Despite having nine choices, today a large minority of the public says there is not a Democrat running who they would vote for over George W. Bush.

And while Connecticut Sen. Joe (search) Lieberman is the Democratic candidate pluralities of Americans think is the most honest and trustworthy and the one with the best knowledge of the issues, the latest FOX News poll shows that over half of voters are still clearly unfamiliar with most of the contenders.

Over a third (37 percent) of Americans say there is a Democratic candidate they would vote for over President Bush, 44 percent say there is not an announced candidate they would vote over Bush, and 19 percent are unsure, according to this week's FOX News poll. Of those saying there is a Democrat they would support over Bush, a plurality says they would vote for "any or several" of the Democrats rather than the president.

Retired Gen. Wesley Clark (search) bests Lieberman by only two percentage points (well within the poll's margin of error) on the question of which Democrat running has the strongest leadership qualities. Lieberman is the only candidate to receive double-digits on the questions of which Democratic candidate is the most honest and trustworthy (16 percent) and which has the best knowledge of the issues (18 percent).

Most strikingly, over half of voters are unsure or have no opinion on these candidate questions.

In this week's poll, the race for the Democratic Party's nomination splits about five ways, with Clark receiving the most support (among self-identified Democrats who are registered to vote) at 13 percent, followed closely by former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (search) (12 percent), Lieberman (11), Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (search) (10) and Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt (search) (nine percent).

Opinion Dynamics Corporation conducted the national telephone poll of registered voters October 14-15.

The remaining candidates all receive less than five percent support: North Carolina Sen. John Edwards (search) (three percent), former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun (search) (three percent), Rev. Al Sharpton (search) (two percent) and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich (search) (two percent). Over a quarter of Democrats (27 percent) say they are not sure which candidate they would support if the primary were held today.

Support for Clark is down seven percentage points from September polling, when he was receiving considerable media coverage following his announcement to join the race. Now retired, Clark was a general in the U.S. Army and is still referred to as Gen. Clark. Over half of the public (56 percent) think people are more likely to vote for Clark because of his title, 18 percent say people are less likely, and 16 percent think Clark's title will not make any difference.

"This race is still wide open," comments Opinion Dynamics President John Gorman. "While Clark has a resume advantage and Dean has a money advantage, the majority of Americans and of Democrats simply does not know these people well enough to make a choice."

Making Sense on the Economy

The public is divided over which political party "makes the most sense" when talking about the economy — 36 percent say the Democrats and 33 percent say Republicans, six percent say both parties make sense and 15 percent say neither does.

Not surprisingly, each party thinks their party makes the most sense, but what about people who consider themselves independents?

Independents give the same amount of minority support to each party (about 20 percent), but a 33 percent plurality says neither Democrats nor Republicans make sense when talking about the economy and 10 percent of independents say both parties make sense.

It is clear that Americans want someone to make sense on the issue of the nation's economy, as 45 percent say the economy is "getting worse" compared to 35 percent who say it feels like the economy is "getting better" (and 18 percent say it is staying the same).

To pay for things like reducing the federal deficit and rebuilding Iraq, the poll finds that the public is generally more likely to favor canceling some of the 2003 tax cuts for higher income individuals than to favor increasing taxes.

Polling was conducted by telephone October 14-15, 2003 in the evenings. The sample is 900 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of ±3 percentage points. 

1. For you and your family, does it feel like the economy is getting better or worse?

1. Better 35%
2. Worse 45
3. (Same) 18
4. (Not sure) 2

For you and your family, does it feel like the economy is getting stronger or not?

Stronger Not stronger (Not sure)
9-10 Sep 03 42% 49 9
17-18 Jun 03 37% 55 8
24-25 Sep 02 26% 63 11

2. Who do you think makes the most sense when talking about the economy -- Democrats or Republicans?

All Dem Rep Ind
1. Democrats 36% 72% 7% 22%
2. Republicans 33 8 70 21
3. (Both) 6 4 6 10
4. (Neither) 15 8 8 33
5. (Not sure) 10 8 9 14

3. SPLIT SAMPLE (Sample A, n=457) Would you favor or oppose paying more taxes for each of the following? (Sample B, n=443) Would you favor or oppose canceling some of the 2003 tax cuts for higher income people for each of the following?
SCALE: 1. Favor 2. Oppose 3. (Not sure)

--- Sample A --- --- Sample B ---
Favor Oppose (NS) Favor Oppose (NS)
To help reduce the
federal budget deficit?
35% 57 8 58 30 12
To help pay for the
cost of the war in Iraq?
32% 62 6 47 45 8
To pay for rebuilding
and settingup a stable
government in Iraq?
31% 63 6 43 47 10
To pay for health care
for all Americans?
73% 22 5 70 22 8

4. 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 thistime?) (RANDOMIZE)

                             ----- Summary Among Democrats (n=345) -----

Clark 13%
Dean 12
Lieberman 11
Kerry 10
Gephardt 9
Edwards 3
Braun 3
Sharpton 2
Kucinich 2
(Else/Other) -
(Not sure) 27
(Would not vote) 8

                     • Retired Gen. Wesley Clark

Dem Ind
14-15 Oct 03 13% 11%
23-24 Sep 03 20 16

                     • Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman

Dem Ind
14-15 Oct 03 11 9%
23-24 Sep 03 9 8
9-10 Sep 03 16 17
12-13 Aug 03 18 15
17-18 Jun 03 15 20

                     • Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry

Dem Ind
14-15 Oct 03 10% 7%
23-24 Sep 03 10 8
9-10 Sep 03 17 11
12-13 Aug 03 13 7
17-18 Jun 03 15 16

                     • Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt

Dem Ind
14-15 Oct 03 9% 6%
23-24 Sep 03 9 6
9-10 Sep 03 6 9
12-13 Aug 03 12 8
17-18 Jun 03 7 10

                     • North Carolina Sen. John Edwards

Dem Ind
14-15 Oct 03 3% 2%
23-24 Sep 03 5 5
9-10 Sep 03 4 3
12-13 Aug 03 3 3
17-18 Jun 03 5 3

                     • Former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun

Dem Ind
14-15 Oct 03 3% 1%
23-24 Sep 03 2 3
9-10 Sep 03 3 1
12-13 Aug 03 4 2
17-18 Jun 03 3 1

                     • Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean

Dem Ind
14-15 Oct 03 12% 10%
23-24 Sep 03 13 9
9-10 Sep 03 14 11
12-13 Aug 03 11 7
17-18 Jun 03 4 4

                     • New York Rev. Al Sharpton

Dem Ind
14-15 Oct 03 2% 3%
23-24 Sep 03 3 3
9-10 Sep 03 2 2
12-13 Aug 03 5 3
17-18 Jun 03 2 2

                     • Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich

Dem Ind
14-15 Oct 03 2% 1%
23-24 Sep 03 1 1
9-10 Sep 03 2 1
12-13 Aug 03 2 -
17-18 Jun 03 2 3

                     • (Someone else/Other)

Dem Ind
14-15 Oct 03 -% -%
23-24 Sep 03 5 5
9-10 Sep 03 7 7
12-13 Aug 03 5 11
17-18 Jun 03 8 9

                     • (Not sure)

Dem Ind
14-15 Oct 03 27% 33%
23-24 Sep 03 19 25
9-10 Sep 03 24 31
12-13 Aug 03 22 31
17-18 Jun 03 33 23

                     • (Would not vote)

Dem Ind
14-15 Oct 03 8% 17%
23-24 Sep 03 2 8
9-10 Sep 03 2 6
12-13 Aug 03 3 6
17-18 Jun 03 1 5

5. Of the nine candidates running for the Democratic nomination, is there a candidate you would vote for over George Bush? If yes, which one? (OPEN – DO NOT READ NAMES)

  ---All--- ---Dem--- ---Ind---
1. Yes 37% 64% 36%
(Wesley Clark) 6% 10% 6%
(Joe Lieberman) 5 9 3
(Howard Dean) 4 7 6
(John Kerry) 3 5 2
(Dick Gephardt) 3 5 2
(Al Sharpton) 2 2 2
(John Edwards) 1 1 -
(Carol Moseley Braun) 1 2 -
(Dennis Kucinich) 1 2 1
(All, any, several) 12 20 13
2. No   44 20 38
3. (Not sure)   19 16 25

6. Which Democratic presidential candidate do you think: Is the most honest and trustworthy? Has the strongest leadership qualities? Has the best knowledge of the issues?

Honest &
Trustworthy
Strongest
Leadership
Best Knowledge
of the Issues
Joe Lieberman 16% 11% 18%
John Kerry 5 6 7
Howard Dean 6 5 5
Dick Gephardt 4 7 8
Wesley Clark 7 13 6
John Edwards 2 2 1
Al Sharpton 1 1 1
Carol Moseley Braun 1 1 1
Dennis Kucinich 1 1 1
(Not sure) 57 53 52

7. Last week Florida Senator Bob Graham dropped out of the Democratic presidential race. Which one of the nine remaining Democratic presidential candidates do you think should drop out of the race next?

All Dem
Al Sharpton 20% 22%
Dennis Kucinich 7 6
Joe Lieberman 5 5
Carol Moseley Braun 5 5
Howard Dean 3 3
Dick Gephardt 3 3
John Kerry 2 2
Wesley Clark 2 2
John Edwards 2 2
(Not sure) 51 50

8. Do you think people are more likely or less likely to vote for retired General Wesley Clark because of his title – that is because he was a general in the military?

1. More likely 56%
2. Less likely 18
3. (No difference) 16
4. (Not sure) 10