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Poll: McCain/Kerry Ticket A Winner

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry holds an eight-point lead over President George W. Bush among registered voters in the latest CBS News poll, 49% to 41%, but one of the names currently bandied about as a running mate for him - Republican Sen. John McCain - gives Kerry an even larger edge when added to the ticket.

McCain has continued to face questions about joining his fellow Vietnam veteran Kerry on a ticket, despite having insisted that he is not interested in doing so. America's voters, meanwhile, do have interest in such a bi-partisan slate: a hypothetical Kerry/McCain pairing holds a 14-point advantage over President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney, nearly double the 8-point lead Kerry has alone over Bush.

(Registered voters)


The Kerry/McCain ticket draws 15% of Republican voters while keeping the same level of support among Democrats - 80% - that Kerry enjoys alone. However, the addition of McCain brings many more veterans to the Democratic camp: tested one-on-one against Bush, Kerry loses to Bush among veterans, 54% to 41%. With Kerry and McCain together, the two tickets split the veteran vote.

Independent voters, too, move to the Kerry/McCain ticket: 51% of them support Kerry over Bush, while 57% would back a Kerry/McCain ticket.

Views of McCain

Among those voters who have an opinion or know of John McCain, opinions of the Senator are overwhelmingly favorable. 46% say they have a favorable view of McCain, while just 9% are unfavorable. Independents hold the most favorable views. Republican voters, meanwhile, are more likely than Democrats to view the Senator in a negative light: 16% of them do, compared to just 4% of Democrats and 8% of Independents.

Moreover, the Republican McCain has far higher favorable ratings than the Vice-Presidential nominee on the GOP side, Dick Cheney. The Vice-President elicits more negative than positive opinions from those familiar with him and, like the President, his negative ratings are up from last month. Despite four years in office, however, Cheney remains unknown to, or elicits no opinion from, more than one-third of voters.

Senator John Edwards

Adding one of John Kerry's former nomination rivals to the Democratic ticket, North Carolina Senator John Edwards, also helps Kerry, though to a lesser extent than does McCain. Edwards' name has also been mentioned by many as a potential running mate, and a Kerry/Edwards ticket would give the Democrats a ten-point margin over the incumbent Republicans, 50% to 40% -- a slight gain for Kerry on his eight-point one-on-one lead over Bush.

(Registered voters)


The Kerry/ Edwards slate holds Democrats and draws a few more conservatives and Independents while dropping a bit with liberals. The Edwards addition also closes the gap with veterans.

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

This poll was conducted among a nationwide random sample of 1,113 adults interviewed by telephone May 20-23, 2004. The error due to sampling could be plus or minus three percentage points for results based on the entire sample. The error for subgroups may be higher.

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