Gallup: Despite Press Criticism, Public Gives Bush Inaugural High Marks

By: E&P Staff Despite widespread press criticism, Americans reacted positively to President George W. Bush's inauguration speech, giving it high marks and agreeing in principle with the president's emphasis on supporting the spread of democracy around the world, according to a Gallup Poll released today.

Some 60% found it was appropriate to stage inaugural galas even during a time of war. And a surprising 35% say that it is indeed possible to end tyranny abroad.

But they were skeptical that Bush would personally be able to heal the partisan divisions in the country.

Among those who watched either the inaugural ceremony or news about the ceremony, 62% rated Bush's speech as excellent or good, while only 11% said poor or terrible. Another 20% said the speech was "just OK."

? About half said they were either happy or thrilled about Bush's inauguration. A quarter said they didn't care, and another 22% said they were either unhappy or ?depressed.?

? Sixty-six percent say it should be either a top or high priority for U.S. foreign policy to support democratic movements around the world.

? Sixty percent say the spread of democracy is essential for U.S. security; 35% disagree.

The public is more evenly divided on whether Bush can heal the partisan divisions in the country. A slight majority, 53%, say he will not achieve that goal, while 42% of Americans say he will. Those numbers split along partisan lines, so it may be telling that by 61% to 33%, independents say Bush will not heal the divisions.


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