The poll suggests the Foley affair may have dented Republican hopes of retaining control of Congress in November. Among the registered voters who were polled, 54% said they would be more likely to vote for the Democratic candidate for Congress, compared with 39% who favored the Republican. That margin may be fueled by the rolling scandal over sexually explicit e-mails sent to teenage pages by Republican Representative Mark Foley. Almost 80% of respondents were aware of the scandal, and only 16% approve of the Republicans' handling of it. Those polled were divided, however, on whether House Speaker Dennis Hastert should resign over his handling of the Foley affair, with 39% saying he should resign and 38% saying he should not.
Iraq, meanwhile, is continuing to be a problem for the Republicans. Only 38% of respondents in the TIME poll now support President Bush's decision to invade Iraq, down from 42% three months ago. A similar number believe that the new Iraqi government will succeed in forming a stable democracy, while 59% believe this is unlikely. Almost two-thirds (65%) of respondents disapprove of President Bush's handling of the war, while 54% believe he "deliberately misled" Americans in making his case for war a figure that has increased by 6 points over the past year. President Bush's overall approval rating, according to TIME's poll, now stands at just 36%, down from 38% in August.