A new poll underlines sagging support for the President, and the Iraq War.

A new poll on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack shows Bush?s approval rating at 38 percent ? the first time it?s dipped below 40 percent in regular surveys for The Dispatch by Saperstein Associates.

Also for the first time, fewer than one in three say the war is worth the toll in American lives and other costs.

Just 36 percent now approve of Bush?s handling of the war. While that?s only a 1 point drop from a year ago, it?s barely half the percentage of April 2003, just after the U.S. invasion.

“From what I?ve seen of it we?re just wasting money and wasting troops,” said poll respondent Michael May, 54, a warehouse worker from the East Side. “You?ve got to think of the families and what they?re going through and what it?s cost them.”

Some other factoids…

  • More than 60 percent want either a timetable for American withdrawal or the troops to return home as soon as possible, despite war supporters? frequent derision of such sentiments as “cut and run.”
  • Only a third agree with Bush?s contention that the military action in Iraq is a major part of the war on terrorism.
  • Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld should either resign or be fired, say 43 percent; 41 percent want him to stay.
  • The only slight ray of optimism for Bush is that the percentage of those who say the war is going badly for the U.S. fell 3 points to 60 percent from September 2005 to today.
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