Heavily Democratic New York is showing growing support for President Bush over all potential Democratic challengers, including the state's own Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, a poll showed.
Bush's approval rating among New Yorkers rose to 58 percent from 50 percent in February, before the war in Iraq, according to the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute poll released Thursday. About 91 percent of Republicans polled approved of Bush along with 38 percent of the Democrats.
"That a president fresh off a wartime win would poll higher than most wannabes isn't surprising," institute director Maurice Carroll said. "What will surprise many is that President Bush does so well against Senator Clinton."
In the 2000 presidential race, Bush didn't campaign in New York and Democrat Al Gore swept to victory. A Republican hasn't won a presidential election in New York since Ronald Reagan in 1984.
Thirty-one percent of the poll respondents said they were more likely to vote for Bush in 2004 as a result of the Iraq war. Twenty-eight percent said they were less likely to vote for him, and 38 percent said their position hasn't changed because of the war.
The April 15-21 poll surveyed 885 registered voters in New York state and had a sampling margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.
-- Clinton, who has repeatedly said she intends to complete her Senate term and not run for president in 2004, had a 52 percent approval rating; 59 percent of those polled wanted her to pass up the 2004 presidential campaign. Bush was favored by 90 percent of Republicans while Clinton was favored by 72 percent of Democrats.
-- Bush was favored 50 percent to 38 percent over Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman as well as Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry in potential presidential faceoffs.
--Bush was favored 49 percent to 38 percent over Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri in a presidential matchup.
State Democratic Chairman Herman Farrell discounted the poll.
"Americans are a patriotic people and we stand by one another in times of trouble and uncertainty, and this poll reflects that reality in regard to voters approving of President Bush," Farrell said. "As New Yorkers and other Americans begin to focus on a range of issues -- the economy, education, health care -- we'll get a real picture of how voters feel about George W. Bush and I am sure it won't be pretty."
State Republican Chairman Alexander Treadwell said Bush's support transcends the war in Iraq.
"The president had strong support in New York state before the war," Treadwell said. "I am very confident the president will carry the state next year."