Stick Another Fork in It

Last Thursday, President Bush “seized the prime-time power of an East Room news conference for only the fourth time in his tenure” to announce the latest details of his Social Security privatization agenda. Tens of millions of Americans watched the event live on broadcast and cable TV. The result?

Worst. Ratings. Ever. (Literally.)

President Bush, who has put Social Security at the top of his second-term agenda, gets his worst rating so far on the issue: 35% approval, 58% disapproval. The idea he endorsed last week of “progressive indexing” — maintaining future benefits for low-income workers but reducing initial benefits for the middle-class and affluent — was opposed by 54%-38%.

And it wasn’t just Social Security.

On energy issues, the other focus of Thursday’s press conference, President Bush is fairing even worse. Just 34% approve of his handling of energy policy today compared to 52% who disapprove, while a meager 27% approve of his hand-holding… er… handling of gas prices, and 67% disapprove. Here’s the rest:

Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling:
Foreign affairs — 45% approval, 49% disapproval
The economy — 43%, 53%
The situation in Iraq — 42%, 55%