By ALAN FRAM
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - People think the Democratic-led Congress is doing just as dreary a job as President Bush, following four months of bitter political standoffs that have seen little progress on Iraq and a host of domestic issues.
An AP-Ipsos poll also found that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a more popular figure than the president and her colleagues on Capitol Hill, though she faces a gender gap in which significantly more women than men support her.
The survey found only 35 percent approve of how Congress is handling its job, down 5 percentage points in a month. That gives lawmakers the same bleak approval rating as Bush, who has been mired at about that level since last fall, including his dip to a record low for the AP-Ipsos poll of 32 percent last January.
"It's mostly Iraq" plus a lack of progress in other areas, said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., who heads the House GOP's campaign committee. "These are not good numbers for an incumbent, and it doesn't matter if you have an R or a D next to your name."
Democrats agree the problem is largely Iraq, which has dominated this year's session of Congress while producing little more than this month's Bush veto of a bill requiring the withdrawal of U.S. troops. It has also overshadowed House-passed bills on stem cell research, student loans and other subjects that the White House opposes, they say.
"People are unhappy, there hasn't been a lot of change in direction, for example in Iraq," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., chairman of House Democrats' campaign effort.
The telephone survey of 1,000 adults was taken Monday through Wednesday and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.