http://www.sacbee.com/content/politics/story/14263932p-15076722c.html Bush rating slips into 'uncharted waters' By Clea Benson -- Bee Capitol Bureau Published 12:01 am PDT Sunday, June 4, 2006 Story appeared on Page A3 of The Bee President Bush, whose approval rating in California has dropped four percentage points in just the past month, is edging ever closer to the all-time low performance rating for a president among the state's voters, a new Field Poll has found. The Republican president, with his support now hemorrhaging even among California Republicans, has the approval of only 28 percent of registered voters, a low eclipsed only by the 24 percent approval rating President Richard Nixon got in California just days before he resigned from office in 1974 at the height of the Watergate scandal, the poll found. Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo said the low numbers were unprecedented for a president with a substantial amount of time left to serve. Other presidents with extremely poor ratings -- Nixon, Jimmy Carter and Bush's father, George H.W. Bush -- were on the way out when they sank to such lows. "We're in uncharted waters," DiCamillo said. "We have two and a half more years left in (Bush's) term. That's what makes this unique and kind of begs the question: Can the president recover? He certainly has enough time to do it, but does he have the means?" The survey, which took place in late May, also found a level of pessimism about the U.S. Congress and the direction of the country in general that usually is seen only in times of economic recession, DiCamillo said. Two-thirds of voters feel both the country and Congress are on the wrong track, the survey found. "It's really the war and the way in which business is being conducted in Washington and the standing of the U.S. in the world" that explain the pessimism among voters, DiCamillo said. "It's just the divisiveness and the partisan nature of politics." Though Bush's job performance ratings have been consistently low among Democrats -- who gave him an 86 percent disapproval rating in the latest survey -- his support is now eroding even among Republicans, explaining why he continues to fall in the polls. Last year at this time, California Republican voters approved of Bush's performance by a 4-1 margin, according to a Field Poll. That support has dropped to only 60 percent among Republicans, a 2-1 margin. Bush is also losing favor with nonpartisan California voters. Only 16 percent now approve of the job the president is doing, a drop from 30 percent last year. .