The 2004 presidential election deadlock continues as Democrat John Kerry currently has a bare one-point edge over Republican President George W. Bush, according to a Fox News poll released Thursday.

The new poll finds that if the presidential election were held today the Massachusetts senator would receive 44 percent and the president would receive 43 percent of the vote, a difference well within the survey’s three-percentage point margin of error. These findings are similar to those over the last several weeks, which have consistently shown the race as virtually even.

Although the overall support of the candidates is evenly divided, there are clear differences in their strength of support. Fully 73 percent of those backing Bush say they support him “strongly,” and 26 percent say “somewhat.” Kerry’s strength of support is significantly lower with 52 percent saying they support him “strongly” and 46 percent “somewhat.”

The national poll of registered voters was conducted for Fox News by Opinion Dynamics Corporation on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.

Bush is seen by more as the candidate who would do a better job on the issues of terrorism, Iraq, foreign policy and taxes. More choose Kerry over Bush on the issues of health care, education and the economy.

For more on the campaign, click to view Foxnews.com's You Decide 2004 page.

On the issues, who would do a better job on:

Bush Kerry Both/neither
Economy 39% 44 6
Education 38% 42 7
Foreign policy 45% 37 5
Health care 31% 47 7
Situation in Iraq 47% 34 7
Taxes 43% 40 5
Terrorism 51% 33 6

 

Bush has a double-digit advantage over Kerry, 48 percent to 35 percent, on which candidate is a stronger leader, an almost equal lead on which candidate is more knowledgeable on the issues, and a five-point edge on which will make the United States a stronger country.

Kerry is considered the candidate who better understands the average American (42 percent to 36 percent). The Massachusetts senator also has a big lead (15 points) on one quality he probably would rather lose — the candidate more likely to raise taxes.

By a two-percentage point margin more think Bush is making unfair attacks than think Kerry is, but a 29 percent plurality thinks both candidates are making unfair attacks against the other. Similarly, voters are evenly split on which candidate would “say and do anything to get elected.”

President Bush’s overall job performance rating is up a couple ticks from late March as 49 percent today approve of the job he’s doing as president and 44 percent disapprove. Bush receives his highest approval ratings from Republicans (92 percent), conservatives (70 percent), higher income groups (57 percent) and whites (54 percent).

The personal favorable ratings for both Bush and Kerry are more positive than negative. Almost half of Americans (49 percent) have a favorable opinion of the president, and 43 percent have a favorable opinion of the senator. About 20 percent of Americans are still too unfamiliar with Kerry to have an opinion.

The nation’s economy remains the most important issue facing the country today. A third of voters say the economy/jobs situation tops the list, outranking the issues of terrorism, homeland security and the war in Iraq combined.

Gloominess on the condition of the economy is clear — fewer voters say the economy is getting stronger (36 percent) than say no, it is not getting stronger (55 percent). In September, opinion was more evenly divided as 42 percent then said it felt like the economy was getting stronger and 49 percent disagreed.

Some pessimism is also evident on the issue of Iraq. While more Americans still say going to war with Iraq was the right thing to do, that number has declined to 50 percent today, down from 55 percent four months ago and from a high of 65 percent last summer. Currently, 44 percent say it was the wrong thing for the United States to do, up from 38 percent in December.

"Not only is the so-called horserace a virtual dead heat, but every issue that might change the race is lining up much the same way," commented Opinion Dynamics President John Gorman. "On the economy, on Iraq, on virtually everything, the country is polarized into two nearly equal segments. And there is tremendous overlap. If you like Bush, you also like the economy and Iraq; if you like Kerry, it's the opposite. This makes persuading anyone to change their mind very difficult."

The Sept 11 Commission

After much debate about Condoleezza Rice doing so, today the national security advisor testified publicly under oath before the commission investigating the 2001 terrorist attacks. This week’s Fox News poll finds that most Americans (72 percent) approve of her testifying publicly.

A 33 percent plurality thinks the commission’s investigation is a constructive, bi-partisan activity, while 27 percent think it is destructive and partisan, and 12 percent say “mixed.” Slightly more Democrats than Republicans think the commission is constructive, while more Republicans than Democrats think it is destructive.

Overall, nearly half (47 percent) approve of the job Rice is doing as national security advisor, 26 percent disapprove and 27 percent are unsure. This represents a drop from her October job rating when 53 percent approved and 22 percent disapproved.

Forty-five percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of Rice as a person and 22 percent have an unfavorable view. A third of the public either does not know enough to form an opinion or have never heard of her.

Polling was conducted by telephone April 6-7, 2004, 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
6-7 Apr 04 49% 44 7 -
23-24 Mar 04 50% 43 7 -
3-4 Mar 04 52% 40 8 -
4-5 Feb 04 56% 37 7 -
21-22 Jan 04 54% 39 7 -

2. John Kerry

Favorable Unfavorable Can’t say Never Heard
6-7 Apr 04 43% 35 19 3
23-24 Mar 04 43% 36 20 1
3-4 Mar 04 47% 28 20 5
21-22 Jan 04 43% 24 23 10
28-29 Oct 03 27% 26 22 25

3. Condoleezza Rice

Favorable Unfavorable Can’t say Never Heard
6-7 Apr 04 45% 22 23 10
4-5 Feb 04 48% 23 18 11

4. If the election for president of the United States were held today, for whom would you vote if the candidates were: (rotate order) 1. Republican George W. Bush 2. Democrat John Kerry 3. (Not sure/Other) 4. (Would not vote)

Bush Kerry (NS/Other) (Would not vote)
6-7 Apr 04 43% 44 12 1
23-24 Mar 04 44% 44 10 2
3-4 Mar 04 44% 44 11 1
18-19 Feb 04 45% 45 9 1
4-5 Feb 04 47% 43 9 1
21-22 Jan 04 49% 42 8 1
7-8 Jan 04 54% 32 12 2
29-30 Jul 03 54% 35 8 3
6-7 May 03 58% 29 11 2
17-18 Dec 02 57% 29 12 2

5. Do you support (insert candidate choice) strongly or only somewhat?
SCALE: 1. Strongly support 2. Only somewhat support 3. (Not sure)

--- Bush Voters --- --- Kerry Voters ---
Strngly Smwht (NS) Strngly Smwht (NS)
6-7 Apr 04 73% 26 1 52 46 2
3-4 Mar 04 75% 23 2 55 42 3

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

Approve Disapprove (DK)
6-7 Apr 04 49% 44 7
23-24 Mar 04 47% 44 9
3-4 Mar 04 48% 44 8
18-19 Feb 04 48% 41 11
4-5 Feb 04 53% 41 6

7. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Condoleezza Rice is doing as national security adviser?

Approve Disapprove (Don’t know)
6-7 Apr 04 47% 26 27
14-15 Oct 03 53% 22 25
16-17 Apr 02 50% 11 39
28-29 Nov 01 61% 4 35

8. What do you think is the most important issue for the federal government to address today? (DO NOT READ)

6-7 Apr 04 4-5 Feb 04 18-19 Nov 03 9-10 Sept 03
(Economy/Jobs/Unemployment) 34% 31% 28% 38%
(War/Iraq/Saddam Hussein) 13 7 15 6
(Defense/Military/Homeland/National Security) 11 9 5 8
(Health Care/Prescription Drugs) 10 15 13 7
(Terrorism – not Iraq) 8 7 8 14
(Education) 4 5 4 7
(Social Security/Medicare) 3 3 4 2
(Balanced budget/Deficit) 2 4 3 3
(Domestic issues/Take care of U.S.) 2 3 5 3
(Taxes) 2 2 3 2
(Foreign affairs/Mideast – not Iraq) 1 1 1 1
(Crime/Drugs) - 1 1 1
(Judicial nominations) - - 1 n/a
(Environment/Energy) - - 1 1
(Iran) - - - -
(N. Korea) - - - -
(Other) 7 4 3 2
(Don't know/Refused) 3 8 5 5

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

Stronger Not stronger (Not sure)
6-7 Apr 04 36% 55 9
9-10 Sep 03 42% 49 9
17-18 Jun 03 37% 55 8
24-25 Sep 02 26% 63 11

10. - 16. Which candidate do you think would do a better job on the following issues?
SCALE: 1. George W. Bush 2. John Kerry 3. (Both) 4. (Neither) 5. (Not sure)

SUMMARY CHART:

Bush Kerry (Both) (Neither) (NS)
The economy 39% 44 2 4 11
Education 38% 42 3 4 13
Foreign policy 45% 37 2 3 13
Health care 31% 47 2 5 15
The situation in Iraq 47% 34 2 5 12
Taxes 43% 40 1 4 12
The war on terrorism 51% 33 3 3 10

The economy:

  Bush Kerry (Both) (Neither) (NS)
6-7 Apr 04 39% 44 2 4 11
Dem 10% 76 2 4 8
Rep 83% 9 1 1 6
Ind 30% 42 2 7 19
3-4 Mar 04* 39% 46 na na 15
18-19 Feb 04* 40% 47 na na 13

*Wording: “Managing the country's”

Education:

  Bush Kerry (Both) (Neither) (NS)
6-7 Apr 04 38% 42 3 4 13
Dem 11% 72 2 4 11
Rep 74% 11 3 1 11
Ind 35% 39 5 7 14

Foreign policy:

  Bush Kerry (Both) (Neither) (NS)
6-7 Apr 04 45% 37 2 3 13
Dem 17% 64 2 3 14
Rep 84% 7 1 1 7
Ind 39% 34 2 7 18

Health care:

  Bush Kerry (Both) (Neither) (NS)
6-7 Apr 04 31% 47 2 5 15
Dem 8% 77 - 4 11
Rep 67% 13 2 4 14
Ind 24% 47 3 6 20

The situation in Iraq:

  Bush Kerry (Both) (Neither) (NS)
6-7 Apr 04 47% 34 2 5 12
Dem 18% 62 2 5 13
Rep 88% 4 1 2 5
Ind 43% 33 1 8 15

Taxes:

  Bush Kerry (Both) (Neither) (NS)
6-7 Apr 04 43% 40 1 4 12
Dem 13% 71 1 3 12
Rep 84% 6 1 2 7
Ind 37% 36 2 9 16

The war on terrorism:

  Bush Kerry (Both) (Neither) (NS)
6-7 Apr 04 51% 33 3 3 10
Dem 22% 58 5 4 11
Rep 90% 6 - - 4
Ind 49% 30 4 6 11

17. If John Kerry were to announce that former President Bill Clinton would serve as secretary of state in a Kerry administration, would that make you more likely or less likely to vote for Democratic candidate John Kerry in November?

All Dem Rep Ind
1. More likely 32% 55% 7% 31%
2. Less likely 43 18 76 41
3. (No difference) 22 27 15 24
4. (Not sure) 3 1 2 4

18. – 24. Which presidential candidate (Bush or Kerry) do you think:(ROTATE)
SCALE: 1. George W. Bush 2. John Kerry 3. (Both) 4. (Neither) 5. (Not sure)

Bush Kerry (Both) (Neither) (NS)
Is more likely to raise your taxes? 31% 46 9 2 12
Will make the United States a stronger country? 43% 38 3 5 11
Is making unfair attacks on the other? 26% 24 29 7 14
Is a stronger leader? 48% 35 2 3 12
Is more knowledgeable on the issues? 45% 36 8 2 9
Is more likely to say and do anything to get elected? 35% 36 19 4 6
Understands the average American better? 36% 42 3 10 9

25. Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry has said he will eliminate the Bush tax cuts for the upper two percent of Americans, which would result in a tax increase for this group, and at the same time give more tax breaks to other Americans. If elected, do you believe Kerry is more likely to:

All Dem Rep Ind
1. Raise taxes only on the upper two percent of Americans and give other Americans more tax breaks, 30% 48% 10% 31%
2. Raise taxes on all Americans, or 49 30 73 43
3. Not raise taxes at all? 6 8 4 6
4. (Not sure) 15 14 13 20

26. President George W. Bush has said because of his tax cuts, jobs are coming back and the nation’s economy is strong and getting stronger. Do you believe:

All Dem Rep Ind
1. Bush’s tax cuts helped the nation’s economy get stronger 28% 8% 60% 22%
2. The economy is getting stronger on its own, not because of the tax cuts, or 25 27 23 24
3. Do you believe the economy is not getting stronger at all? 42 62 11 47
4. (Not sure) 5 3 6 7

27. Do you think going to war with Iraq was the right thing for the United States to do or the wrong thing? Do you feel strongly or only somewhat that it was (right/wrong) to go to war with Iraq?
SCALE: 1. Strongly right 2. Somewhat right 3. Somewhat wrong 4. Strongly wrong 5. (Not sure)

--- Right --- --- Wrong ---  
TOT Strngly Smwt TOT Smwt Strngly (Not sure)
6-7 Apr 04 50% 37 13 44% 10 34 6
3-4 Dec 03 55% 38 17 38% 13 25 7
14-15 Oct 03 58% 39 19 35% 12 23 7
9-10 Sep 03 62% 43 19 33% 12 21 5
29-30 Jul 03 65% 42 23 27% 10 17 8
30 Jun-1 Jul 03 65% 43 22 27% 9 18 8

28. Retired national security official Richard Clarke recently released a book in which he criticizes the Bush administration's handling of the war on terrorism. Clarke’s book contradicts his earlier comments in 2002 when he praised the Bush administration’s plan for handling terrorism. Which do you think better describes Clarke changing his story?

All Dem Rep Ind
1. Clarke’s trying to sell his book 48% 26% 79% 44%
2. Clarke’s trying to set the record straight 28 46 6 29
3. (Not sure) 24 28 15 27

29. Do you approve or disapprove of the National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice testifying publicly under oath before the 9/11 Commission?

1. Approve 72%
2. Disapprove 14
3. (Not sure) 14

30. Which of the following do you think better describes the 9/11 Commission investigation:

All Dem Rep Ind
1. A constructive, bi-partisan activity or 33% 40% 31% 27%
2. A destructive, partisan activity? 27 23 35 23
3. (Mixed) 12 13 7 16
4. (Both) 3 2 3 5
5. (Neither) 4 3 3 5
6. (Not sure) 21 19 21 24

31. Do you think it would be better for the country or worse for the country if presidential advisors were kept from writing books about the president and his administration until that president is out of office?

1. Better for the country 63%
2. Worse for the country 18
3. (Depends) 11
4. (Not sure) 8

32. Do you view the "war on terrorism" more as a real war or is the “war on terrorism” more a figure of speech like the "war on poverty" or the "war on drugs"?

1. War on terrorism is a real war 71%
2. War on terrorism is a figure of speech 23
3. (Not sure) 6

33. Given the recent increase in violent attacks against U.S. military troops and civilians in Iraq, do you think the United States should:

All Dem Rep Ind
1. Use aggressive military action to crush the rebels, or 52% 33% 74% 51%
2. Should the United States take the recent attacks as a signal that it’s time to pull out of Iraq? 30 44 15 26
3. (Neither) 7 9 3 11
4. (Not sure) 11 14 8 12

34. Traditionally, the United States has had open borders and allowed most non-citizens to enter the country. Do you think the United States should continue this relatively open border policy, or should the United States crack down hard on all non-citizens entering the country by using such procedures as fingerprinting and random interviewing?

1. Continue to have open borders 11%
2. Crack down hard 83
3. (Not sure) 6

35. Which of the following statements is closest to your opinion of how Muslims feel toward the United States?

1. Most Muslims hate the United States 43%
2. Most Muslims like the United States 19
3. (Depends/Mixed) 24
4. (Not sure) 14

Questions 36 – 42 held for release

43. Which one of the following statements is closest to your view of the formation of laws in the United States? (ROTATE)

1. The minority often has too much power 35%
2. The majority often has too much power 30
3. (Equal/Balanced) 9
4. (Depends/combination) 11
5. (Not sure) 15

44. In the United States today, do you think there is more focus on the rights of the minority or is there more focus on the rights of the majority. (ROTATE)

1. More focus on rights of minority 55%
2. More focus on rights of majority 25
3. (Both) 5
4. (Neither) 3
5. (Not sure) 12