New York: For the first time since the Presidential race became a two person contest last spring, there is a clear leader, the latest TIME poll shows. If the 2004 election for President were held today, 52% of likely voters surveyed would vote for President George W. Bush, 41% would vote for Democratic nominee John Kerry, and 3% would vote for Ralph Nader, according to a new TIME poll conducted from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2. Poll results are available on TIME.com and will appear in the upcoming issue of TIME magazine, on newsstands Monday, Sept. 6.
Most important issues: When asked what they consider are the most important issues, 25% of registered voters cited the economy as the top issue, followed by 24% who cited the war on terrorism as the top issue. The situation in Iraq was rated the top issue by 17% of registered voters, moral values issues such as gay marriage and abortion were the top issue for 16% of respondents, and health care was the most important issue for 11% of respondents.
Bush vs. Kerry:
The economy: 47% trust President Bush more to handle the economy, while 45% trust Kerry.
Health care: 48% trust Senator Kerry to handle health care issues, while 42% trust Bush.
Iraq: 53% trust Bush to handle the situation in Iraq, while 41% trust Kerry.
Terrorism: 57% trust Bush to handle the war on terrorism, while 36% trust Kerry.
Understanding the needs of people: 47% said they trust Kerry to understand the needs of people like themselves, while 44% trusted Bush to understand their needs.
Providing strong leadership: 56% said they trust Bush to provide strong leadership in difficult times, while 37% said they trust Kerry to provide leadership in difficult times.
Tax policy: 49% trust Bush to handle tax policy, while 40% trust Kerry.
Commanding the Armed Forces: 54% said they trust Bush to be commander-in-chief of the armed forces, while 39% said they trust Kerry.
Bush on the Issues:
Iraq: Half (50%) of those surveyed approve of the way President Bush is handling the situation in Iraq, while 46% disapprove. In last week’s TIME poll, 48% approved of the way Bush was handling the situation in Iraq and 48% disapproved.
Terrorism: Almost two thirds (59%) said they approve of how President Bush is handling the war on terrorism, while 38% disapprove. Last week’s TIME poll found 55% approved of Bush’s handling of the war on terrorism, while 40% disapproved.
The Economy: Survey respondents were split on the President’s handling of the economy. Almost half (48%) said the approved of Bush’s handling of the economy, while 48% said the disapproved.
Other results include:
Was U.S. Right Going to War with Iraq? Over half of those surveyed (52%) think the U.S. was right in going to war with Iraq, while 41% think the U.S. was wrong to go to war.
Have the United States’ actions in Iraq made the world safer? Almost half (45%) think the United States’ actions in Iraq have made the world safer, while 45% think the world is more dangerous. In a similar TIME poll taken Aug. 3 5, over half (52%) said the world was more dangerous, and 38% said the world was safer.
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Methodology: The TIME Poll was conducted August 31 September 2 by telephone among a random sample of 1,316 adults, including 1,128 reported registered voters and 926 likely voters. The margin of error for registered voters is +/- 3% points, and +/- 4% points for likely voters. Schulman, Ronca, & Bucuvalas (SRBI) Public Affairs conducted the poll, and more complete results are attached.
Ty Trippet, 212-522-3640
Jennifer Zawadzinski, 212-522-9046