"The thing he did so well since 9/11 was terrorism, which was international," said Frank Newport, Gallup editor in chief. "He never did as well on anything domestic as he did when it came to issues like protecting the U.S. from terrorism."
With Americans now focusing more on economic issues such as the soaring price of gasoline, the president's stature is beginning to suffer.
"Ratings of the economy are down," Mr. Newport said. "To the degree that Americans don't focus on terrorism or overseas, and do focus domestically, our data suggest Americans aren't all that happy domestically at the moment."
Pollster Matthew Dowd, who was chief strategist for the president's re-election campaign, agreed.
"If you look at people's satisfaction about where the country is, it's dropped dramatically in the last month," he said. "People are less worried about terrorism and more worried about their own situation at home -- the price of gas, nervousness about the economy."
Mr. Dowd said Americans also are expressing their dissatisfaction with Congress.
"The interesting thing is that this is not isolated to the president," he said. "The country's generally unhappy, and maybe they think the Terri Schiavo case is taking away from things that Congress or Washington ought to be working on."