Key voter groups turning sour

Rough sailing may lie ahead for George W. Bush in his re-election bid.

The Ipsos-Public Affairs/Cook Political Report Poll interviewed 1,532 registered voters between July 22-24 and Aug. 5-8.

Results show key groups of swing voters are growing increasingly disenchanted with the Bush administration. For one thing, they are unhappy with the perceived direction of the country.

Among Hispanics, the president’s support on this question has shifted from a positive 25 in late April to -14 early this month, a drop of 39 points.

For non-college educated men, the feeling on direction of the country has changed from +30 in late April to -10 in early August. That’s a 40 point shift.

Approval of Bush’s handling of the presidency has skidded sharply since it peaked in late April.

Hispanics’ support has declined from +38 in late April to +10 in early August, a drop of 28 points.

Overall approval among non-college educated men has fallen by 18 points, from +46 in late April to +28 in early August.

On the issue of foreign affairs, Bush’s handling of that area has seen Hispanic support drop from +43 in early April to just +5 in early August.

There’s still overwhelming approval of the Bush approach among non-college educated men with his rating dropping only 3 points since late April, from +57 to +54.

On the economy, Hispanics formerly presented majority approval of the president’s handling of this issue. In late April, +14 approved, but the numbers have tumbled to a dead heat, a difference of -2, in early August.

Most non-college educated men endorse Bush’s handling of the economy, yet their support has dipped strongly since late April.

Attitudes of these groups may bring substantial trouble to the Bush campaign. Hispanics believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, and their frustration is shown by their stance on re-electing the president. Support has fallen 11 points since late April. Those who would choose Bush and those who would not are in a dead heat.

In the non-college educated category, approval of the administration’s handling of foreign policy seems to be balancing their rising disapproval of the direction of the country and the handling of the economy. Those supporting Bush for another term have remained constant, but those who say they want someone else have grown marginally.

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