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Gallup Poll: How Do Americans View Bush Administration Agenda?

Aired January 22, 2001 - 2:39 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: We have been hearing what some lawmakers expect from the new administration. But what about the general public? What do they expect? Folks over at Gallup have been asking the same question.

And joining us now with answers: Frank Newport, the editor-in- chief of Gallup -- Frank, hello.

FRANK NEWPORT, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, GALLUP POLL: Indeed, Natalie. Good day to you.

Let's look at the American public's views on the Bush administration -- pretty good news, I think. Let's show you these first couple of slides. First of all, Bush policies: Does the public think they're good or bad? Well, look at this. We asked it a week or two ago. Fifty-six percent of Americans said, in general, they think the Bush policies are going to move the country in the right direction. That's pretty good numbers given the divisive nature of the election.

Now, look at this next slide carefully. This is expectations. This is: Do you think we will be better off as a country or worse off four years from now? Now, when we asked it when Clinton came in back in 1992, the public said better off, at least 51 percent -- slightly more muted numbers now when we just asked it about Bush. But I think that's good news, because when expectations are low, that means Bush doesn't have to do as much for him to be seen by the American public as doing something -- good news at least for the Bush administration: about break-even in terms of expectations.

Now, what is it that the public wants the Bush to do? Well, this is what we kept hearing all through the campaign. Look at the big four here: education, Social Security, that's the economy -- keeping the country prosperity -- prosperous -- and then improved health care. Those are the big four. Now, we also asked: Will Bush be able to accomplish that? Will he be able to fix these things? Well, two of them, yes. Improve education: Two-thirds think Bush will be successful there. That's what he's introducing this week, of course.

And keeping the U.S. prosperous: About two-thirds think positively. But fix Social Security: Just half think he'll be able to do that. And improve health care: a little less than half -- so more pessimism on those two health-care related and Social Security- related issues. Finally, the bottom three -- in our list, the bottom three things that Americans want Bush to handle: race relations, tax cuts and campaign-finance reform. Tax cuts hurts, of course, because Bush really wants to push it -- not a high priority for Americans. And McCain has introduced this: again, campaign-finance reform not a high priority -- Natalie, Lou, back to you.

ALLEN: OK, Frank, thanks so much.

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