember as a better president -- the current president, George W. Bush, or former President Bill Clinton?

George W. Bush41%
Bill Clinton50
Sampling error: +/-5% pts

Do you think the policies being proposed by George W. Bush will move the country in the right direction or the wrong direction?

Right direction55%
Wrong direction34
Sampling error: +/-3% pts

Next I have some questions about the Bush administration, which took office in January. Whether or not you support Bush, do you think the Bush administration will or will not be able to do each of the following?
Keep the federal budget balanced;
Keep America prosperous;
Improve respect for the United States abroad;
Improve education;
Improve the quality of the environment;
Cut your taxes;
Ensure the long-term strength of the Social Security system;
Improve race relations;
Increase respect for the presidency;
Improve moral values in the United States;
Heal political divisions in this country;
Improve the health care system.

Improve education68%
Keep U.S. prosperous64
Improve moral values62
Cut your taxes59
Keep budget balanced53%
Strengthen Social Security52
Improve health care51
Improve environment48
Heal political divisions?45
Sampling error: +/-5% pts

Do you approve or disapprove of the way Dick Cheney is handling his job as vice president?

Approve63%
Disapprove21
Sampling error: +/-3% pts



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