President Bush (search) and John Kerry (search) remain tied in a head-to-head presidential matchup, according to a new Fox News poll released Friday, and a bare majority believes Bush will win in November.

The national poll of registered voters finds the race is still neck-and-neck, with 43 percent of voters preferring Bush and 42 percent Kerry, if the election were held today. Little change is seen when Ralph Nader (search) is included, as he receives 2 percent, Bush 42 percent and Kerry 40 percent. The race has been deadlocked — within one or two percentage points — for about two months.

Many Bush voters say the main reason they are supporting the Republican incumbent is because he is “doing a good job” as president (28 percent), with the next most popular reason being his character (19 percent), followed by his positions on the issues (14 percent) and leadership qualities (11 percent).

For Kerry voters, over a third (38 percent) say the main reason they are supporting the senator is “He’s not Bush,” while others cite his positions on the issues (22 percent), and the simple fact that he is a Democrat (11 percent).

"The bad news in this poll for Bush is that he spent $50 million on advertising last month and has not moved his numbers; the good news is that a lot of bad news in the media hasn't moved the numbers," comments Opinion Dynamics President John Gorman. "The bad news for Kerry is essentially the reverse. Bush's $50 million hasn't hurt him much, but the bounce that many pundits expected he would get from events in Iraq hasn't materialized."

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

Opinion Dynamics Corporation (search) conducted the poll for Fox News on April 21-22.

More than twice as many Americans pick Bush over Kerry as the candidate who “takes strong stands and sticks with them” (51 percent to 22 percent respectively). By a 15-percentage point margin, Kerry is seen as the candidate making more “personal attacks against his opponent.”

Overall, there is widespread satisfaction (71 percent) with the presidential candidate choices this year, with 29 percent of voters saying they are “very” satisfied and another 42 percent “somewhat” satisfied. At 82 percent, Republicans are the most satisfied with the choices, with 70 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of independents saying they are either very or somewhat satisfied with the candidates in this year’s presidential election.

In addition, when asked to characterize their vote for president this year, more than half (52 percent) say they will be able to vote “enthusiastically” for either Bush or Kerry, while 14 percent say, “I will just have to hold my nose.” Over a quarter (28 percent) fall somewhere in-between enthusiasm for their vote choice and thinking the choices stink. Bush voters are happier with their choice as more than two-thirds (68 percent) say they will be able to vote “enthusiastically” compared to half of Kerry voters.

The expectation of a Bush win in November has increased over the last month. Today, just over half of voters (51 percent) believe Bush will win in November, up from 43 percent in late March.  Fully 77 percent of Republicans as well as 32 percent of Democrats believe Bush will win.

Today, by 50 percent to 44 percent, Americans approve of President Bush’s job performance, up from 47 percent approval this time last month (which was the lowest approval rating of his presidency).

Of Bush administration officials tested in the poll, Secretary of State Colin Powell (search) continues to receive the highest job rating. Powell’s 68 percent approval rating is well above the 49 percent job approval for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (search) and the 48 percent approval of Attorney General John Ashcroft (search).  At 68 percent approval, however, Powell’s current job rating is at its lowest level of his tenure, down from 74 percent in October 2003 and from a high of 87 percent approval immediately following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. 

Since a televised appearance before the 9/11 commission, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice’s (search) approval rating has gone up 11 points. Today, 58 percent approve of her job performance, up from 47 percent in early April.

Vice President Dick Cheney’s (search) job approval rating has dropped a few points and currently stands at 46 percent, down from 50 percent in October 2003 and 54 percent early in his term of office. 

Many voters say they take into consideration the vice presidential candidate when deciding their vote for president, with a third saying they consider who the running mate is “a lot” and about four in 10 saying they take “some” consideration of the VP candidate.

As of now, few Democrats have a clear idea of which vice presidential candidate they would like to see on the ticket with Kerry.  When asked to name, unprompted, a candidate they would like to see as Kerry’s running mate, the poll shows Democrats mention North Carolina Sen. John Edwards (search) (18 percent) and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton (search) (nine percent) more often than any other names, but “anybody” and “don’t know” make up a plurality of the responses.

Support for Military Action in Iraq Holding Steady

Despite the continuing violent attacks against coalition troops, a 65 percent majority supports the U.S. having taken military action in Iraq, up four points in the last month. Even so, those thinking the war in Iraq is going either very or somewhat well for the U.S.-led coalition has dropped from 92 percent this time a year ago to 42 percent today.

The public is equally likely to think the recent problems in Iraq are confined to hot spots (46 percent) as to think the problems are widespread across the country (48 percent).

Many Americans think the military’s response to the violence against coalition troops has not been aggressive enough (42 percent) and almost as many say it has been “about right” (41 percent). Few — eight percent — think the military has been too aggressive in responding to the attacks by insurgents in Iraq.

Images of kidnapped soldiers are more than twice as likely to make the public feel the U.S. military should “fight harder” (59 percent) than to feel American forces should “pull out” of Iraq (25 percent).

Half of the public thinks the June 30th handover of power from the U.S.-led coalition to an Iraqi transitional government should go forward as scheduled, while over a third think the deadline should be extended (38 percent). Fully 69 percent of Americans think most Iraqi people are glad the U.S. removed Saddam Hussein from power.

Americans would rather get the job done than set a time limit on how long U.S. troops should be stationed in Iraq. A 55 percent majority thinks U.S. troops should stay in Iraq as long as it takes to establish a stable government over having troops stay in Iraq only a specified amount of time (39 percent).

Finally, 41 percent of Americans think President Bush has a clear plan for handling Iraq while half say he doesn’t. When asked the same question of Sen. Kerry, 22 percent think he has a clear plan for handling Iraq, 59 percent say he doesn’t and 19 percent are unsure.

Polling was conducted by telephone April 21-22, 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

1. If the election for president of the United States were held today, for whom would you vote if the candidates were: (ROTATE)
SCALE: 1. Republican George W. Bush 2. Democrat John Kerry 3. Independent candidate Ralph Nader 4. (Not sure/Other) 5. (Would not vote)

Bush Kerry Nader NS/Other Would not vote
21-22 Apr 04 42% 40 2 14 2
23-24 Mar 04 43% 42 3 10 2
18-19 Feb 04* 43% 42 4 9 2

*Wording: ”Green Party candidate Ralph Nader”

2. 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)
21-22 Apr 04 43% 42 12 3
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

3. (If supporting Bush, n=391) What would you say is the main reason you are supporting Bush? (OPEN ENDED)

21-22 Apr 04 18-19 Feb 04
Doing good job as president 28% 30%
Character/Values 19 23
Positions on the issues 14 15
Strong Leader 11 11
Iraq/Saddam 8 5
Republican 7 6
Not Kerry 7 3
Tax cuts 1 2
Other 2 2
Don’t know/Refused 3 3

4. (If supporting Kerry, n=376) What would you say is the main reason you are supporting Kerry? (OPEN ENDED)

21-22 Apr 04 18-19 Feb 04
Not Bush 38% 27%
Positions on the issues 22 20
Democrat 11 14
Character/Values 7 8
Iraq 7 2
Intelligent 3 2
Elect-able/Can beat Bush 3 11
Strong Leader 3 7
Veteran/Military Service 1 3
Other 1 -
Don’t know/Refused 4 6

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

Approve Disapprove (Don’t Know)
21-22 Apr 04 50% 44 6
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

6. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Congress is doing?

Approve Disapprove (DK)
21-22 Apr 04 38% 42 20
20-21 May 03 33% 47 20

7. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Colin Powell is doing as secretary of state?

Approve Disapprove (DK)
21-22 Apr 04 68% 21 11
14-15 Oct 03 74% 14 12
22-23 Apr 03 82% 11 7
29-30 Jan 03 77% 10 13
8-9 Sep 02 80% 9 11
16-17 Apr 02 82% 7 11
17-18 Oct 01 87% 5 8

8. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Donald Rumsfeld is doing as secretary of defense?

Approve Disapprove (DK)
21-22 Apr 04 49% 39 12
14-15 Oct 03 54% 29 17
22-23 Apr 03 67% 19 14
25-26 Mar 03 71% 16 13
29-30 Jan 03 58% 20 22
8-9 Sep 02 63% 17 20
30-31 Jan 02 77% 9 14
12-13 Dec 01 78% 6 16
28-29 Nov 01 80% 4 16
14-15 Nov 01 78% 5 17
17-18 Oct 01 75% 7 18

9. Do you approve or disapprove of the job John Ashcroft is doing as attorney general?

Approve Disapprove (DK)
21-22 Apr 04 48% 32 20
14-15 Oct 03 49% 27 24
8-9 Sep 02 60% 17 23
4-5 Jun 02 59% 18 23
12-13 Dec 01 69% 12 19
28-29 Nov 01 69% 8 23

10. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Dick Cheney is doing as vice-president?

Approve Disapprove (DK)
21-22 Apr 04 46% 42 12
14-15 Oct 03 50% 32 18
3-4 Dec 02 53% 23 24
28-29 Nov 01 73% 10 17
14-15 Mar 01 54% 11 35

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

Approve Disapprove (DK)
21-22 Apr 04 58% 30 12
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

12. Do you approve or disapprove of how the Bush administration handled the country’s response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks?

Approve Disapprove (DK)
21-22 Apr 04 63% 30 7
23-24 Mar 04 65% 28 7

13. Which presidential candidate (Bush) or (Kerry) do you think takes strong stands and sticks to them? (ROTATE)

All Dem Rep Ind
1. Bush 51% 23% 90% 41%
2. Kerry 22 44 2 18
3. (Both) 7 9 1 11
4. (Neither) 9 9 3 18
5. (Not sure) 11 15 4 12

14. Which presidential candidate (Bush) or (Kerry) do you think has made more personal attacks against his opponent so far? (ROTATE)

All Dem Rep Ind
1. Bush 26% 41% 11% 24%
2. Kerry 41 22 68 33
3. (Both) 14 16 8 24
4. (Neither) 4 5 2 2
5. (Not sure) 15 16 11 17

15. How satisfied are you with the choice of candidates you have in this year’s presidential election?

All Dem Rep Ind
1. Very satisfied 29% 22% 44% 15%
2. Somewhat satisfied 42 48 38 40
3. Not very satisfied 17 18 10 25
4. Not at all satisfied 10 10 6 19
5. (Not sure) 2 2 2 1

16. If the two major political party candidates in November were Republican George W. Bush and Democrat John Kerry, how would you best describe your vote:
SCALE: 1. I will be able to vote enthusiastically for one of these two candidates, 2. I will just have to hold my nose and choose a candidate, or 3. I may not be enthusiastic, but I won't have to hold my nose either? 4. (Will vote for 3rd party candidate) 5. (Other) 6. (Don't know)

Enthusiastic Hold nose Not enthuse, not hold nose (Third Party) (Other) (DK)
All 52% 14 28 1 3 2
Dem 48% 16 30 1 2 3
Rep 68% 7 22 - 2 1
Ind 36% 20 35 3 3 3
Bush voters 68% 7 22 - 2 1
Kerry voters 50% 16 30 - 2 2

For reference (8-9 Mar 00): If the candidates in November were George W. Bush and Al Gore, how would you best describe your vote in November:

1. I will be able to vote enthusiastically for one of these two candidates, or 63%
2. I will just have to hold my nose and choose a candidate? 26
3. (Will vote for 3rd party candidate) 2
4. (Other) 3
5. (Don't know) 6

17. When deciding your vote for president, how much do you take into consideration the vice presidential running mate?

1. A lot 33%
2. Some 41
3. Not much 17
4. Not at all 7
5. (Not sure) 2

18. (Democrats n=376) Is there anyone in particular you would like to see on the 2004 Democratic ticket as John Kerry’s running mate? (OPEN ENDED – DO NOT READ)

Dem
(John Edwards) 18%
(Hillary Clinton) 9
(Howard Dean) 4
(Wesley Clark) 3
(Bill Clinton) 3
(Al Gore) 3
(John McCain) 3
(Dick Gephardt) 2
(Evan Bayh) 1
(Bob Graham) 1
(Dennis Kucinich) 1
(Joe Lieberman) 1
(Bill Richardson) 1
(William Cohen) -
(Bob Kerrey) -
(Al Sharpton) -
(Tom Vilsack) -
(Mark Warner) -
(Other___________) 6
(Anybody) 13
(Don't know/Refused) 31

19. Regardless of how you plan to vote, who do you really believe will win the 2004 presidential election - George W. Bush or John Kerry?
SCALE: 1. Bush 2. Kerry 3. (Depends/Too soon to say) 4. (Not sure)

Bush Kerry (Dpnds) (NS)
21-22 Apr 04 51% 29 15 5
23-24 Mar 04* 43% 36 13 8

*Wording: “…who do you think will win…”

20. Between now and Election Day in November, do you think most members of Congress will spend more time trying to solve problems facing the country or more time trying to get re-elected?

1. Trying to solve problems 14%
2. Trying to get re-elected 79
3. (Not sure) 7

21. If Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry were to announce that former President Bill Clinton would definitely have a major role in a Kerry administration, would that make you more likely or less likely to vote for Kerry in November?

All Dem Rep Ind
1. More likely 32% 58% 8% 22%
2. Less likely 43 14 77 45
3. (No difference) 23 25 14 32
4. (Not sure) 2 3 1 1

22. Do you support or oppose the United States having taken military action to disarm Iraq and remove Iraqi President Saddam Hussein? Is that strongly (support/oppose) or only somewhat (support/oppose)?

Support Oppose  
TOT Strngly Smwht TOT Smwht Strngly (NS)
21-22 Apr 04 65% 49 16 31 7 24 4
23-24 Mar 04 61% 45 16 32 12 20 7
21-22 Jan 04 66% 48 18 28 11 17 6
18-19 Nov 03 66% 50 16 30 10 20 4
23-24 Sep 03 64% 47 17 30 12 18 6
22-23 Apr 03 76% 61 15 20 9 11 4
8-9 Apr 03* 81% 68 13 16 6 10 3
25-26 Mar 03* 78% 66 12 18 8 10 4

*Wording: “… United States taking military…”

23. How well do you think the war with Iraq is going for the United States and coalition allies?
SCALE: 1. Very well 2. Somewhat well 3. Not very well 4. Not at all well 5. (Not sure)

Very Somewhat Not very Not at all (Not sure)
21-22 Apr 04 11% 31 28 27 3
8-9 Apr 03 64% 28 3 1 4
25-26 Mar 03 37% 46 9 2 6

24. Do you think problems in recent weeks in Iraq have been:

1. Pretty much confined to a few hot spots or 46%
2. Fairly general across the whole country? 48
3. (Not sure) 6

25. If it becomes clear that more soldiers are needed in the war against terrorism, would you approve or disapprove of re-instituting the military draft?

Approve Disapprove (Not sure)
21-22 Apr 04 41% 51 8
14-15 Jan 03 56% 36 8
14-15 May 02 57% 34 9
14-15 Nov 01 74% 18 8
3-4 Oct 01 76% 16 8

26. On the issue of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, do you believe:

1. There are still weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, 22%
2. There were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before the war, but they were moved or destroyed, or 44
3. That Iraq has not had any weapons of mass destruction for at least several years? 28
4. (Not sure) 6

For reference (17-18 Jun 03): On the issue of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, do you believe Iraq:

1. Currently has weapons of mass destruction, 25%
2. Had weapons of mass destruction before the war, but has moved or destroyed them, or 54
3. That Iraq did not have any weapons of mass destruction? 12
4. (Not sure) 9

27. Do you think the United States is currently at war:

1. With countries that harbor terrorists or 27%
2. With an international radical Muslim terrorist movement? 33
3. (Both) 20
4. (Neither) 6
5. (Not sure) 14

28. Do you think that the world's Muslim community has:

1. Generally been as outspoken against terrorists as much as other groups, 17%
2. Has been afraid to speak out against terrorists, or 44
3. Has generally actually supported the terrorist movements around the world. 23
4. (Don’t know) 16

29. Which of the following best describes how you feel about Spain withdrawing its troops from Iraq? Are you:

1. Angry, 20%
2. Do you feel disappointed but understand why they would withdraw, or 46
3. Do you think it doesn’t matter if Spain withdraws its troops from Iraq? 22
4. (Mixed) 6
5. (Not sure) 6

30. Do you think U.S. troops should stay in Iraq only for a specified length of time or should troops stay as long as it takes to establish a stable, free government in Iraq?

1. Specified length of time 39%
2. As long as it takes 55
3. (Not sure) 6

31. How long do you think it will take to establish a stable, free government in Iraq?

1. Several more months 5%
2. One to two years 26
3. Three to five years 20
4. More than five years 24
5. (Never happen) 13
6. (Not sure) 12

32. If the United States leaves Iraq before establishing a stable, free government, do you think that means the terrorists have won?

1. Yes 41%
2. No 51
3. (Not sure) 8

33. Do you think the U.S. military's response to the continuing violence against coalition forces in Iraq has been too aggressive, not aggressive enough, or about right?
SCALE: 1. Too aggressive 2. Not aggressive enough 3. About right 4. (Not sure)

Too aggressive Not enough About right (Not sure)
21-22 Apr 04 8% 42 41 9
18-19 Nov 03 11% 44 35 10
30 Jun-1 Jul 03* 9% 33 47 11

*Wording: “… against U.S. forces…”

34. After hearing about and seeing pictures of kidnapped soldiers in Iraq, are you more likely to feel the U.S. should use more power and fight harder or more likely to feel the U.S. should pull out of Iraq?

1. More power/Fight harder 59%
2. Pull out 25
3. (Change tactics but not pull out) 7
4. (Neither) 3
5. (Not sure) 6

35. In general, do you think most Iraqi people are glad that the United States removed Saddam Hussein from power or do they wish the United States troops had stayed home?
SCALE: 1. Glad U.S. troops removed Saddam Hussein 2. Wish U.S. troops had stayed home 3. (Not sure)

Glad Stayed (NS)
21-22 Apr 04 69% 18 13
9-10 Sep 03 65% 20 15

36. Based on what you know, do you think the United States coalition should hand over power to a transitional government in Iraq on June 30 as scheduled or should the deadline be extended?

1. Hand over on schedule 50%
2. Extend the deadline 38
3. (Not sure) 12

(ROTATE NEXT TWO QUESTIONS)

37. Do you think George W. Bush has a clear plan for handling Iraq?

All Dem Rep Ind
1. Yes 41% 20% 72% 28%
2. No 50 73 20 60
3. (Not sure) 9 7 8 12

38. Do you think John Kerry has a clear plan for handling Iraq?

All Dem Rep Ind
1. Yes 22% 36% 7% 19%
2. No 59 46 80 58
3. (Not sure) 19 18 13 23

39. Do you think the creation of a domestic intelligence agency in the United States, similar to Great Britain’s MI5, would be more likely to help in the fight against terrorism or hurt the privacy and civil liberties of Americans?

1. Help the fight 39%
2. Hurt liberties 28
3. (Both/neither) 9
4. (Not sure) 24

40. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Congress passed the Patriot Act which, in part, gives federal officials wider authority to use wiretaps and other surveillance techniques. Some people say the Patriot Act is a necessary and effective tool in preventing terrorist attacks, while others say the act goes too far and could violate the civil liberties of average Americans. Which comes closer to your view – overall, would you say the Patriot Act is a good thing for America or a bad thing for America?

Good Bad (Mixed) (Not Sure)
21-22 Apr 04 54% 28 11 7
29-30 Jul 03 55% 27 9 9

41. Based on what you know, do you support or oppose extending the Patriot Act, which is scheduled to expire in one year?

1. Support 53%
2. Oppose 32
3. (Not sure) 15

42. Which of the following do you think better describes the 9/11 Commission investigation:
SCALE: 1. A constructive, bi-partisan activity or 2. A destructive, partisan activity? 3. (Mixed) 4. (Both) 5. (Neither) 6. (Not sure)

Constructive, bi-partisan Destructive, partisan (Mxd) (Both) (Neither) (NS)
21-22 Apr04 34% 35 13 2 3 13
Dem 42% 29 13 3 3 10
Rep 26% 49 10 2 2 11
Ind 33% 29 16 1 4 17
6-7 Apr 04 33% 27 12 3 4 21

43. Which of the following best describes how you feel about the 9/11 Commission?

All Dem Rep Ind
1. The commission is an important, bi-partisan panel 29% 35% 23% 29%
2. The commission could have been useful, but it has become a partisan joke 40 37 48 40
3. The commission always was a joke 16 14 18 15
4. (Not sure) 15 14 11 16

48. On the issue of abortion, would you say you are more pro-life or more pro-choice?

Pro-choice Pro-life (Both/mix) (Not sure)
21-22 Apr 04 44% 47 6 3
15-16 Jul 03 44% 44 6 6
22-23 Apr 03 49% 41 5 5
9-10 Jan 02 47% 41 5 7
24-25 Jan 01 47% 42 7 4
12-13 July 00 54% 38 5 3
26-27 Jan 00 43% 44 8 5
23-24 June 99 42% 44 9 5
7-8 Jan 98 49% 46 - 5
20-21 Aug 97 50% 40 5 5