Wednesday, April 11, 2007

45% Favor Congress Withholding Funds In Face Of Veto

Q: If George W. Bush vetoes the legislation, do you think Congress should pass another version of the bill that provides funding for the war without any conditions for troop withdrawal, or should Congress refuse to pass any funding bill until Bush agrees to accept conditions for withdrawal?

Fund the war without conditions: 43%
Withhold funding until Bush signs: 45%
Don't know: 12%



Most say Gonzales should quit over fired prosecutors

An even larger percentage believe White House aides should testify about the matter under oath, poll finds.

By Doyle McManus
Times Staff Writer

7:28 PM PDT, April 10, 2007

WASHINGTON — Most Americans believe Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales should resign because of the controversy over his office's firing of federal prosecutors, and a big majority want White House aides to testify under oath about the issue, the Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg Poll has found.

The survey, conducted Thursday through Monday, found that 53% said Gonzales should step down because he claimed he had no role in the dismissals of eight U.S. attorneys last year — an account later contradicted by Justice Department documents and congressional testimony by his top assistant.

Senate and House Democratic leaders have asked White House aides to testify under oath about the firings, in part to answer questions about the roles of Gonzales and Karl Rove, President Bush's chief political strategist. Bush has rejected those requests, but the poll found that 74% of the public believes his aides, including Rove, should comply.

Even among Republicans, 49% said they thought the aides should testify; 43% said they should not.

"I don't know whether Gonzales needs to resign; I think he's going to have to seriously think about it," said David Brennan, 43, a poll respondent who is a telephone technician in Bend, Ore., and described himself as a conservative Republican. "But I do think, no matter what, [the aides] should have to speak about it under oath. They should tell the truth, Republican or Democrat."

Respondents were divided along party lines as to whether Gonzales should resign. Among Democrats, 68% said he should do so; among Republicans, 33% said he should depart.

Independents tip the balance — 57% said they supported calls for his resignation, while 22% said they thought he should stay.

On another issue, the poll found that Americans are also split along partisan lines over pending congressional legislation that would provide new funding for the war in Iraq, but require a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from the country.

Asked whether Bush should accept or veto a bill that included a timetable, 48% said he should sign such a measure while 43% said he should reject it. A significant majority of Democrats — 74% — backed signing the bill; an even bigger majority of Republicans, 80%, supported a veto.

Bush has pledged to veto a war funding bill if Congress sends it to him with withdrawal language.

If the president carries out his promise, Democratic voters do not want the party's legislators in Washington to reach an accord with him.

Some Democratic congressional leaders have conceded that that they almost assuredly cannot get the two-thirds majorities in the House and Senate needed to override a veto. So they would then face a choice between approving the war funding bill without a timetable or blocking the money — and come under withering criticism from Bush for failing to support U.S. troops on the battlefield.

Given that choice, 66% of Democrats want Congress to hold firm and withhold the funding unless Bush accepts some conditions for a troop withdrawal.

Among Republicans, 73% say they want Congress to fund the war without conditions.

One implication of those numbers is that a Democrat who acknowledges that ultimately the party will accede to Bush is likely to face attacks from the party's antiwar wing — as happened to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) two weeks ago when he predicted that Congress would eventually pass the funding without stringent conditions.

The Times/Bloomberg poll interviewed 1,373 respondents by telephone nationwide under the supervision of poll Director Susan Pinkus. The survey's margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The poll found that Americans have grown more pessimistic since the beginning of the year.

About two-thirds, 66%, said they believed the country is "seriously off on the wrong track," up from 61% in a Times/Bloomberg Poll in January.

Bush received a positive job approval rating from 36% of those interviewed, down from 39% in January (and well below a 45% approval rating he registered in a similar survey in September).

The Democratic-led Congress has seen its luster dim.

In a poll before November's election, only 30% of respondents said they approved of the job the Republican-led Congress was doing.

After Democrats had assumed control of the House and Senate, a poll in March found 41% approving of the job they were doing. In the new poll, 34% of respondents said they approved of the job Congress was doing.

"The honeymoon is definitely over," Pinkus said.

Sidney Spiegel, 87, a retired hydrogeologist in Littleton, Colo., who responded to the poll, said of the legislators: "They're holding investigations, but they aren't taking care of things they should have fixed years ago, like Social Security."

Asked whether the Democratic-led Congress has launched its current wave of investigations into conduct by the Bush administration out of genuine concern for government ethics or to gain political advantage, 63% of respondents said the aim was political.

One piece of encouraging news for Bush: a majority of respondents in both parties said they favor changes to immigration policy that combine tougher enforcement of existing laws with a program to provide temporary "guest worker" visas for undocumented workers.

A strong majority of respondents, 77%, said employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants should be punished. That included 87% of Republicans and 72% of Democrats.

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