WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Ahead of a national address on the war in Iraq, Americans remain deeply skeptical about the policies President Bush is pursuing and unhappy with his job performance, according to a CNN poll released Thursday.
President Bush is expected to announce his plans for cutting back U.S. troop numbers in Iraq.
The president's approval rating in the survey was 36 percent -- unchanged from an August poll and barely above where it was in January.
At the same time, 61 percent of those polled disapprove of Bush's performance in office -- and the same number said they believe his policies are taking the country in the wrong direction.
The Opinion Research Corp. interviewed 1,017 American adults Friday through Sunday for the survey, which has a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Bush is scheduled to deliver a brief address on the war at 9:01 p.m. ET Thursday, in which he is expected to announce he will follow the recommendations of his top commander in Iraq and withdraw up to 30,000 U.S. troops by next summer.
Gen. David Petraeus, the chief of U.S. and allied forces in Iraq, told Congress this week the first of those units could be sent home in late September, with the rest returning by mid-July 2008.
Bush ordered about 30,000 additional troops to Iraq in January in an effort to secure Baghdad and its surrounding provinces amid rampant sectarian and insurgent warfare.
Their withdrawal would leave more than 130,000 American troops in Iraq -- about the same number as were there before the president launched the "surge" campaign.
Congressional Democrats -- who have unsuccessfully pushed to pull U.S. combat troops out of Iraq -- pointed out the Pentagon would likely have to withdraw those troops around that time anyway.
Thursday's poll found more Americans believe Democratic leaders would move the country in the right direction than would Bush.
Fifty percent of those surveyed expressed support for the Democrats, while 34 percent expressed confidence in Bush.
The war remains widely unpopular among Americans. Figures released earlier this week showed that 63 percent opposed the war, while 34 percent still support the four-year-old conflict. E-mail to a friend
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