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How Does the Public Think President Bush Is Doing So Far?

Aired February 5, 2001 - 4:35 p.m. ET

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

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: George W. Bush has been in office a little longer than two weeks. How's he doing? We check in now with Frank Newport, who is the Gallup Poll's editor-in-chief, for a look at Mr. Bush's latest approval ratings -- Frank.

FRANK NEWPORT, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, GALLUP POLL: Indeed, Joie, we have been asking the public job approval ratings on president's since Franklin Roosevelt. And this is a historic day, this weekend as our first job approval rating for George W. Bush.

How is he doing? Well, let's show you here. It's 57 percent is the official positive that we deal with, as you can see, approval. Disapproval is 25 percent and don't know is 18. Now, this disapproval is important because that's higher than we usually find for the first rating we have on president; higher from all the way back in Eisenhower. Probably that's because George W. Bush became so well known and controversial during the Florida recount, he already enters office with more negatives than most presidents.

Fifty-seven percent, though, about where Bill Clinton was. Let's put this in historic perspective for you, for the last three presidents before George W. Bush. Clinton's first job approval rating was 58 percent. Very very similar. For George W. Bush -- rather, George the elder, as you can see, 51 percent but look at the high don't know there. Very high don't know and for Reagan, there was a very high don't know as well.

The difference now for Clinton and George W. is that the public has more opinions of them than were the case for Bush's father and for Reagan where the don't knows were significantly higher. So, Bush is a little more advanced then he was back then.

What can we anticipate? Some people talk about the honeymoon effect, but our data show it can go either way. Look at this, George Bush Sr. went up his first year in office. Clinton went down. What that means, for George W., we can wait and see. It could go either way.

Joie, that's where we stand on George W. Bush's first job approval rating of his presidency.

CHEN: All right, we will wait and see. Frank Newport for the Gallup Poll.

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