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Carter's Approval Rating Drops to Record Low 19%


NEW YORK--Americans now give President Carter the lowest job rating of any president in nearly three decades, according to the results of an Associated Press-NBC News poll released yesterday.

Nineteen per cent of those surveyed last Monday and Tuesday rated Carter's work excellent or good, the poll showed. That approval rating was down six points from Carter's previous low in July. The 19 per cent rating is the lowest any president has received since the poll began in the 1950s.

Fifty-six per cent of the public said Carter is not tough enough in dealing with the Soviet Union, and only 10 per cent gave him an excellent or good rating for his handling of the economy. On foreign policy, 22 per cent gave Carter top ratings, down 11 points from July.

A fourth of the Democrats polled gave Carter an excellent or good rating overall, down eight points from July and 53 per cent of the people who said they voted for Carter in 1976 now say they do not want him to run in 1980.

Despite Carter's continued poor showing in the polls, his mother, Lillian Carter, said yesterday she still believes her son can win the Democratic nomination even if Sen. Edward M. Kennedy '54 (D-Mass.) challenges him.

She said she hopes Kennedy will not seek the Democratic nomination because "I'd hate to see him get beat. I like the Kennedys."

Miss Lillian also said she had no regrets about her comment last week that if Kennedy sought the nomination she hoped nothing would happen to him. She said she made the remark out of motherly concern and that newsmen covering her speech had to pick out something, so they took it out of the clear blue sky."

Carter's mother was in New York yesterday to endorse a new line of cookware.

Meanwhile, in Washington, Sen. Howard H. Baker Jr. (R-Tenn.) said yesterday the Chappaquiddick accident would not be a legitimate issue in the 1980 presidential campaign if Kennedy is the Democratic nominee.

Baker, who is an unannounced candidate for the Republican nomination, said if he and Kennedy are the major party presidential candidates, he "would never mention Chappaquiddick."

A race against Kennedy would be "eminently winnable," Baker said, adding that the major issue would be whether Kennedy "is in step with what the country wants now." He also said the voters would "quickly sort out the nostalgia from the record on issues."

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