Poll of voters bears out contest results

By Jon Dougherty

As political analysts, lawmakers and administration officials continue to sort out the implications of the historic off-year gains made by Republicans in yesterday’s election, polls indicate that voters side with the White House more than Democrats on key issues.

For instance, 56 percent of voters yesterday believe Bush’s national security policies have made the U.S. a safer place since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., according to a survey conducted by veteran pollster Scott Rasmussen.

“In a pattern repeated on many key issues, Democratic voters disagreed with the majority,” Rasmussen said. “Forty-six percent of Democrats believe that the Bush policies have made it more dangerous to live in the U.S. Just 32 percent of Democratic voters believe the president has created a safer country.”

Unaffiliated voters gave Bush high marks for national security; they believe the country is safer under Bush by a 52-29 percent margin, Rasmussen said.

Most voters, he said, also agreed with Bush that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein must be removed from power. But on the question of whether the U.S. should dispatch ground troops to depose him, the public is more evenly divided.

“Forty-five percent say they favor sending ground troops, while 42 percent are opposed,” said the survey. “Republicans overwhelmingly support the policy, [while] Democrats are overwhelmingly opposed, and unaffiliateds are split” on the question.

On the economy, 49 percent of voters said they trusted Bush on “matters involving the federal budget, taxes and deficits.” Of that figure, unsurprisingly, 83 percent of Republicans favored the Bush approach while 72 percent of Democrats preferred the policies of their representatives in Congress, the survey found.

“Among unaffiliated voters, the president’s approach was preferred 44 percent to 37 percent.,” the poll said.

Also, a plurality of voters – 38 percent – said the Bush tax cuts have helped the economy, while 29 percent said they hurt. Another 29 percent felt the cuts had little or no impact.

“Once again, Democratic voters disagreed with the majority,” said Rasmussen. “Forty-six percent of Democrats say the tax cuts hurt the economy while only 16 percent say they helped.”

Unaffiliated voters were more favorably inclined toward the president’s policy; 37 percent say the tax cuts helped, while just 30 percent say they hurt the economy.

The telephone survey of 1,000 voters was conducted on Election Day by Scott Rasmussen Public Opinion Research. The margin of sampling error is 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.