Ipsos-Public Affairs Poll Looking Ahead: Issues For 2005, Candidates For 2008

Giuliani And McCain Top List Of Potential Republican Candidates

Washington, DC -- The least conservative candidate in the field plus the candidate who is most often at odds with Bush Administration policies combine to capture well over half the vote of Republican primary voters looking toward 2008, when Bush cannot run again. Given a list of potential candidates, Republican voters and others who plan to vote in the Republican primary place former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Arizona Senator John McCain at the top of their list. Seven percent each prefer Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist or Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Slightly fewer than one in five (17%) Republican voters are not sure who they would support.

Giuliani's support is fairly evenly distributed across Republican voters. McCain does well among men over age 45 (38% support).

Senator Clinton Well Ahead Of Democratic Pack Among Democrats and Independents who would vote in Democratic primaries, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (33% support) gains as much support as the entire 2004 ticket (19% John Kerry, 15% John Edwards). One in ten supports Wesley Clark, with scattered support for a number of other viable candidates.

Senator Clinton fares better among Democratic voters who are female (40%; 43% of women age 45 and up), ethnic minorities (44%), residents of the Northeast (41%) and rural regions (42%), as well as those in lower-income households (43%). Kerry does well among voters in the Midwest (25%). Edwards runs second to Clinton among Democratic voters in low-income households (23%), and does well among white evangelicals (24%) but no better than average among Southern Democratic Primary voters (15%). Democratic men with a high school education favor Kerry (27%), while male grads favor Edwards (27%). Clark does best in urban areas (17%) and among high-income voters (18%).

Half Say They'd Stick With Candidate Running Against The Odds Half (49%) of registered voters say they would continue to support their preferred candidate, even if it appeared he or she could not win. Nearly as many (46%) take a more pragmatic approach, saying they would find another candidate to support.

Voters who think things are headed in the right direction in the country are slightly flexible, voters who think things are off on the wrong track are slightly more likely to stick with their first choice. Voters in their thirties (60%) and married men (59%) are more likely to say they would continue to support a trailing candidate. College-educated women (59%) are more likely than others to say they would switch. There's no significant difference between Republicans and Democrats -- it is the Independents (56%) who are most likely to say they would stick with their first choice even if that candidate did not look like a November winner.

Plurality Says It "Doesn't Matter" If One Party Controls Government Four in ten (40%) registered voters say it doesn't matter one way or the other if the White House and Congress are controlled by one party or split among two parties. As many say it's better to have each in the hands of a different party (28%) as say one-party control is best (29%). Republicans (41%) tend to favor one-party control, while Democrats prefer control to be divided (36%).

People with up to a high school education (52%), minorities (53%), and Independents (57%) are more likely to say it doesn't matter. Regionally, residents of the Great Lakes area (49%) are particularly apt to say party control doesn't matter.

Congress Receives Mild Disapproval Although few voters feel strongly on the issue, more disapprove (51%) than approve (46%) of the way Congress is handling its job. In comparison, voters are divided on Bush's performance as President (50% approve, 48% disapprove).

Approval is highest among Republicans (70%), those who approve of Bush's job performance (71%) and also rural residents (56%). Disapproval is highest among voters in their thirties (57%), minorities (64%), Democrats (69%) and those who disapprove of Bush's job performance (78%).

Economy Seen as Most Important Priority for Government As Bush's inauguration for his second term nears, voters say the economy and jobs (26%) should be at the top of the list of priorities for the White House and Congress. About a third name domestic priorities such as health care (13%), Social Security (10%) and education (9%). Nearly as many name either terrorism (18%) or Iraq (15%).

As during the election campaign, policy priorities are largely defined by partisanship. Republicans name terrorism (28%) as the top priority, while Democrats (34%) and Independents (32%) say the economy and jobs is the most important issue. More Democrats (17%) than Republicans (9%) emphasize health care as a top priority. Social Security is predominately a concern among senior citizens (24%), while voters under age 30 name education (25%) as the top priority.

Methodology Between December 17-19, 2004, Ipsos-Public Affairs interviewed a representative sample of 1,002 adults and 839 registered voters nationwide. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 for all adults and +/- 3.4 for registered voters, +/- 3.4 for registered voters. Margin of error for subgroups may be higher.

For more information on this press release, please contact: Janice Bell Director, Ipsos Public Affairs Washington, D.C. 202.463.7300

About Ipsos Public Affairs Ipsos Public Affairs, headquartered in Washington D.C., is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research company made up of campaign and political polling veterans as well as seasoned research professionals. The company conducts strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research but often elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research. It has offices in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington, with affiliates around the world. Ipsos Public Affairs conducts national and international public opinion polling on behalf of The Associated Press, the world's oldest and largest news organization, and conducts the young voters poll for Newsweek.com. Ipsos Public Affairs is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based market research group.

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