Despite one Democratic rival’s call for his impeachment over the State of the Union uranium flap, more than two-thirds of voters expect President George W. Bush to be re-elected, according to a new nationwide poll.
Of the 504 likely Democratic and Independent primary voters surveyed July 16-17 by Zogby International, 69 percent said it is likely that Bush will stay in the White House for a second term, regardless of how they plan to vote. That’s up from 56 percent in March.
President George W. Bush
A plurality, or 48 percent, said they dislike the president as a person, compared to 38 percent who said they like him. Fourteen percent were not sure.
Among the Democratic presidential hopefuls, three shared the lead: Missouri Rep. Richard Gephardt, former Vermont Gov. Dr. Howard Dean, and Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman each polled 12 percent.
In comparison with a March poll, Lieberman dropped from 18 percent, Gephardt gained 1 percentage point and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry remained steady at 9 percent. Dean gained the most ground, jumping from 4 percent.
The margin of error for both polls is +/- 4.4 percent.
Among other announced Democratic contenders, civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton polled 4 percent, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards polled 3 percent, former Illinois Sen. Carol Mosley Braun and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich both polled 2 percent, and Florida Senator Bob Graham earned 1 percent of the votes.
The poll found widespread disatisfaction with the Democratic field. Nearly half, or 48 percent of respondents, said they wish other candidates were running, while 41 percent said they were satisfied.
“The Democrats still do not have a national candidate. Regional candidates continue to do well in Iowa and New Hampshire, but none have yet been able to capture the nation’s imagination,” commented pollster John Zogby.
Zogby’s findings come on the heels of those by former Clinton pollster Mark Penn who concluded the Democratic Party is at its weakest position since the New Deal.
Penn found that while the Party still boasts solid support among its core constituency – union members, minorities and the working poor – and has successfully brought homosexuals and Hispanics into the fold, fewer than one-third of Americans now consider themselves Democrats.
That compares to a peak of 49 percent of Americans in 1958.
In terms of probable platform issues, 66 percent think the Democratic Party should nominate a candidate who stands up for his or her beliefs, while 30 percent prefer a candidate who can defeat the president.
The Zogby poll offers an indication of which issues will garner votes. More than half, or 52 percent of respondents, said they don’t favor a candidate who supports “gay” marriage, while 35 percent said they would vote for a candidate who supports the concept. A plurality, or 42 percent, said they would back a candidate who supported the war in Iraq, while 37 percent feel their candidate should be someone who opposed the war.
In a hastily scheduled press conference this morning, Bush indicated his focus heading into the election season will be “the safety and economic security of the American people.” On national defense, he touted the progress of coalition forces in Iraq and the intelligence community at nabbing key al-Qaida leaders and advancing the ongoing war on terror. On the economy, the president said he was “optimistic about the future” and said he believed more jobs will be created.
When asked by a reporter to defend his fund-raising activities and questioned how he planned to spend $170 million on the primary election, Bush responded, “Just watch.”
“I think the American people expect me to seek re-election. They expect me to do what a candidate needs to do,” said Bush.