Sunday, September 12, 2004

WASHINGTON- President Bush (news - web sites) has a slight lead over Democrat John Kerry (news - web sites) in an Associated Press poll, but the president has a big advantage on protecting the country — the issue voters say they care about most.
"If we don't take care of the terrorists, we certainly won't have to worry about the economy," said Janet Cross, 57, of Portsmouth, Ohio, who switched from Democrat to Republican for the last election.

Seven weeks before Election Day, Bush is considered significantly more decisive, strong and likable than Kerry, and he has strengthened his position on virtually every issue important to voters, from the war in Iraq (news - web sites) and creating jobs — two sources of criticism — to matters of national security and values.

Since the Democratic National Convention ended in late July, the president has erased any gains Kerry had achieved while reshaping the political landscape in his favor: Nearly two-thirds of voters think protecting the country is more important than creating jobs, and Bush is favored over Kerry by a whopping 23 percentage points on who would keep the United States safe.

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