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Poll: Most Americans believe Bush will do a good job as president

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- What does the public expect from the incoming president? Most Americans believe that George W. Bush will keep the country prosperous and will do a good job with education and the military.

Most also believe that Bush will improve the country's moral values and respect for the U.S. abroad. But the public is split over whether he will be able to keep the federal budget balanced, cut taxes, or strengthen Social Security and Medicare, and narrow majorities think he will not do a good job with crime, poverty, race relations, and the environment.

The public is also split, 46 percent - 42 percent on whether the country will be better off or worse off four years from now. (President-elect Bill Clinton got slightly better marks in December, 1992.) Just 45 percent say that Bush himself will make the decisions in his administration that a president should make; 52 percent say those decisions will be made by others.

But the public does give Bush the benefit of the doubt on two claims he has made since first appearing on the national stage. Fifty-eight percent say that he will be a uniter, not a divider. Fifty-eight percent also believe that he will govern compassionately.

The poll, conducted January 15-16, consists of interviews with 1,056 Americans. It has a margin of error of +/-3 percent.

Do you think Bush will keep country prosperous?

Yes63%
No33

Do you think the Bush administration will be able to do each of the following?

 YesNo
Military security81%16%
Education6632
Respect for U.S. abroad5838
Moral values5541

Do you think the Bush administration will be able to do each of the following?

 YesNo
Keep budget balanced50%46%
Strengthen Social Security5044
Cut your taxes4946
Reduce crime rate4450

Do you think the Bush administration will be able to do each of the following?

 YesNo
Health care system46%49%
Conditions for the poor4451
Race relations4451
Environment4252

Will the U.S. be better off four years from now?

Yes46%
No42

Will the U.S. be better off four years from now?

 NowNov.
1992
Yes46%51%
No4235

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

Yes56%
No36

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

Bush45%
Others52

Would you describe George W. Bush more as a uniter or a divider?

Uniter58%
Divider36

George W. Bush has frequently described himself as a "compassionate conservative." Do you think Bush will or will not govern in a way that is truly compassionate?

Yes58%
No39

Although the public has optimistic expectations for the incoming Bush administration, most Americans think that this year's inaugural ceremonies are a celebration for Bush supporters, not a ceremony for all Americans.

Most feel Bush will give a good speech; one in six say it will be excellent, and only 5 percent say it will be poor or terrible. What about the protestors who are expected to demonstrate during the inaugural ceremonies, including Saturday's parade? 71 percent say that such protests are inappropriate; only about a quarter say that they are appropriate.

Do you see this week's inauguration more as -- a celebration by all Americans of democracy in action, or a political celebration by the supporters of the candidate who won the presidential election?

All Americans26%
Just Bush supporters72

What are your expectations for George W. Bush's inauguration speech? Do you think his speech will be -- excellent, good, just okay, poor, or terrible?

Excellent16%
Good45
Okay30
Poor4
Terrible1

Regardless of whether you think people have a right to protest during the presidential inaugural ceremonies, do you think it is appropriate or inappropriate for them to do so?

Appropriate28%
Inappropriate71

How does Dubya stack up against his father at the start of the first Bush administration in 1989? Expectations are certainly higher for the son than they were for the father 12 years ago: 47 percent predict that the younger Bush will be an outstanding or above average president; only 38 percent in 1989 said that Bush's father would perform that well as president.

But Bush today starts his administration with just about the same favorable rating as his father had in 1989, and both men's Cabinet appointments are rated about the same. The elder Bush entered the White House with more optimism about his ability to keep the country prosperous and increase respect for the U.S. abroad. Sixty-three percent today say that the younger Bush will keep America prosperous and 58 percent say that he will increase respect for the country -- good figures, but significantly lower than the number who thought his father would handle those areas well in 1989.

The younger Bush gets higher marks on education, the federal budget, and taxes than his father did in 1989. (Bear in mind that in 1989 the elder Bush was faced with a serious budget deficit and had pledged not to raise taxes, while his son has the advantage of a budget surplus and a campaign promise to cut taxes.)

What kind of president do you think George W. Bush will be -- outstanding, above average, below average, or poor? Note: Same question asked for Bush's father in January 1989.

 Now1989
Outstanding10%6%
Above average3732
Below average2416
Poor126

Do you have a favorable opinion of this person?

George W. Bush now62%
George Bush in 198965

So far, based on what you have heard or read, do you approve or disapprove of President-elect Bush's Cabinet appointments?

 Now1989
Approve59%55%
Disapprove2929

Regardless of which presidential candidate you preferred, do you think the Bush administration will or will not be able to do each of the following?

 Now1989
Economy63%74%
Respect for U.S.5874
Environment4262

Regardless of which presidential candidate you preferred, do you think the Bush administration will or will not be able to do each of the following?

 Now1989
Education66%61%
Federal budget5039
Taxes4929
Crime4439
Poverty4439

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Thursday, January 18, 2001

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