Most Americans oppose fully funding President Bush's $190 billion request for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a sizable majority supports an expansion of a children's health insurance bill the president has promised to veto, putting Bush and many congressional Republicans on the wrong side of public opinion on upcoming foreign and domestic policy battles.
The new Washington Post-ABC News poll also shows deep dissatisfaction with the president and Congress. Bush's approval rating stands at 33 percent, equal to his career low in Post-ABC polls. Congressional approval is even lower: Just 29 percent approve of the job the Congress is doing. That is Congress's lowest approval rating in this poll since November 1995, when Republicans controlled both the House and Senate, and represents a 14-point drop since Democrats took control last January.
Still, the public rates congressional Republicans (29 percent approve) lower than congressional Democrats (38 percent approve). And when the two parties are pitted directly against one another, the public broadly favors Democrats to handle Iraq, health care, the federal budget and the economy. Only on the issue of terrorism are Republicans at parity with Democrats.
And while the poll shows support for not fully funding Iraq, (deserving of its own post), the polling on SCHIP is crystal clear.
Bush and the Republicans may also be headed for a political setback from the fight over the State Children's Health Insurance Program, even if Congress fails to override Bush's threatened veto, with broad bipartisan support for the new legislation.
More than seven in 10 support the planned $35 billion spending increase, and only 25 percent are opposed. About half of Americans "strongly" support the increased spending; 17 percent are that firmly against the additional money. And the program expansion has majority support across party lines: Eighty-one percent of Democrats, 69 percent of independents and 61 percent of Republicans are in favor.
Democrats hold a big edge over Republicans on handling the nation's health-care issues more generally. Overall, 56 percent said they trust Democrats to handle health care, and 26 percent side with the GOP on the issue.
There's more on the SCHIP front, too as Eliot Spitzer and the states up the ante:
New York is joining seven states in legal challenges that will charge the Bush Administration with violating provisions of the federal State Children's Health Insurance Program, Gov. Eliot Spitzer announced Monday.
Oh, and all this has not gone unnoticed in DC. From Roll Call (subscription required), Stu Rothenberg writing:
So the GOP is stuck on SCHIP where it has been on so many issues over the past few years — divided, with a politically crippled president and, now, defending a position of political weakness. No wonder Democrats are gloating.
Poll results are here. And if you don't like the regressive cigarette tax, complain to Charles Grassley and the Senate Republicans who insisted on putting it in. Despite that, the public approves 72-25 (see Q 9).
Update [2007-10-1 19:33:42 by DemFromCT]:: Want to do something about SCHIP? Read this and put some pressure on House Republicans.