A large minority of Americans would vote for George W. Bush if the election were today, and a plurality thinks he will win the presidential race in 2004. Of the one-third saying the president will lose his reelection bid, the situation in Iraq tops the nation’s economy as the reason they think Bush will not be serving a second term.

In the latest FOX News poll of registered voters, 44 percent say they would vote for President Bush and 38 percent for the Democratic candidate if the 2004 presidential election were held today. Men are stronger supporters of reelecting the president than women (47 percent and 42 percent respectively), and independents say they would be more likely to vote for Bush than the Democrat (40 percent to 29 percent).

The national poll, conducted October 28-29 by Opinion Dynamics Corporation, also finds that 45 percent of Americans think Bush will win the 2004 election while 33 percent disagree and 22 percent are unsure.

A majority of Democrats now thinks Bush will lose next November, with 57 percent saying he will not win, up from 49 percent in early September and 40 percent in May. Republicans remain confident in their party leader’s ability to win reelection despite a dip in confidence from earlier in the year. Today 72 percent of Republicans think President Bush will win in 2004, down from 85 percent in May.

Those thinking Bush will be ousted are most likely to say the reason is Iraq (43 percent), followed by 31 percent saying the economy, 11 percent saying Bush’s character or personal qualities and two percent saying the country’s budget deficit.

The president’s job approval rating held steady this week and stands at 53 percent approve and 37 percent disapprove. Currently there is no gender gap in Bush’s job rating, but the partisan gap remains wide. Fully 86 percent of Republicans approve of Bush’s job performance compared to 27 percent of Democrats and 54 percent of independents.

When asked which of three qualities is the most important in a president, a majority (55 percent) says leadership, 24 percent say intelligence is most important and 12 percent say decisiveness.

Respondents were asked which Democratic presidential candidate held the quality they had identified as most important. Of those saying leadership is the most important quality in a president, 18 percent say retired Gen. Wesley Clark (search) possesses that quality and 16 percent say Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman (search). The other candidates receive single digits and 42 percent say they are “not sure” which Democratic candidate has leadership qualities.

Of those saying intelligence is the most important quality in a president, Clark is again the top choice at 16 percent, followed by Lieberman (12 percent) and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (search) (12 percent).

Of all nine Democratic presidential contenders, Lieberman has the highest favorable rating as well as the highest name recognition. Four in 10 Americans have a favorable opinion of Lieberman, followed by Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt (search) (32 percent), Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (search) (27 percent), Dean (26 percent) and Clark (25 percent).

Several of the candidates are unknown to many Americans. Over half (52 percent) have never heard of Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich (search), 41 percent have never heard of former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun (search) and 39 percent have never heard of North Carolina Sen. John Edwards (search).

None of the Democratic candidates have a favorable rating as high as President Bush’s — which currently stands at 56 percent.

By more than three-to-one, the public says the Democratic candidates are spending more time attacking President Bush than explaining their positions (61 percent to 18 percent). There is a predictable partisan difference on this question, with considerably more Republicans (81 percent) saying the Democratic candidates are spending their time attacking Bush, but even 49 percent of Democrats agree.

Polling was conducted by telephone October 28-29, 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

SUMMARY
Favorable Unfavorable Can’t
Say
Never
heard
George W. Bush 56% 35 9 -
Joe Lieberman 40% 29 20 11
Dick Gephardt 32% 29 22 17
John Kerry 27% 26 22 25
Howard Dean 26% 23 23 28
Wesley Clark 25% 19 25 31
John Edwards 17% 17 27 39
Al Sharpton 15% 47 17 21
Carol Moseley Braun 15% 23 21 41
Dennis Kucinich 9% 15 24 52

1. George W. Bush

Favorable Unfavorable Can’t
Say
Never
heard
28-29 Oct 03 56% 35 9 -
12-13 Aug 03 61% 32 7 -
17-18 Jun 03 66% 26 8 -
3-4 Jun 03 67% 27 6 -
11-12 Mar 03 62% 29 9 -

2. Joe Lieberman

Favorable Unfavorable Can’t
Say
Never
heard
28-29 Oct 03 40% 29 20 11
12-13 Aug 03 42% 28 18 12
3-4 Jun 03 46% 23 18 13
14-15 Jan 03 42% 30 20 8
17-18 Dec 02 42% 25 21 12

3. John Kerry

Favorable Unfavorable Can’t
Say
Never
heard
28-29 Oct 03 27% 26 22 25
12-13 Aug 03 22% 21 23 34
3-4 Jun 03 28% 19 19 34
14-15 Jan 03 25% 16 20 39

4. Wesley Clark

Favorable Unfavorable Can’t
Say
Never
heard
28-29 Oct 03 25% 19 25 31
23-24 Sep 03 24% 11 26 39

5. Carol Moseley Braun

Favorable Unfavorable Can’t
Say
Never
heard
28-29 Oct 03 15% 23 21 41
12-13 Aug 03 11% 16 17 56
3-4 Jun 03 13% 16 17 54

6. Howard Dean

Favorable Unfavorable Can’t
Say
Never
heard
28-29 Oct 03 26% 23 23 28
12-13 Aug 03 19% 16 23 42
3-4 Jun 03 12% 12 20 56
14-15 Jan 03 7% 8 18 67

7. Dick Gephardt

Favorable Unfavorable Can’t
Say
Never
heard
28-29 Oct 03 32% 29 22 17
12-13 Aug 03 30% 27 22 21
3-4 Jun 03 36% 24 19 21
14-15 Jan 03 32% 28 22 18
20-21 May 98 27% 21 25 27

8. Al Sharpton

Favorable Unfavorable Can’t
Say
Never
heard
28-29 Oct 03 15% 47 17 21
12-13 Aug 03 13% 45 16 26
3-4 Jun 03 14% 45 15 26
14-15 Jan 03 10% 46 16 28
22-23 Aug 01 15% 42 15 28

9. Dennis Kucinich

Favorable Unfavorable Can’t
Say
Never
heard
28-29 Oct 03 9% 15 24 52
12-13 Aug 03 6% 12 15 67
3-4 Jun 03 8% 9 13 70

10. John Edwards

Favorable Unfavorable Can’t
Say
Never
heard
28-29 Oct 03 17% 17 27 39
12-13 Aug 03 14% 12 22 52
3-4 Jun 03 17% 13 21 49
14-15 Jan 03 17% 10 23 50

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

Approve Disapprove (DK)
28-29 Oct 03 53% 37 10
14-15 Oct 03 52% 37 11
23-24 Sep 03 50% 40 10
9-10 Sep 03 58% 33 9
12-13 Aug 03 57% 34 9

12. Looking ahead to the next 10 years in the United States, would you describe yourself as optimistic or pessimistic about the future of the country? Is that very (optimistic/pessimistic) or only somewhat (optimistic/pessimistic)?

-- Optimistic -- -- Pessimistic --  
Total Vry Smwht Smwht Vry Total (Not sure)
28-29
Oct 03
73 39% 34 12 8 20 7
8-9
Oct 02* LV
82 44% 38 10 3 13 5
21-22
Apr 99
75 33% 42 15 6 21 4
7-8
Apr 99
79 35% 44 10 6 16 5

*October 2002 and previous: “Would you describe yourself as optimistic or pessimistic about the long-term future of the country?”

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

Vote for Bush Vote for Dem (Depends) (NS)
28-29 Oct 03 44% 38 11 7
23-24 Sep 03* 39% 39 15 7
15-16 Jul 03 42% 31 19 8
17-18 Jun 03 51% 30 11 8
22-23 Apr 03 47% 31 16 6

*September 2003 and previous: “ . . . to vote to re-elect President Bush “

14. Regardless of how you plan to vote, do you think President Bush will win the 2004 election or not?
SCALE: 1. Yes, Bush will win/be re-elected 2. No, Bush will not win/not be re-elected 3. (Depends/Too soon to say) 4. (Not sure)

  Bush will
win
Bush will
not win
(Depends) (Not sure)
28-29 Oct 03   45% 33 14 8
Dem 22% 57 14 7
Rep 72% 9 11 8
Ind 41% 27 20 12
9-10 Sep 03   49% 30 14 7
Dem 32% 49 13 6
Rep 72% 12 12 4
Ind 47% 32 12 9
6-7 May 03*   61% 20 14 5
Dem 38% 40 16 6
Rep 85% 4 8 3
Ind 57% 20 19 4
16-17 Apr 03**   60% 18 14 8
Dem 43% 32 18 7
Rep 83% 5 7 5
Ind 54% 14 18 14

*Wording: “President Bush has completed over half of his term in office. Based on what you know right now do you think he will be re-elected in 2004 or not?” < /FONT>

**Wording: “Based on what you know right now, do you think President Bush will win re-election in 2004 or will the Democratic nominee win?”

15. (If “No, Bush will not win” in Q14, n=299) What is the main reason that makes you think President Bush will not be re-elected? (OPEN ENDED)

(Iraq) 43%
(The economy) 31
(Character,
personal qualities)
11
(Budget deficit) 2
(Combination of things) 3
(Other) 6
(Not sure) 4

16. Which one of the following do you think is the most important quality in a president? (randomize)

1. Leadership 55%
2. Intelligence 24
3. Decisiveness 12
4. (Other) 5
5. (Not sure) 4

17. Which Democratic presidential candidate do you think possesses (the most important quality named above)?

Leadership Intelligence Decisiveness
1. Retired Gen. Wesley Clark 18% 16% 10%
2. Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman 16 12 23
3. Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry 6 10 5
4. Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt 7 3 12
5. North Carolina Sen. John Edwards 1 3 1
6. Former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun 1 - 1
7. Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean 7 12 4
8. New York Rev. Al Sharpton 2 5 4
9. Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich - - 1
10. (Not sure) 42 38 39

27. So far, do you think the Democratic presidential candidates are spending more time (attacking President Bush and his policies) or more time (explaining what their own policies would be if they were to become president)? (ROTATE)
SCALE: 1. Attacking President Bush and his policies 2. Explaining their own policy positions 3. (Both) 4. (Neither) 5. (Not sure)

  Attacking Explaining (Both) (Neither) (NS)
28-29 Oct 03            
All 61% 18 7 2 12
Dem 49% 27 9 3 12
Rep 81% 8 4 1 6
Ind 55% 17 10 2 16
9-10 Sep 03            
All 59% 14 12 3 12
Dem 43% 22 15 4 16
Rep 79% 7 7 1 6
Ind 49% 13 17 5 16