- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 26, 2005

ANNAPOLIS — President Bush is at all-time low in popularity among Marylanders, who said by nearly a 2-to-1 margin they don’t like the way the president is doing his job, according to a recently released poll.

Even more, 75 percent, said they didn’t approve of the war in Iraq, also a low point.

The telephone poll conducted this month by a nonpartisan, Annapolis-based public opinion firm found that 63 percent of likely voters in Maryland disapproved of Mr. Bush’s job performance, 33 percent approved and 4 percent did not respond.

The previous low was in June 2004, when 39 percent approved of the president’s performance.

“It’s kind of consistent with what’s going on at the national level with low numbers for the president,” said Patrick Gonzales, president of Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies, which conducted the poll.

The poll of 815 registered voters who vote regularly was conducted Oct. 17-21 and has a margin of sampling error of 3 percentage points.

Maryland Democrats were quick to say the poll numbers pointed to victory in state races next year for Democrats. They are hoping Mr. Bush’s unpopularity will spread to Maryland Republicans, especially Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., who is seeking re-election in 2006.

“Voters are going to reject people that are associated with the national Republican machine,” said Derek Walker, spokesman for the Maryland Democratic Party.

Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 2-to-1 margin in Maryland.

The state Republican Party downplayed the Bush poll results and said the president’s popularity has little bearing on state races.

“Whatever goes on in D.C. or Idaho has no bearing” on the job Mr. Ehrlich is doing, said Audra Miller, spokeswoman for the Maryland Republican Party.

Poll respondents were more divided when asked about Mr. Bush’s proposed U.S. Supreme Court justice, Harriet Miers. When asked whether the U.S. Senate should confirm Miss Miers, 40 percent said yes, 29 percent said no and 31 percent said they weren’t sure.

In a question about disaster preparedness, Marylanders also were divided. The poll respondents were asked whom they would trust to respond to a natural disaster — the federal, state or local government.

About 34 percent said the federal government, 30 percent said the state government, 26 percent said the local government, and 10 percent gave no answer.

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