President Bush is far ahead of the three most popular Democrats in head-to-head matchups, even though the public has concerns about his economic leadership and his empathy for ordinary people, according to a new poll.
Bush leads Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (search), Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman and Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt by almost identical margins in the three matchups. The president gets the support of six in 10 while the Democratic candidate gets the support of just over a third, according to an ABC News-Washington Post national poll, released Saturday.
The others were in single digits. Former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun had 6 percent, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards 4 percent, Al Sharpton 3 percent, Florida Sen. Bob Graham 3 percent, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean 3 percent, and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich 2 percent.
The poll indicated a possible opening for Democrats because half of those polled said the economy was worse now than when the president took office. Nearly half said he doesn't understand the problems of average people.
But for now, Bush's overwhelming support on national security and homeland security appeared to trump those concerns.
Recent state polls of the Democratic race have shown Gephardt ahead in Iowa, Lieberman ahead in South Carolina and Kerry ahead in New Hampshire. A new Mason-Dixon poll of New Hampshire voters taken April 23-26 gave Kerry the lead with 28 percent, with Dean at 21 percent, Lieberman at 14 percent and Gephardt at 11 percent. Other candidates were in the low single digits and 23 percent were undecided. The New Hampshire poll of 327 likely Democratic primary voters had an error margin of plus or minus 5.5 percentage points.
The ABC-Post poll of 1,105 adults was taken April 27-30 and has an error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points, larger for subgroups like Democrats.