U.S. Approval of Bush Iraq Policy Drops to Lowest Level Ever
WASHINGTON -- Americans' approval of President Bush's handling of Iraq has dropped to the lowest level ever, increasing the pressure on the commander in chief to find a way out after nearly four years of war.
The latest Associated Press-Ipsos poll found just 31 percent approval on his handling of Iraq, days after voters registered their displeasure at the polls by defeating Republicans across the board and handing control of Congress to the Democrats. The previous low in AP-Ipsos polling was 33 percent in both June and August.
Erosion of support for Bush's Iraq policy was most pronounced among conservatives and Republican men _ critical supporters who propelled Bush to the White House and a second term in 2004. A month ago, approval of the president on the issue certain to define his presidency was 36 percent.
"I'm completely frustrated," Rep. Robin Hayes, R-N.C., said this week during a House Armed Services Committee hearing. Hayes' district includes part of Fort Bragg, and he supports the U.S. effort but favors pushing Iraqi troops to take more responsibility for the fighting.
Bush's low numbers underscore the high expectations for the report by the Iraq Study Group headed by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and one-time Democratic Rep. Lee Hamilton. The demand for an exit strategy comes as the number of U.S. dead from the conflict exceeds 2,850.
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