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Inside Politics

Poll: Edwards viewed favorably

Inexperience seen as a weakness
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America Votes 2004
John Edwards
John F. Kerry
George W. Bush

(CNN) -- Tuesday's selection of Sen. John Edwards as the Democratic vice presidential candidate is being viewed favorably by most American voters, according a new poll, although they do see the one-term senator's limited experience in political office as a liability.

A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, taken Tuesday, found that 64 percent of registered voters surveyed called the choice of Edwards excellent or pretty good, while 28 percent termed it only fair or poor.

Seventy percent said they were either enthusiastic or satisfied by the choice, while 19 percent described themselves as dissatisfied or angry.

Still, two-thirds of the registered voters queried said the selection of Edwards would have no impact on their vote in November, while about a quarter said it would make them more likely to vote for presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry.

The poll also showed that Edwards was popular, but still somewhat unknown.

Asked their opinion of him, 54 percent of respondents viewed him favorably and 16 percent unfavorably, but 30 percent said they were unsure.

By contrast, registered voters in the poll were more sure, and more divided, when asked how they felt about Vice President Dick Cheney.

His favorable rating was 43 percent, with 44 percent viewing him unfavorably and 13 percent unsure.

When asked about Edwards' limited experience in office -- a point Republicans are hammering home -- 55 percent said it was a weakness, while 40 percent called it was a strength.

However, 57 percent still said they thought Edwards was qualified to serve as president if called upon to fill the office, compared to 29 percent who said he was not.

Edwards was elected to the Senate in 1998 in his first run for political office.

He decided not to seek re-election to pursue the Democratic presidential nomination this year, coming in second to Kerry in the primaries.

Before becoming a senator, Edwards was a personal injury trial lawyer, another point that has been a focus of GOP attack.

The poll showed that 67 percent of voters surveyed said his work as a trial lawyer was a strength, while only 27 percent viewed it as a weakness.

The percentage of voters who called the selection of Edwards good or excellent -- 64 percent -- was about 10 points higher than the percentages of voters in 2000 who were pleased with either President Bush's choice of Cheney or Democrat Al Gore's choice of Sen. Joe Lieberman.

But approval for Tuesday's pick trailed the 1992 selection of Gore by former President Bill Clinton, which was embraced by 70 percent of the voters.

The margin of error in the poll of 553 registered voters was plus or minus 5 percentage points.

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