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Poll Shows Disapproval of Cheney Daughter Reference

By Richard Morin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 15, 2004; 5:00 PM

An overwhelming majority of voters believe it was wrong for Democratic nominee John F. Kerry to have mentioned in Wednesday's presidential debate that Vice President Cheney's daughter was a lesbian, according to the latest Washington Post tracking survey.

Nearly two in three likely voters -- 64 percent -- said Kerry's comment was "inappropriate," including more than four in 10 of his own supporters and half of all swing voters. A third -- 33 percent -- thought the remark was appropriate.

Kerry mentioned that Cheney's daughter was a lesbian in response to a question from moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS News asking the candidates if they believed "homosexuality is a choice?"

After President Bush had answered that he "did not know," Kerry began by saying, " . . . If you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as."

After the debate, Lynne Cheney attacked Kerry for raising the issue of her daughter's sexuality during the debate. Both Cheneys have been open about their daughter's sexual orientation, which had been briefly mentioned by Sen. John Edwards and Cheney in the vice presidential debate the previous week.

The latest Post tracking poll continues to show the race deadlocked, with each candidate receiving 48 percent of the vote. Independent Ralph Nader continues to barely register nationally and gets 1 percent of the hypothetical vote.

But the survey also suggests that Kerry continues to claim a large lead in key battleground states. In these 13 states, Kerry held a 53 percent to 43 percent advantage among likely voters.

A total of 1,555 registered voters were interviewed Tuesday through Thursday nights, including 1,203 likely voters. Margin of sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points for the overall results and plus or minus six percentage points for results from the battleground states and for the question asking views on Kerry's comment about Cheney's daughter, which was asked only of those interviewed Thursday night.

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