US President George W. Bush's job approval has dipped below 40 percent for the first time in the AP-Ipsos poll, reflecting widespread doubts about his handling of gasoline prices and the response to Hurricane Katrina.
Nearly four years after Bush's job approval soared into the 80s after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Bush was at 39 percent job approval in an AP-Ipsos poll taken this week. That's the lowest since the poll was started in December 2003.
The public's view of the nation's direction has grown increasingly negative as well, with nearly two-thirds now saying the country is heading down the wrong track.
"As a nation, we are pretty well stretched," said Barry Allen, a political independent from Reed City, Michigan. "I approve of some of the things the president has done, and disapprove of others. Overall, I disapprove."
Allen said he liked some of Bush's economic steps during his first term, but has been dissatisfied with the president's economic moves in his second term, his Iraq policy and his handling of gasoline prices.
Allen worries Hurricane Katrina has taken the wind out of an economy that was moving in the right direction.
With gasoline racing past US$3 per gallon (3.8 liters), Bush's standing on dealing with those prices may be one of his biggest problems -- seven in 10 said they disapprove.