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Americans like Bush's qualities, poll says

Yet Democrats said to have edge on many domestic issues

Bush waves to cameras Tuesday at the Summit of the Americas in Monterrey, Mexico.
Bush waves to cameras Tuesday at the Summit of the Americas in Monterrey, Mexico.

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(CNN) -- Two-thirds of Americans think President Bush has the right personal qualities for the presidency, yet nearly half or more think the Democratic Party would do a better job on major domestic issues, according to a new poll.

A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released Tuesday interviewed 1,003 adult Americans last weekend on Bush and national issues ranging from the environment to security.

The poll indicated that Bush's favorable standing with most Americans on his personal qualities is a main reason for his job approval rating of 59 percent in the most recent CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll and similar high marks in other polls.

The poll also showed that 55 percent of those interviewed agree with Bush on the issues that matter to them.

"With previous polls showing that voters are paying more attention to personal qualities than issues right now, it looks as if Bush's strength is who he is, more than what he stands for," CNN pollster Keating Holland said.

Split on issues

The poll showed that though most Americans give the edge to the Democratic Party on domestic issues, the Republican Party retains an advantage on security issues and world affairs, and Bush gets credit for that.

At least 50 percent or more of those interviewed said the Democratic Party would do a better job on such issues as the environment, health care and education.

Nearly 50 percent preferred the Democrats on issues such as the budget deficit, the economy and taxes.

But on issues such as terrorism, the Iraq war, world affairs and gun policy, those interviewed gave the nod to the Republicans.

On other questions, less than half of those interviewed said they thought a terrorist attack is likely in the United States in the next few weeks.

But that is not a personal concern for many Americans -- only about one in nine of those interviewed said they thought terrorism was likely in their community.

Three-quarters said they think Bush has addressed the fundamental security risks the country faces.

The poll had a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percentage points.

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