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OHIO Poll has mixed news for Taft, Bush



Published: Thu, September 26, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The governor's job approval rating climbed in the latest statewide poll -- but so did his disapproval rating.

By DAVID SKOLNICK

VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Despite enjoying continued high job-approval ratings, the disapproval numbers for Gov. Bob Taft and President Bush are increasing, according to a state poll.

Taft's job approval rating is 66 percent in the latest Ohio Poll, an increase of 4 percentage points from the previous poll, taken in June. This is Taft's fourth highest job approval rating in the 12 Ohio Polls taken since the governor took office in January 1999. The polls are sponsored by the University of Cincinnati.

The bad news

There is also bad news for Taft in the poll, released Wednesday.

The poll shows Taft's disapproval rating at 25 percent, an all-time high for him. That's an increase of 2 percentage points from the previous Ohio Poll.

Taft's job disapproval rating has steadily climbed since July 2001.

Nine percent of those asked, "Generally speaking, do you approve or disapprove of the way Gov. Taft is handling his job as governor," gave no opinion.

Taft, a Republican, is running for re-election Nov. 5 against Democrat Tim Hagan. An Ohio Poll released last week has Taft with an 18-point lead over Hagan. Two newspaper polls have the race much closer.

About the poll

The Ohio Poll questioned 902 Ohio adults Sept. 4-15, but not Sept. 11, by telephone about Taft's and Bush's job performance. The margin of error is 3.3 percent.

Besides asking the question about Taft, those contacted by the Ohio Poll were asked about Bush's overall job performance, how he handles foreign affairs and how he handles the economy a year after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York City's World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

The latest poll shows that 71 percent of those asked approve of his job performance, a 5 percentage point decline from the previous poll, and 25 percent disapprove of his job performance, an increase of 4 percentage points from the previous poll.

Bush's job disapproval rating has steadily increased since November 2001, the first Ohio Poll after the terrorist attacks, while his job approval rating has steadily declined.

Extremely high rating

Bush, a Republican, received an 87 percent approval rating in November 2001, the highest rating for any president in the poll's 21-year history.

The 71 percent approval rating in the latest poll is higher than Bush's pre-Sept. 11, 2001, rating of 60 percent.

Regarding the president's handling of foreign affairs, 70 percent of those polled approve of it and 27 percent disapprove. The disapproval figure is the highest for Bush regarding foreign affairs since he took office.

His 32 percent disapproval rating for his handling of the economy in the latest poll is also an all-time high for Bush. Of those asked, 63 percent approve of the president's handling of the economy, a drop of 3 percentage points from the previous poll.

skolnick@vindy.com




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