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Just 1 in 3 Americans Happy at Bush Reforms

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Saturday July 13, 12:51 pm Eastern Time

Reuters Company News

Just one-in-three Americans happy at Bush reforms

WASHINGTON, July 13 (Reuters) - Only about one-in-three Americans think President George W. Bush's proposals for a crack-down on corporate wrongdoing are tough enough and only half think Bush behaved responsibly when he served as a corporate executive, according to a poll released on Saturday.

The July 11-12 Newsweek Poll of 1,000 adults found only 34 percent saw Bush's corporate reform proposals as "about right," while 47 percent said they were not tough enough. Three percent said they were too tough while 16 percent had no opinion.

A slim majority of 51 percent approved of Bush's response overall to recent business scandals at Enron Corp. (Other OTC:ENRNQ.PK - News), WorldCom (NasdaqNM:WCOME - News) and other companies, while 32 percent said they disapproved of his response.

Opinions of reform legislation passed this week by the U.S. Senate were not much better, with 48 percent of those polled saying it would have only a minor effect on future corporate malfeasance, 26 percent saying it would have a major effect and 14 percent seeing no effect whatsoever.

As to Bush's conduct as a private executive and board member of various companies, 23 percent of those polled said he did not behave responsibly in their view while 27 percent expressed no opinion on his behavior.

Only 35 percent expressed confidence in Vice President Dick Cheney's behavior as a private executive, while 27 percent said they did not think he had behaved responsibly in that capacity.

As to the overall state of the U.S. economy, nearly half (48 percent) characterized it as "only fair" while 28 percent saw current economic conditions as "poor." Just 21 percent saw the current state of the economy as good and a marginal 2 percent saw economic conditions as "excellent."

Still, 45 percent expressed confidence that economic conditions would improve over the coming year, against 16 percent who saw conditions deteriorating. Thirty-five percent expected economic conditions to remain about the same.

And Americans' personal economic outlooks reflected their negative outlook on the economy overall:

Thirty-two percent felt less secure about their jobs, 35 percent said they would not be able to retire as early as they would like and 34 percent say they would not be able to afford the kind of lifestyle to which they had grown accustomed.

The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.

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