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Most polled see bribery as way of life in Washington

WASHINGTON -- Many Americans view the bribing of lawmakers by lobbyists in Washington as business as usual, and public disapproval of Congress is at a 10-year high, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll.

Seventy-seven percent of those surveyed said bribes are ''the way things work in Congress," compared with 16 percent who said corruption is isolated, the poll found. Sixty-one percent said they disapprove of the job Congress is doing, up from 39 percent a year ago.

In the past three months, former lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty to conspiracy to corrupt public officials in a continuing federal investigation and former Representative Randy Cunningham, Republican of California, pleaded guilty to taking bribes to help a defense contractor.

While 36 percent of those surveyed blamed each party equally for corruption, 28 percent said Republicans were more likely to take a bribe and 13 percent said Democrats were more likely to be corrupt. Republicans have majority control of both chambers of Congress.

The poll also found dissatisfaction with the way President Bush is doing his job. Forty-two percent said they approve of the way he is doing his job, compared with 51 percent who said they disapprove. Bush's approval rating is up from 35 percent in October.

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