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Poll: Bush would lose an election if held this year

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President Bush would not get re-elected if an election were held this year, according to a CNN poll.

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(CNN) -- A majority would vote for a Democrat over President Bush if an election were held this year, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll released Tuesday.

In the latest poll, 55 percent of the respondents said that they would vote for the Democratic candidate if Bush were again running for the presidency this year.

Thirty-nine percent of those interviewed said they would vote for Bush in the hypothetical election.

The latest poll results, released Tuesday, were based on interviews with 1,008 adults conducted by telephone October 21-23.

In the poll, 42 percent of those interviewed approved of the way the president is handling his job and 55 percent disapproved. In the previous poll, released October 17, 39 percent approved of Bush's job performance -- the lowest number of his presidency -- and 58 percent disapproved.

However, all the numbers are within the poll's sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, so it's possible that the public's opinion has not changed at all.

More than half, 57 percent, said they don't agree with the president's views on issues that are important to them, while 41 percent said their views are in alignment with those of Bush on important issues.

Democrats preferred on issues

On separate issues, a majority of those questioned felt the Democrats could do a better job than Republicans at handling health care (59 percent to 30 percent), Social Security (56 percent to 33 percent), gasoline prices (51 percent to 31 percent) and the economy (50 percent to 38 percent).

Forty-six percent also believed Democrats could do better at handling Iraq, while 40 percent said the GOP would do better.

In 2003, 53 percent said Republicans would better handle Iraq and only 29 percent believed the Democrats would do better.

The only issue on which Republicans came out on top was in fighting terrorism: 49 percent said the GOP is better at it, while 38 percent said the Democrats are.

And there was a dramatic shift downward in the latest poll, compared with September, in the percentage of people who said that it was a mistake to send U.S. troops to Iraq.

This time, 49 percent said it was a mistake, versus 59 percent who felt that way last month.

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