WASHINGTON -- US President George W. Bush's approval rating hit a new low on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war, a poll released Wednesday showed.
The poll by CNN and the Opinion Research Corporation found that 67 percent of 1,019 adults surveyed from March 14 to 16 disapproved of the Bush administration.
Iraq war demonstrators march by the White House in Washington, Wednesday, March 19, 2008, on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war. US President George W. Bush's approval rating hit a new low on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war, a poll released Wednesday showed. [Xinhua]
CNN said the 31 percent approval rating in the latest survey was a new low for Bush in its polling records, 40 percentage points lower than at the start of the Iraq war on March 20, 2003.
"Bush's approval rating five years ago, at the start of the Iraq war, was 71 percent, and that 40-points drop is almost identical to the drop President Lyndon Johnson faced during the Vietnam War," CNN polling director Keating Holland said.
Among Republicans, 64 percent of those polled favored Bush's performance, while only 9 percent of Democrats did.
However, it was not the lowest approval rating in history. Bush's father, George H. W. Bush, hit 29 percent in July 1992, Jimmy Carter slumped to 28 percent in June 1979 and Richard Nixon recorded 24 percent in July and August of 1974, according to CNN.
"Lame-duck presidents presiding over unpopular wars or struggling economies have gotten low approval ratings in the past," Holland said.
Despite US public opposition, Bush defended the Iraq war, saying in a speech on the war's anniversary earlier Wednesday at the Pentagon that it was the right decision.
Admitting the war had become "longer, harder and more costly than we anticipated," Bush reiterated his opposition to fast withdrawal of the current 155,000 US troops from Iraq.
"There's still hard work to be done in Iraq," he said. "The gains we've made are fragile and reversible."
A number of demonstrations were staged and scheduled across the country Wednesday, calling for an end to the war that has killed nearly 4,000 US troops and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians, and cost over US$400 billion up to December 2007.