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Inside Politics

Edwards tops Kerry veep poll

Gephardt would be respondents' second choice


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(CNN) -- Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina gets the most enthusiastic response from Americans asked in a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll about possible running mates for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry.

Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri places a solid second in the poll released Tuesday.

Seventy-two percent said they would be enthusiastic or satisfied with an Edwards pick, compared with 64 percent for Gephardt. (Interactive: Results of the poll)

Both Edwards and Gephardt sought the Democratic nomination before abandoning their campaigns as Kerry, a four-term U.S. senator from Massachusetts, pulled ahead.

Poll respondents were also asked to consider retired Gen. Wesley Clark, Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana and Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack.

Respondents said they were enthusiastic or satisfied with those men at percentages of 59, 58 and 54, respectively.

CNN polling director Keating Holland said higher name recognition could account for the stronger support for Edwards and Gephardt.

Holland noted that the poll attempted to compensate for the higher visibility of some of the men by reading respondents a description of each man's experience and background.

Even with that information available to them, most respondents indicated they would be most satisfied with Edwards and Gephardt.

Kerry has said little about his consideration of a running mate. The four-day Democratic National Convention, at which Kerry is due to accept his party's presidential nomination, begins July 26 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Edwards -- who was Kerry's strongest rival during the primary season -- has stumped for Kerry in recent weeks. Kerry had a private meeting with Edwards last week on Capitol Hill.

The poll, based on interviews with 1,005 adult Americans, was conducted by telephone June 21 through June 23.

A Kerry-Edwards ticket either satisfied or made 80 percent of the Democrats enthusiastic, along with 62 percent of Republicans. Only Bayh approached that last number, with 57 percent of the GOP voters saying they would be satisfied with his candidacy with Kerry.

Edwards scored lowest in the "dissatisfied" categories -- 14 percent of Democrats said they'd be dissatisfied if Kerry chose him, along with 26 percent of Republicans.

Gephardt and Clark's 36 percent dissatisfied rating among Republicans was highest, and Vilsack followed at 34 percent each among Democrats and Republicans.

Seven percent of Republicans said a Kerry-Clark ticket would make them angry, and 5 percent said a Kerry-Gephardt ticket would do the same for them.


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