Poll: Trust in the Administration Is Dropping

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A rash of books critical of the Bush Administration's conduct of the Iraq war together with damaging leaks from the National Intelligence Estimate appear to have weakened President Bush's credibility, according to a a TIME/The Oprah Winfrey Show poll.

A majority of Americans (52%) now believe that President Bush "deliberately misled" Americans to build his case for the Iraq war, up four points from late last year. Only 41% now believe that the President was "truthful and honest" based on the intelligence he was given — down four points from late last year.

Views on Bush's truthfulness remain highly partisan, with large majorities of Democrats and a lesser majority of independents questioning Bush's truthfulness.

  • Democrats (85%) and Independents (55%) believe President Bush misled the country into going to war. Only 13% of Republicans share this view.
  • 57% of "blue" states and 48% of "red" states feel that President Bush was deliberately misleading.
  • 66% of white born-again or evangelical Christians felt that President Bush was truthful and honest with regard to the Iraq war.

    The poll also finds that 4 in 10 Americans (40%) describe the Bush Administration as "less honest and trustworthy" than other presidential administrations, while only 16% term the Administration "more honest and trustworthy." Another 42% say the Bush Administration is about the same as others. This is little changed from polls conducted in late 2005 and early 2006.

    A majority, 52%, continue to say that the war was "wrong," little changed from June 2006. Only 39% say the U.S. was right to go to war, again little changed.

    None of the media get particularly high marks for their Iraq war coverage. When asked to evaluate the accuracy of information from various sources, few sources get "excellent" scores on a scale ranging from "excellent" to "poor." However, the news media, often attacked by the Bush Administration, receive significantly higher positive scores than does the Bush administration:

  • Cable news channels, such as CNN and MSNBC, get the highest scores for accurate reporting, with positive score (excellent/good) of 57%. Less than a third give cable news negative (fair/poor) scores of 31%. Television network news gets a positive score of 51%.
  • The Bush Administration receives a negative 71% score on accuracy, with only 23% offering a positive score to the Administration.
  • Congress gets the same 72% negative rating as the Administration.
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