Voters say they will put leadership above a candidate’s political party and issue positions when it comes to deciding their vote for president, and today half say they would be more likely to vote to re-elect President Bush than for the Democratic candidate in the next election.

By 51 percent to 30 percent, Americans say they would vote for George W. Bush if the 2004 presidential election were held today, according to the latest FOX News national poll of registered voters. Fully 90 percent of Republicans plan to stick with their party leader, and 73 percent of those approving of the job Bush is doing as president say they would vote to re-elect him. Men are only slightly more likely than women to support President Bush (54 percent to 49 percent respectively).

"President Bush's support seems to be holding up," comments Opinion Dynamics President John Gorman. "However, the poll also points to some potential problems for his campaign: declining feelings that the Iraq war was worth it; high levels of concern about the economy; and skepticism from almost half the voters about whether the tax cuts will benefit them. The question, of course, is whether any of the Democratic candidates is capable of emerging and challenging him on these issues."

The poll, which was conducted June 17-18 by Opinion Dynamics Corporation, also finds that Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman (search) and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (search) currently lead the contenders for the Democratic nomination. Among Democratic voters, Lieberman and Kerry tie with 15 percent each, followed by Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt (search) at seven percent, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards (search) and Florida Sen. Bob Graham (search) both at five percent and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (search) at four percent.

Rounding out the list of nine Democratic hopefuls, three percent would vote for former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun (search), while two percent would vote for Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich (search) and New York Minister Al Sharpton (search). One third of Democrats are not sure which candidate they would vote for in a 2004 primary.

What would Democrats like to see in their presidential nominee? Majorities prefer the Democratic candidate to have opposed the war with Iraq (56 percent), opposed the Bush tax cuts (55 percent), and to support a national health care plan (81 percent).

Overall, when voters are asked which factor will be most important in deciding their vote for president, a 47 percent plurality says "leadership abilities,” with 30 percent placing the candidate’s position on the issues on top and only six percent saying political party will be the deciding factor.

Republicans are strongest in their prioritization of leadership, as 53 percent say it will matter most in their vote for president compared to 43 percent of Democrats and 45 percent of independents.

Clinton for Mayor?

Given the recent speculation about former President Bill Clinton running for mayor in New York City, the poll asked voters if they would support for him in their city. About one-third of Americans (34 percent) say they would vote for Clinton if he were to run for local office in their area, but 60 percent say they would not.

There is a wide partisan gap (but no gender gap) on this hypothetical vote, with 67 percent of Democrats saying they would vote for Clinton compared to only seven percent of Republicans.

Some people (22 percent) think it is likely that Clinton will run for mayor of the Big Apple, a few (13 percent) think Clinton will become the first "first spouse” in the White House when his wife Hillary is elected president, but the plurality (37 percent) thinks it is more likely that he will find himself involved in another scandal.

And with the sales success of New York Sen. Hillary Clinton’s new book, under half (45 percent) of Americans say they think most people are buying the book because they want to read it, while a third think people are buying it because it seems like "a popular thing to do,” and seven percent think sales are prompted by people wanting to show her support.

Polling was conducted by telephone June 17-18, 2003 in the evenings. The sample is 900 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of ±3 percentage points. Results are of registered voters, unless otherwise noted. LV = likely voters

I'm going to read the names of some people. Please tell me whether you have a generally favorable or unfavorable opinion of each. If you've never heard of one, please just say so. (RANDOMIZE)
SCALE: 1. Favorable 2. Unfavorable 3.(Can't say) 4. Never heard of

1. George W. Bush

Favorable Unfavorable Can’t say Never heard
17-18 Jun 03 66% 26 8 -
3-4 Jun 03 67% 27 6 -
11-12 Mar 03 62% 29 9 -
14-15 Jan 03 64% 27 8 1
17-18 Dec 02 68% 25 7 -
3-4 Dec 02 65% 27 8 -

2. Hillary Clinton

Favorable Unfavorable Can’t say Never heard
17-18 Jun 03 44% 47 9 -
3-4 Jun 03 44% 47 8 1
17-18 Dec 02 47% 45 8 -
14-15 Nov 01 44% 44 11 1
18-19 Apr 01 42% 49 9 -
14-15 Mar 01 39% 51 10 -
21-22 Feb 01 44% 46 10 -

3. Bill Clinton

Favorable Unfavorable Can’t say Never heard
17-18 Jun 03 41% 52 7 -
11-12 Mar 03 47% 46 7 -
3-4 Dec 02 42% 50 8 -
12-13 Feb 02 45% 47 7 1
12-13 Dec 01 42% 50 8 -
25-26 Jul 01 42% 51 7 -

4. Do you approve or disapprove of the job George W. Bush is doing as president?

Approve Dissapprove (DK)
17-18 Jun 03 65% 25 10
3-4 Jun 03 66% 26 8
20-21 May 03 64% 26 10
6-7 May 03 65% 24 11
22-23 Apr 03 65% 25 10
8-9 Apr 03 71% 20 9

5. There has been speculation about former President Bill Clinton running for mayor of New York City. If Clinton were to run for local office in your area, do you think you would vote for him or not?

Yes No (Not sure)
17-18 Jun 03 34% 60 6
14-15 Mar 01* 30% 65 5

*Wording: “This week there has been a rumor that President Clinton may run for mayor of New York City next year. If Clinton ran for mayor in your city, would you vote for him or not?”

6. Which of the following do you think will happen to Bill Clinton first?

1. He’ll run for mayor of New York City 22%
2. He’ll be the first "First Gentleman" when
    Hillary becomes president
13
3. He’ll become involved in another scandal 37
4. (None will happen) 10
5. (All could happen) 3
6. (Not sure) 15

7. Do you think most of the people who have purchased Hillary Clinton’s book have bought it because:

1. They want to show support for her, 7%
2. They really want to read the book, or because 45
3. It seems like a popular thing to do? 33
4. (Combination) 5
5. (Not sure) 10

8. Which one of the following women do you think is the more powerful woman in the United States today – Hillary Clinton or Oprah Winfrey? (ROTATE)

1. Clinton 28%
2. Winfrey 60
3. (Both) 4
4. (Neither) 4
5. (Not sure) 4

9. I'm going to read you a list of names of some possible candidates for the Democratic nomination for president in the next election. If a 2004 Democratic primary for president were held today, which ONE of the following candidates would you most likely vote for? (If not sure: Well, to whom do you lean at this time?) (RANDOMIZE)

                             SUMMARY
                             Among Democrats (n=301)

Lieberman 15%
Kerry 15
Gephardt 7
Edwards 5
Graham 5
Dean 4
Moseley Braun 3
Kucinich 2
Sharpton 2
(Else/Other) 8
(Not sure) 33
(Would not vote) 1

                              • Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman

Dem Ind
17-18 Jun 03 15% 20%
6-7 May 03 19 13
25-26 Feb 03 15 13
14-15 Jan 03 29 28

                              • Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry

Dem Ind
17-18 Jun 03 15 16
6-7 May 03 12 12
25-26 Feb 03 10 10
14-15 Jan 03 13 17

                              • Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt

Dem Ind
17-18 Jun 03 7 10
6-7 May 03 14 7
25-26 Feb 03 16 13
14-15 Jan 03 15 8

                              • North Carolina Sen. John Edwards

Dem Ind
17-18 Jun 03 5 3
6-7 May 03 5 6
25-26 Feb 03 6 4
14-15 Jan 03 8 8

                              • Former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun

Dem Ind
17-18 Jun 03 3 1
6-7 May 03 2 3
25-26 Feb 03 5 1

                              • Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean

Dem Ind
17-18 Jun 03 4 4
6-7 May 03 5 2
25-26 Feb 03 4 2
14-15 Jan 03 2 2

                              • New York Minister Al Sharpton

Dem Ind
17-18 Jun 03 2 2
6-7 May 03 5 2
25-26 Feb 03 4 3
14-15 Jan 03 5 2

                              • Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich

Dem Ind
17-18 Jun 03 2 3
6-7 May 03 1 2
25-26 Feb 03 2 1

                              • Florida Sen. Bob Graham

Dem Ind
17-18 Jun 03 5 4
6-7 May 03 4 5

                              • (Someone else/Other)

Dem Ind
17-18 Jun 03 8 9
6-7 May 03 3 12
25-26 Feb 03 5 10
14-15 Jan 03 8 11

                              • (Not sure)

Dem Ind
17-18 Jun 03 33 23
6-7 May 03 29 28
25-26 Feb 03 33 43
14-15 Jan 03 20 24

                              • (Would not vote)

Dem Ind
17-18 Jun 03 1 5
6-7 May 03 1 8

10. Which one of the 2004 Democratic presidential candidates would you say is the most liberal in his or her political philosophy?

All Dem Rep Ind
Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt 6% 6% 7% 8%
Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman 9 9 10 9
Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry 5 5 5 4
North Carolina Sen. John Edwards 2 2 3 2
Former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun 4 4 5 4
Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean 3 4 3 3
New York Minister Al Sharpton 7 8 6 7
Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich 2 3 2 4
Florida Sen. Bob Graham 2 2 3 1
(Someone else/Other) 3 1 4 3
(Not sure) 57 56 52 55

11. And which one of the 2004 Democratic presidential candidates would you say is the most conservative in his or her political philosophy?

All Dem Rep Ind
Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt 6% 6% 4% 9%
Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman 15 13 16 17
Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry 3 3 3 4
North Carolina Sen. John Edwards 2 1 3 2
Former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun 1 2 1 1
Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean 1 2 1 -
New York Minister Al Sharpton 1 1 2 1
Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich 1 1 1 1
Florida Sen. Bob Graham 5 6 4 6
(Someone else/Other) 3 1 4 4
(Not sure) 62 63 61 55

12. And finally, which one of the 2004 Democratic presidential candidates would you say is the most moderate in his or her political philosophy?

All Dem Rep Ind
Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt 6% 6% 5% 8%
Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman 8 8 9 10
Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry 6 7 4 10
North Carolina Sen. John Edwards 3 4 3 2
Former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun 1 2 1 1
Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean 1 1 1 1
New York Minister Al Sharpton 1 2 1 1
Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich 1 1 - 1
Florida Sen. Bob Graham 2 4 3 1
(Someone else/Other) 3 2 4 2
(Not sure) 68 63 69 63

SUMMARY (Questions 10-12, among all respondents)

Liberal Moderate Conservative
Dean 3% 1% 1%
Edwards 2 3 2
Gephardt 6 6 6
Graham 2 2 5
Kerry 5 6 3
Kucinich 2 1 1
Lieberman 9 8 15
Moseley Braun 4 1 1
Sharpton 7 1 1

13. If the 2004 presidential election were held today, do you think you would be more likely to vote (to re-elect President Bush) or (for the Democratic candidate)? (ROTATE)
SCALE: 1. Re-elect Bush 2. Vote for Democrat 3. (Depends on Democrat/too soon to say) 4. (Not sure/Undecided)

Re-elect Bush Vote Dem (Depends) (NS)
17-18 Jun 03 51% 30 11 8
22-23 Apr 03 47% 31 16 6
8-9 Apr 03 51% 26 15 8
25-26 Feb 03 42% 38 10 10
19-20 Nov 02 44% 21 27 8
9-10 Jan 02 49% 21 14 16

14. In the next election, which one of the following do you think will matter most in deciding your vote for president? The candidate's:

All Dem Rep Ind
1. Position on the issues 30% 30% 28% 33%
2. Political party, or 6 11 3 3
3. Leadership abilities? 47 43 53 45
4. (Combination) 13 13 12 16
5. (None) 1 1 1 1
6. (Not sure) 3 3 3 2

15. – 18. (Independents and Democrats only, n=495) I’m going to read you some positions on issues and I’d like you to tell me which position you would prefer the Democratic nominee for president next year to hold.

Ind & Dem Dem only
1. The candidate favored the war with Iraq or 38% 30%
2. The candidate opposed the war with Iraq 47 56
3. (Not sure) 15 14
Ind & Dem Dem only
1. The candidate supported the Bush tax cuts
     and would leave them in place
37% 32%
2. The candidate opposed the Bush tax cuts and would seek to repeal many of the cuts 48 55
3. (Not sure) 15 13
Ind & Dem Dem only
1. The candidate supports a national health care plan to insure all Americans 74% 81%
2. The candidate would seek to keep the current health care system much the way it is now 18 13
3. (Not sure) 8 6
Ind & Dem Dem only
1. The candidate should be a liberal 20% 24%
2. The candidate should be a moderate 49 49
3. The candidate should be a conservative 18 17
4. (Not sure) 13 11