The latest Newsweek Poll shows mixed news for President Bush:

With news that the economy grew at a surprisingly robust 7.2 percent annual rate and that some 300,000 new jobs were added during the third quarter, an increasing number of voters say they approve of the way the President George W. Bush is handling the economy, according to the latest NEWSWEEK poll. While more registered voters say they disapprove rather than approve of the way Bush is handling the economy (48 percent vs. 44 percent), the margin has narrowed considerably since October̢۪s 37 percent vs. 56 percent.

YET BUSH̢۪S LEAD against the five leading Democratic contenders-Howard Dean, Wesley Clark, John Kerry, Joe Lieberman, and Richard Gephardt-has shrunk to a low of 4 points, vs. 6 points a month ago. Dean continues to poll best against Bush, with 45 percent of respondents saying they would vote for him, compared to 49 percent for Bush. Last month, 43 percent would have voted for Dean and 49 percent Bush. In a race against Clark, Bush would win 48 percent of the vote vs. 45 percent for Clark. Last month, those numbers were 49 percent and 43 percent.

Interesting. The head-to-head numbers in the Newsweek poll seem far better for the Democratic contenders than I’ve seen elsewhere.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.