A soured public has given President Bush and Congress record low approval ratings in the latest Associated Press-Ipsos poll, underscoring the toll taken by fretful economic woes and long-lasting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The survey, released Tuesday, also set a new AP-Ipsos floor for the number of people saying the country is heading in the right direction. Just 16 percent said the country is moving the right way, a virtual tie with the 17 percent who said so last month.
In addition, 28 percent said they approve of the job Bush is doing, tying his low in the AP-Ipsos survey set last April.
Congress fared even worse: A new AP-Ipsos low of 18 percent said they were happy with Congress' work, down a steep 5 percentage points from last month.
Underscoring the breadth of the gloom, dissatisfaction with the country's direction stretched across party and ideological lines. Only three in 10 Republicans and fewer than one in 10 Democrats and independents said the country is heading the right way. Only one in five conservatives and even fewer moderates and liberals said they are happy with things.
Just 63 percent of Republicans and 46 percent of conservatives approved of Bush's handling of his job, strikingly low numbers. About one in five Republicans and conservatives voiced strong approval for the president, while one in 10 Republicans and three in 10 conservatives said they strongly disapproved.
Four percent of Democrats and 12 percent of independents gave Bush positive grades — the lowest he's ever gotten from those groups in the AP-Ipsos survey. The numbers were similarly low for liberals and moderates.
With soaring fuel prices, ailing financial and housing markets and rising inflation, Bush got his lowest grade for handling the economy. Just 24 percent approved of how he's dealing with it, tying last month's AP-Ipsos low on that issue.
Only half of Republicans gave Bush good grades on the economy, as did hardly any Democrats or independents. Disapproval was nearly evenly distributed across all levels of income — only a quarter of those from households earning at least $100,000 a year were satisfied with his work on the economy, with similar readings coming from those making less.
About three in 10 voiced approval for how he's handling Iraq, domestic issues and foreign affairs. All are near or tied with previous lows in the survey.
Approval of the Democratic-led Congress was dismal — about one in five Democrats and Republicans expressed satisfaction. In interviews, many Democrats have expressed dissatisfaction that Congress is not doing enough, while many Republicans are unhappy with its Democratic leadership.
The AP-Ipsos poll began in December 2003. The record low presidential approval in the Gallup Poll came in 1952, when President Truman hit 22 percent. Since Gallup began asking about approval of Congress in 1974, the all-time low has been 18 percent, reached several times, most recently in May.
The AP-Ipsos poll was conducted from July 10-14 and involved telephone interviews with 1,000 adults. It had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. The margin of sampling error for subgroups was larger.