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By SARA BERGQUIST sbe007@latech



Since the second inauguration of President George W. Bush, his overall approval ratings have descended and are continuing to plunge.

According to recent polls show an approval rating of 36 percent, a disapproval rating of 60 percent and 4 percent have no opinion.

An informal pill of Tech students showed a mixed evaluation of Bush.

Melodie Benford, a senior biomedical engineering major, said she believes the president’s approval ratings fell when he decided to go to war in Iraq, and when he legalized wiretapping. The recent Supreme Court nominations and the Hurricanes Katrina and Rita’s devastations to the Gulf Coast also contributed to the president’s approval ratings, she said.

“Especially in the South, I think Katrina pushed [the public] to the levels they are right now,” Benford said. “The [Federal Emergency Management Agency] position, from my understanding, was an appointed position, and [Bush] appointed the wrong person. The head of FEMA was not prepared for a disaster at all.”

Contrary to Benford’s viewpoints , Amanda Leone, a graduate student of business and administration, said she completely supports the president.

“I, for one, will stick by [Bush] in whatever he decides to do,” Leone said.

However Benford said she thought with the mayhem of Hurricane Katrina, people remembered the morning of September 11, 2001, and how the president reacted to the 9-11 crisis.

“The hero of that story was Mayor [Rudolph] Giuliani, and Katrina confirmed [Bush] is not a war time or disaster president,” Benford said. “We lost faith in his skills. Plus on television, he does and says quirky things, which many mistake as an indication of his stupidity. It’s like he doesn’t take his job seriously.”

Yet Benford said she thinks if a natural disaster were to happen again, the response from the president would be quicker and more effective.

Leone also said she thinks Bush is the ultimate delegator.

“Even if [Bush] did something good, the media is going to do whatever it takes to get their ratings,” Leone said. “Something negative would come out of whatever positive he was doing.”

Benford also said she thinks Bush is trying to force strict control on America’s human rights.

“I think [Bush] is also trying to control us with the new laws on abortion and gay marriages and gay couple adoption,” Benford said. “I don’t necessarily agree with a person’s personal decisions; however, it’s part of our freedom as thinking beings and God’s children to make those decisions. We still live in a democracy.”

Eric Pardue, a graduate student of history, said he agrees Bush’s poll numbers are dropping, but Pardue also said presidents have difficulties in their second terms.

“Johnson had the fallout from the Vietnam War, Nixon had Watergate, Reagan had Iran-Contra, Clinton had Monica Lewinsky and now Bush is starting to slump approval-wise,” Pardue said.

Pardue said Bush’s approval ratings are not the only polls dropping.

“Congress has a low approval rating, and Gov. [Kathleen] Blanco’s numbers are sinking as fast, if not faster, than president Bush’s,” Pardue said.

Pardue said he thinks the only thing that can reverse dipping poll numbers is a major, nation-uniting event or an extended period of no activity that lulls the public.

“Social Security is a good example of this. Issues in America do not always stand the test of time,” Pardue said. “Once a new issue comes up it is almost as if starting anew because all previous issues are pushed to the margins and forgotten about.”

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