But more importantly, a majority of Americans now also question his integrity. The CIA leak investigation has apparently has taken its toll, according to this account:
The CIA leak case has apparently contributed to a withering decline in how Americans view Bush personally. The survey found that 40 percent now view him as honest and trustworthy -- a 13 percentage point drop in the past 18 months. Nearly 6 in 10 -- 58 percent -- said they have doubts about Bush's honesty, the first time in his presidency that more than half the country has questioned his personal integrity.
Beyond the leak case, Americans give the administration low scores on ethics, according to the survey, with 67 percent rating the administration negatively on handling ethical matters, while just 32 percent give the administration positive marks. Four in 10 -- 43 percent -- say the level of ethics and honesty in the federal government has fallen during Bush's presidency, while 17 percent say it has risen.Of course the CIA leak scandal is a result of efforts by the administration to discredit critics of its Iraq policy. The naming of the CIA special prosecutor was itself in reaction to White House efforts to blunt charges by former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV that the administration misrepresented intelligence information in the case to go to war. So what is public support now for the administration's Iraq policy?
Iraq remains a significant drag on Bush's presidency, with dissatisfaction over the situation there continuing to grow and with suspicion rising over whether administration officials misled the country in the run-up to the invasion more than two years ago.For those with short memories, Bush won the presidency, in part by running against Monica Lewinsky, and vowing to bring integrity back to the presidency.
Nearly two-thirds disapprove of the way Bush is handling the situation there, while barely a third approve, a new low. Six in 10 now believe the United States was wrong to invade Iraq, a seven-point increase in just over two months, with almost half the country saying they strongly believe it was wrong.
Speaking of which, here are some interesting numbers from the CBS poll: 51 percent of those survyed find the CIA leak issue to be of "great importance" to the country, while at the height of the Lewinsky probe, only 41 percent found that scandal to be of "great importance." 86 percent of Americans find the CIA leak probe of "some" or "great" importance, while only 63 percent concluded the same thing about the Lewinsky matter.
And the president might be 5,300 miles away from home today, but the majority of his questions from reporters were about Karl Rove and the CIA leak scandal.
Meanwhile, Dan Froomkin has the news of new allegations by Lawrence Wilkerson, the former Secretary of State Colin Powell, linking the office of Vice President to rolling back human rights guidelines regarding foreign detainees.