Bush Loses Advantage in War on Terrorism
Eight in 10 registered voters said they are following the campaign -- slightly higher than the proportion that was paying similar attention to the 2000 campaign three weeks before the election. One in 10 voters said there was a "good chance" they could change their minds between now and November.
The survey found that Kerry's advantages over Bush extended to a range of issues. When asked which they trusted to do the better job, Kerry held a double-digit advantage over Bush as the candidate the public preferred to deal with health care (21 points), taxes (13 points), prescription drug benefits for the elderly (12 points) and education (10 points), and smaller leads on handling international affairs (8 points), the economy (5 points) and the federal budget deficit (4 points).
In only one area -- Iraq -- was Bush more trusted, 50 percent to 45 percent.
The president is viewed as a stronger leader than Kerry and as the candidate who can be most trusted in a crisis. He is also seen as best able to "make the country safer and more secure" and the one who "takes a position and sticks with it."
But by 52 percent to 39 percent, Kerry is seen as more honest and trustworthy -- a troubling finding for Bush, whose truthfulness before the war in Iraq has been called into question.
The survey also found that eight in 10 Americans support the transfer of power from the U.S.-led coalition to an interim Iraqi government on June 30. Nearly half -- 48 percent -- said it should be Iraqis who have the final say over the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq, while just as many say it should be the Americans. Big majorities said the new Iraqi government and not the United States also should control Iraq's oil industry and handle the distribution of aid from other nations.
A total of 1,201 randomly selected adults, including 1,015 self-described registered voters, were interviewed June 17 to 20 for this telephone survey. The margin of sampling error for the overall results is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Assistant polling director Claudia Deane contributed to this report.
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