Senators, Bush earn low marks


Oregon voters dislike the job being done by President Bush and Congress, and are starting to lose some of their enthusiasm for U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Gordon Smith, a new statewide poll has found.

The numbers for Bush were particularly weak, with one out of every two voters giving him the lowest possible ranking &

"very unfavorable," according to the poll conducted for The Oregonian newspaper and KGW-TV.

"These are some of the worst numbers we've ever seen," said pollster Adam Davis, of the Portland firm Davis, Hibbitts and Midghall, which did the survey.

Thirty-four percent of voters gave favorable ratings for Congress, compared with 45 percent who rated it unfavorably. The poll sampled 400 registered voters statewide, and was conducted June 15-20. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

As for Wyden and Smith, they had favorable ratings of 54 percent and 46 percent, respectively. In early 2005, favorability ratings for Wyden and Smith stood about 10 percentage points higher, Davis said.

Davis said it appears that "everyone is being pulled down" by the increasing unhappiness with the Bush administration.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski had a favorable rating of 47 percent. The Legislature, meanwhile, had a 36 percent favorable rating and a 30 percent unfavorable rating.

"Obviously, we've got a lot of work to do" to win over the public, Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, told The Oregonian. Courtney said he hopes voter attitudes will improve when this session ends, but thinks that will depend on how it's portrayed in the news media.

"We'll try to spin it (positively), but nobody will believe us," he said.

If you include the 25 percent who said they are "neutral" in their feelings toward the Legislature, that's a large chunk of people who don't actively dislike it, Courtney said.

"I'll take 'neutral' any day," he said.

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