Elon University Poll finds low support for Bush in North Carolina

Nearly two out of three North Carolinians – 65 percent – disapprove of the way President George W. Bush is handling the war in Iraq, according to the latest Elon University Poll. The percentage is a slight improvement for the president since April, when 70 percent of the respondents expressed unhappiness with his management of the conflict.

The Elon University Poll, conducted Sept. 24-27, 2007, by the Elon University Institute for Politics and Public Affairs, surveyed 664 North Carolina residents. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percent.

The increase in support for the president’s handling of the war coincides with a small increase in the number of people who approve of the president’s overall job performance. Thirty-eight percent of North Carolinians surveyed either approve or strongly approve of Bush’s performance, compared to 36 percent of respondents from the Elon University Poll conducted April 16-19, 2007. Previous poll results can be found at www.elon.edu/elonpoll.

Citizens continue to identify the war in Iraq as an issue with which they are interested. Sixty-seven percent of North Carolina citizens support a timetable to withdraw some U.S. troops from Iraq by the beginning of 2009, and 64 percent said that they would support a timetable to withdraw some troops by the summer of 2008. Half of North Carolinians surveyed believe the war with Iraq was not worth fighting, with 53 percent of respondents believing the United States should no longer be in Iraq.

North Carolinians remain split on whether the war is creating a safer environment with regard to terrorist activities but generally feel better than they did in April. Forty-one percent of poll respondents think that the war has made the nation less safe from terrorism, down from 50 percent five months earlier. Thirty-seven percent of respondents said they believe the nation is safer, and 15 percent said it is about the same. Fifty-six percent felt the nation is more at risk for terrorist attacks – another drop from April, when the figure stood at 61 percent.

“The war in Iraq continues to burden the Bush administration – citizens are unhappy with the war and apparently becoming more disenchanted with the prospects of it ending anytime soon,” said Hunter Bacot, director of the Elon University Poll. “More telling is that a majority of people now believe we should not be there and two-thirds want to see troops start coming home by the beginning of next year. Such findings in a ‘military friendly’ state point to the potential political costs this issue poses for both this administration and the Republican Party over the next year.”