The Time Magazine poll had bad news for the Bush administration and the Republican party:
The poll suggests the Foley affair may have dented Republican hopes of retaining control of Congress in November. Among the registered voters who were polled, 54% said they would be more likely to vote for the Democratic candidate for Congress, compared with 39% who favored the Republican — a margin that has jumped by 11 points from a similar poll conducted in June. That increase may be fueled by the rolling scandal over sexually explicit e-mails sent to teenage pages by Republican Representative Mark Foley. Almost 80% of respondents were aware of the scandal, and only 16% approve of the Republicans' handling of it. Those polled were divided, however, on whether House Speaker Dennis Hastert should resign over his handling of the Foley affair, with 39% saying he should resign and 38% saying he should not.
Iraq, meanwhile, is continuing to be a problem for the Republicans. Only 38% of respondents in the TIME poll now support President Bush's decision to invade Iraq, down from 42% three months ago. A similar number believe that the new Iraqi government will succeed in forming a stable democracy, while 59% believe this is unlikely. Almost two-thirds (65%) of respondents disapprove of President Bush's handling of the war, while 54% believe he "deliberately misled" Americans in making his case for war — a figure that has increased by 6 points over the past year. President Bush's overall approval rating, according to TIME's poll, now stands at just 36%, down from 38% in August.
Likewise, the latest Ipsos poll:
With midterm elections less than five weeks away, the latest Associated Press-Ipsos poll found that about half of likely voters say disclosures of corruption and scandal in Congress will be very or extremely important when they enter the voting booth.
About two out of three of those voters said they would cast their ballots for Democrats in House races, further complicating the political landscape for Republicans already struggling against negative public perceptions.
Overall, Democrats maintained a 10-percentage point lead over Republicans in House races. Fifty-one percent of likely voters said they would vote for the Democrat in their congressional district; 41 percent said they would vote for the Republican. That's essentially unchanged from last month.
The number of adults who say the country is on the wrong track remained virtually unchanged from last month at 64 percent. That's still lower than in August, when it was 71 percent or May when it reached 73 percent.
The leading issue among likely voters remained
Iraq, followed closely by the economy.
But the poll also found that
President Bush's efforts to depict the war in Iraq as part of a larger campaign against terrorism and to portray Democrats as weak on national security was not altering the political landscape.
Approval of Bush's handling of the war in Iraq was at 37 percent among likely voters, down slightly from 41 percent last month. Bush's rating on handling foreign policy and terrorism also fell slightly, from 47 percent last month to 43 percent this month.
It will be interesting to see how conservative pundits turn this into good news for Republicans. They always do that, somehow.
But that question about the country being on the wrong track is a funny one, because people might agree that the country is on the wrong track for totally opposite reasons. I wish they asked a follow-up question to clarify that part.