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Poll: Bush Approval Ratings On Rise In N.C.

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ELON, N.C. — Approval of President George W. Bush's job performance is at its highest level in North Carolina since the spring of 2005, according to an Elon University poll released Friday.
  • Elon University Poll

    Bush's handling of his job met with approval from 45.2 percent of the 649 people polled this week, while 48.5 percent of those polled said they disapproved of the president's performance. The rest of respondents said they either did not know or refused to answer.

    The approval rating was 41.5 percent in February, after increasing slightly from 41.3 percent in October 2005. The most recent approval rating is just above the 45 percent who expressed positive feelings in April 2005.

    "Bush's approval ratings appear to mirror that of the rest of the country," poll director Hunter Bacot said.

    Renewed confidence in the president's stewardship of the economy appeared to buoy his numbers, as 41.7 percent said they approved of his performance in that area. It was the president's highest economic approval level in the Elon poll since September 2004, two months before he was re-elected.

    There was a slight increase in approval of Bush's handling of the Iraq war, which was up to 38 percent from 36.1 percent in February. However, Bush's disapproval numbers on Iraq remained at a similar level--56.8 percent--to those seen in the February poll and the October 2005 survey.

    "Given the slight increase in Bush's approval ratings on Iraq, it appears that the administration's efforts to counter criticism of the war effort are working, even though a solid majority of citizens still disapprove of his handling of the war," Bacot said.

    Almost 30 percent of those polled said the situation in Iraq was the most important issue facing the country. While 48.3 percent said the United State should be in Iraq at this point, 43.6 said the country should not. A similar number--48.8 percent--said the war was worth fighting, while 45.9 percent said it was not.

    Immigration rated only a 6 percent response as an important national issue. But when the question was posed with an emphasis on North Carolina, the numbers doubled.

    More than 12 percent of those surveyed ranked immigration as the most-important issue facing the state. It trailed only education and the economy, which were named by 19 percent and 14 percent of respondants, respectively. The war barely registered on the poll as an important issue for North Carolina.

    The poll gave little indication whether the November election would result in a major shake up of North Carolina's U.S. House delegation, which is currently split 7-6 in favor of Republicans.

    More respondents said they plan to vote Democratic than Republican in November, 35.5 percent to 29.6 percent, respectively. More than a quarter of people surveyed--27.4 percent--said they were undecided.

    Fifty-eight percent of respondents expressed confidence in their current House member.

    Asked separately whether they were more or less confident in their House representative lately, 57 percent said their confidence has remained the same. Thirty-one percent said their confidence had decreased, while 6 percent said it had increased.

    When asked how they would vote in November's election, 33.7 percent said they will vote for the incumbent, while 24.4 percent said they would vote to replace their current representative.

    About 30 percent said they would consider voting for someone else from the same party--a curious result, given that all 13 of North Carolina's incumbent House members have been nominated for re-election.

    At the state level, education was the most important issue for 19 percent of respondents, followed by the economy (14 percent) and immigration (12.4 percent).

    The telephone poll of adults, who were reached at their homes between Sunday and Thursday, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

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