Approval of President Bush's handling of the Katrina situation, through polls of September 9. The red line is an estimate of the trend in approval.
Two new polls on President Bush's handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina suggest that opinion has held steady since September 5. The current estimate of the trend in opinion is that between 38% and 39% of the public approves of the President's performance.
This update adds two new polls, Time/SRBI (9/7-8) and Newsweek/PSRA (9/8-9). The Time poll registered a 33% approval while Newsweek found 37% approval.
The addition of these two polls, with two of the four lowest approvals recorded so far, reverses what appeared to be an improvement in evaluations of President Bush's handling of the Katrina situation. The AP/Ipsos poll of 9/6-8 found a 46% approval rating-- creating an overall upward trend in approval. (See the earlier graph here.) But with these two new polls, the red trend line is essentially flat since 9/5, with little sign of a real upturn.
The AP/Ipsos poll used a question wording somewhat different from other surveys, framing the question in terms of the "relief effort for the victims." MysteryPollster has a nice discussion of the possible impact of that question wording. In light of the more recent polls from Time/SRBI and Newsweek/PSRA, the AP/Ipsos question does look a bit higher.
Correction! In yesterday's post I relied on the Time Magazine website's description of the Time/SRBI survey. Rookie mistake on my part. The Time site described approval of President Bush as follows:
"President Bush Approval Rating: President Bush's overall approval rating has dropped to 42%, his lowest mark since taking office. And while 36% of respondents said they were satisfied with Bush's explanation of why the government was not able to provide relief to hurricane victims sooner, 57% said they were dissatisfied."
I used that 36% satisfied with Bush's explanation as a measure of approval of his job handing the hurricane situation, assuming incorrectly that this was Time's measure of Bush's handling of Katrina. But today SRBI has posted the full text of the survey, in which appears a standard job approval question, as well as the "satisfied with Bush's explanation" question. For the record the question texts and results are:
Q7. How would you rate the job that each of the following has done in responding to the hurricane and the destruction it caused? A. President Bush
Excellent/Good (net) 33%
Fair/Poor (net) 65%
Don't Know/NA 2%
Q9. How satisfied are you with the President's explanation of why the government was not able to provide relief to hurricane victims sooner?
Very/Somewhat Satisfied 36%
Somewhat/Very Dissatisfied 57%
No answer 7%
I've now replaced the Time/SBRI item in the graph with the correct data from Q7, which is similar to the question wording used by most surveys, rather than the less common question in Q9. The basic picture doesn't change, though the Time/SRBI Katrina job approval is even lower than I thought. The flat trend in approval since 9/5 is not affected by this.
I've also removed yesterday's original post. Not to hide mistakes (see above!) but to avoid having a misleading graph and comment on the site. No doubt this will be the last mistake I have to correct! <;-) (NOT too likely.)