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L.A Times/Bloomberg poll: Views on the U.S. economy a bit better

As gasoline prices have dropped somewhat in most parts of the country, attitudes about the economy have marginally improved, according to the new L.A. Times/Bloomberg poll.

Also, in this era of sharp and persistent partisan divides, the survey finds there are some matters the vast majority of Americans can agree on -- namely, that the job performances of President Bush and, even more so, lawmakers on Capitol Hill leave much to be desired.

Asked to rate the nation's economy, 76% of those interviewed from Friday through Monday termed it in sad shape. That's a big number, but it's down from the 82% who gave the economy a poor grade in a comparable poll in June.

Also, poll director Susan Pinkus notes that those saying the economy is doing well rose to 22% this month, compared to 15% in the June survey.

The public's perception on Bush underscored why so many political analysts see it as essential to John McCain's presidential hopes that he disassociate himself as much as possible from his fellow Republican. Bush's approval/disapproval rating stands at 25%/71% in the new poll. Two months ago, it was roughly the same, 23%/73%.

The view of Congress is worse; even as Democrats seem poised to increase their majorities in both the House and Senate, the public gives failing marks to the institution they control. Just 17% said they approved of the way Congress is handling its job; 73% expressed disapproval.

Given those numbers, it's no surprise McCain revels in saying on the campaign trail -- almost always to an appreciative laugh -- that the two things lawmakers never miss are a pay raise and a vacation. He does not add that he has served in the House or Senate since 1983.

-- Don Frederick

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I could be wrong, but didn't something similar happen in '04? Didn't gas prices drop off from a high point, just months before Election Day?

Speculating that the price decline has a political agenda behind it is not exactly a stretch. The energy conglomerates know that they will have a much higher profit margin under a Republican administration. It almost makes sense that they would not want prices to be at their peak right before an election, as that would spell utter defeat for the GOP.

It will be interesting to see if gas prices spike if we get a major gulf hurricane this year. If such a calamity does not yield a hike we will have our answer as to what is going on with the pricing. These companies know that any resumption of price hikes prior to the election will cost them votes.

MaCain has been always in WAR- MODE.

Bellicose attitude.

He can't think OUT of the BOX.

On his part, the WAR can last 100 years more.

Himself said that does not have any idea about the economy.

We had actors and crooked OLD politicians before, with "experience". But did not made any difference for the sake of our country.

We have a bad economy because the wrong handle of Funds.

We WASTE our MONEY in the WAR.

ABORTION ? That is some else choice, if she has to be judge.... let it to GOD to do it.

Is government reponsibility to give sexual education to the people. When people have the right sexual education, we won't have this problem about abortion issues.

Religion should NOT be involve in Politics, that is just happen in the middle east, where Democracy does not exist!


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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