CBS Polls Weigh Kerry's Qualities

GENERIC George Bush John Kerry Presdential election campaign CBS/AP

In the most recent CBS News/New York Times Poll, 36 percent of registered voters had a positive view of John Kerry, up from 29 percent in June, and 33 percent had an unfavorable one.

OPINION OF KERRY
(Registered Voters)

Favorable
Now
36%
June
29%

Unfavorable
Now
33%
June
35%

Undecided/Unknown
Now
29%
June
36%

KERRY'S STRENGTHS

  • Kerry is viewed as optimistic about the future; 70 percent say this about him.

  • Kerry is seen by a majority of voters as having the skills needed to negotiate with other world leaders. 52 percent think that; 32 percent think he does not.

  • He also does well on values. In a May CBS News/New York Times Poll, 59 percent of voters felt that Kerry shared their moral values. 25 percent thought he did not. He is trusted to keep his word as president by 51 percent.

  • Kerry is seen as being much more likely to listen to different points of view than Bush: 71 percent say he does. Kerry is also seen as more likely to be able to admit mistakes -- though neither candidate is seen by most as able to do that.

    TRAITS OF THE CANDIDATES

    Listens to different views
    Bush
    54%
    Kerry
    71%

    Does not listen to different views
    Bush
    42%
    Kerry
    17%

    Is able to admit mistakes
    Bush
    45%
    Kerry
    46%

    Is not able to admit mistakes
    Bush
    51%
    Kerry
    32%

    KERRY'S WEAKNESSES

  • Kerry has been charged with "flip-flopping" on the issues, and that charge has stuck. In our June CBS News/New York Times poll, only 39 percent of voters thought Kerry takes positions and sticks to them; 40 percent said he does not. One-fifth could not rate him on this attribute.

    DOES KERRY TAKE A POSITION AND STICK WITH IT?

    Yes
    39%
    No
    40%

    Bush continues to have an advantage over Kerry on saying what he believes: 58 percent of voters think Bush says what he believes, compared to just 34 percent who say the same about Kerry. 55 percent of voters think Kerry says what people want to hear.

    TRAITS OF THE CANDIDATES

    Says what he believes
    Bush
    58%
    Kerry
    34%

    Says what people want to hear
    Bush
    35%
    Kerry
    55%

  • Kerry is still not seen by voters as sharing their priorities. Just 42 percent think Kerry shares their priorities for the country; 47 percent think he does not.

  • Kerry has not yet put the public completely at ease about his ability to deal with an international crisis. Although many think he can deal with foreign leaders, just 33 percent have confidence in Kerry's handling of an international crisis, while 52 percent are uneasy about his approach.

  • And he has not made much headway in convincing voters that he would make the right decisions about the economy. 41 percent think he would, but 47 percent are uneasy.

    WHO SUPPORTS KERRY?

    In the most recent CBS News/New York Times poll, Senators Kerry and Edwards have a 49 percent to 44 percent lead over the GOP ticket of President George W. Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney. The race continues to be close; from April to June, before Edwards was selected, neither Presidential candidate built and held a sizeable lead in the head-to head matchups. However the slight boost Kerry received from naming Edwards earlier this month remained mostly intact though the middle of July.

    KERRY-EDWARDS VS. BUSH-CHENEY: CHOICE IN NOVEMBER
    (Registered voters)

    Now
    Kerry-Edwards
    49%
    Bush-Cheney
    44%

    7/7
    Kerry-Edwards
    49%
    Bush-Cheney
    44%

    June
    Kerry-Edwards
    45%
    Bush-Cheney
    44%

    May
    Kerry-Edwards
    49%
    Bush-Cheney
    41%

    April
    Kerry-Edwards
    46%
    Bush-Cheney
    44%

    (Before the early July naming of John Edwards to the Democratic ticket, only the presidential candidates were mentioned in the presidential choice question.)

    Kerry has the support of the vast majority of Democrats, and Independents gave him an eight-point lead.

    CANDIDATE SUPPORT BY PARTY

    John Kerry
    Reps
    6%
    Dems
    85%
    Inds
    48%

    George W. Bush
    Reps
    91%
    Dems
    7%
    Inds
    40%

    With Ralph Nader -- who has yet to qualify for the ballot in many states -- added to the vote choices, Kerry leads Bush 45 percent to 42 percent while Nader gets 5 percent.



    For detailed information on how CBS News conducts public opinion surveys, click here.


    • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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