Hispanics, Whites Rate Bush Positively, While Blacks Are
Much More Negative
GALLUP NEWS SERVICE
PRINCETON, NJ -- A new Gallup poll shows that Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites are just as likely to approve of the job being done by President George W. Bush and Congress, but Hispanics are much more negative in their assessment of the Supreme Court. Non-Hispanic blacks, on the other hand, give Bush much lower job approval ratings than do either non-Hispanic whites or Hispanics, but share Hispanics more critical view of the Supreme Court. Overall, among the three branches of government, Americans rate the Supreme Court most positively and Congress most negatively.
The new poll, conducted June 11-17, included larger samples of both blacks and Hispanics, allowing for attitude comparisons across racial and ethnic groups. (All data for "whites" and "blacks" in this analysis exclude those who say they are of Hispanic ethnicity.) The following table displays approval ratings for the three branches of government for whites, blacks and Hispanics:
Job Approval by Racial and Ethnic Group
Presidential Job Approval
Race and ethnicity were consistent themes throughout the 2000 presidential campaign. As Texas governor, George W. Bush made concerted efforts to attract Hispanic voters in that state, and did the same on a national level in 2000. Bush also made efforts to court black voters, especially during the Republican convention, but in the end received only 9% of the black vote, according to the exit polls. By comparison, Bush netted 35% of the Hispanic vote and 54% of the white vote, and received 48% of the total vote in last years election.
The new Gallup poll shows Bush with an overall job approval rating of 55%, consistent with his last several ratings. Thirty-three percent of Americans disapprove of the job Bush is doing. The data from the poll show that a higher percentage of both blacks and Hispanics currently approve of the job Bush is doing in office than voted for him on Election Day. Bush gets a 36% approval rating among blacks, which is significantly lower than he gets among whites (58%), but is much higher than the 9% of blacks who voted for him for president. Similarly, 59% of Hispanics now approve of Bush after only 35% of Hispanics chose him in the presidential election contest.
Congressional Job Approval
Currently, 51% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing and 34% disapprove. The current rating is similar to previous ratings this year, which have ranged from 49% to 55% approval. Whites, blacks, and Hispanics show little difference in their ratings of Congress. Fifty percent of whites and 49% of blacks approve of Congress, though blacks are a little more likely to disapprove (39% compared to 35% of whites). Hispanics give Congress slightly higher marks, as 55% approve and 32% disapprove.
Supreme Court Job Approval
Of the three branches of government, Americans give the Supreme Court the highest job approval rating at 62%. One in four Americans disapprove of the Supreme Courts performance. Sixty-three percent of whites approve of the job the Supreme Court is doing, but blacks and Hispanics are much less likely to approve of the nations highest court. Fifty-two percent of blacks and just 48% of Hispanics say they approve of the job the Supreme Court is doing. Substantial proportions of each racial group disapprove of the Supreme Courts work, including 36% of blacks and 39% of Hispanics.
Differences Not Limited to Race and Ethnicity
Race and ethnicity are not the only characteristics that are associated with differing evaluations of the three branches of government. For example, men and women differ considerably in their evaluation of Bush, as 61% of men but only 49% of women approve of the job he is doing as president, reflecting the gender gap that has been apparent in partisan politics for many years. Men are slightly more likely to approve of Congress (55%) than are women (47%), but men and women do not differ in their ratings of the Supreme Court (61% of men and 63% of women approve).
Differences are also quite apparent according to ones party affiliation. Not surprisingly, Republicans are far more likely to approve of the job Bush is doing than are Democrats, by an 87% to 30% margin. The low approval rating for Bush among blacks is clearly linked to blacks orientation toward the Democratic Party. In this poll, 60% of blacks say they consider themselves Democrats and an additional 16% say they are independents who lean toward the Democratic Party. Hispanics, by comparison, show only a slight preference for the Democratic Party.
Republicans are also more likely to approve of the job Congress is doing than are Democrats, by a 59% to 47% margin. To some degree, this reflects the fact that Republicans currently have majority control in the House of Representatives and just recently lost control of the Senate to the Democrats when, on May 24, Senator James Jeffords of Vermont defected from the Republican Party and became an independent. Interestingly, the current ratings have shifted somewhat in the time since Republicans lost control of the Senate, with fewer Republicans and more Democrats approving. A May 10-14 Gallup poll showed that 69% of Republicans and 36% of Democrats approved of Congress job performance.
Finally, the data clearly show that Republicans rate the Supreme Court more favorably than Democrats, 74% to 54%. Opinions of the Supreme Court have changed dramatically in the past several months, following the Supreme Courts involvement in the election controversy in Florida. In January of this year, soon after the Supreme Courts decision in Bush v. Gore led to Democratic presidential candidate Al Gores concession of the election to Bush, 80% of Republicans approved of the Supreme Court while only 42% of Democrats did. An earlier, pre-election reading on the Supreme Court from August 29-September 5, 2000, showed that Democrats were actually more likely to approve of the Supreme Court than were Republicans, 70% to 60%.
The results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,004 adults, 18 years and older, conducted June 11-17, 2001. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Results for the sample of 871 white national adults, aged 18+, are based on telephone interviews conducted June 11-17, 2001. For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points of registered voters.
Results for the sample of 264 black national adults, aged 18+, are based on telephone interviews conducted June 11-18, 2001. For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ±7 percentage points of registered voters.
Results for the sample of 247 Hispanic national adults, aged 18+, are based on telephone interviews conducted June 11-17, 2001. For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ±7 percentage points of registered voters.
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president?
NATIONAL ADULT TREND
Do you approve or disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job?
NATIONAL ADULT TREND
Do you approve or disapprove of the way the Supreme Court is handling its job?
NATIONAL ADULT & PARTY ID TREND