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AG "No Confidence:" Public Perspective

Senate Democrats plan a "no confidence" vote today on U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, hoping to apply additional pressure on President Bush to make a change at the helm of the Justice Department.

And what does the public think?

By a wide margin the public disapproves of how Gonzales has handled the controversial firing of nine chief federal prosecutors, but there is less agreement about whether he should lose his job over the matter.

In the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll, a quarter of Americans approved of Gonzales' handling of the issue, while more than twice as many disapproved. (Twenty-three percent expressed no opinion.)

At the same time, there was a more even divide on whether he should lose his position: 43 percent said his handling of the firings should cost him his job, 35 percent thought he should remain the nation's top law enforcement officer. Again, nearly a quarter of people had no opinion on this question.

Since April, disapproval of Gonzales' handling of the issue dipped six points to 52 percent, but his approval rating was essentially unchanged ("don't know" answers went up) and the percentage saying that he should remain in his post ticked downward (from 39 to 35 percent).

As was the case six weeks ago, the poll released last week showed how deeply answers to these questions vary across party lines.

In the Post-ABC News poll, 64 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of independents disapproved of Gonzales' handling of the matter, compared with 32 percent of Republicans.

57 percent of Democrats, 45 percent of independents and 24 percent of Republicans said he should lose his job.

Now it's the Senate's turn to weigh in...

This Post-ABC News poll was conducted by telephone May 29-June 1, among a random national sample of 1,205 adults. The results have a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Full details available at

25. On another subject: There have been congressional hearings recently about how and why the Department of Justice fired nine chief federal prosecutors. Do you approve or disapprove of the way U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has handled this issue?

Approve 25%
Disapprove 52%
No opinion 23%

26. Given this issue do you think Gonzales should (lose his job) as attorney general, or (remain in his position)?

Lose his job 43%
Remain in his position 35%
No opinion 22%

4/15/07 (on same question)
Lose his job 45%
Remain in his position 39%
No opinion 16%

By Jon Cohen  |  June 11, 2007; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Post Polls  
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