The New York Times Surveys: Poll Shows Tie; Concerns Cited on Both Rivals: Mr. Bush's job approval rating is at 44 percent, a dangerously low number for an incumbent president, and one of the lowest of his tenure. A majority of voters said that they disapproved of the way Mr. Bush had managed the economy and the war in Iraq, and - echoing a refrain of Mr. Kerry's - that his tax cuts had favored the wealthy. Voters said that Mr. Kerry would do a better job of preserving Social Security, creating jobs and ending the war in Iraq.
But a majority of Americans continue to see Mr. Kerry as an untrustworthy politician who will say what he thinks people want to hear. More than half of respondents said they considered him liberal, reflecting a dominant line of attack by Mr. Bush this fall.
It's a testament to Bush's shameless campaign that his team has managed to paint Kerry as lacking in truth or resolve. To get a sense of Kerry, listen to him in any of the three debates. Then, compare this with his Winter Soldier testimony in the documentary Going Upriver (torrent). This guy is ramrod-straight in his willingness to speak difficult, unpleasant truths.
Compare this with Bush, a guy who says he's never made a major mistake as President, thinks Iraq is going well, says our troops have enough equipment, that an insurgency our own military cannot suppress will be dealt with by an Iraqi police force that does not yet exist, and that Iraqis are happy we are in their country.