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Poll: Terrorism, Iraq very important to midterm voters

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(CNN) -- Terrorism and the Iraq war will play very important roles in the votes of a large majority of Americans when they go to the polls for the November midterm election, a new CNN poll shows.

On terrorism, 49 percent of the 1,009 respondents to the survey conducted by Opinion Research Corp. said it would be extremely important in deciding their congressional choices in November. Thirty-three percent said terrorism was very important, and 14 percent said it was moderately important.

On Iraq, the numbers were statistically identical to the terrorism results, with 46 percent saying the issue was extremely important, 36 percent very important and 14 percent moderately important. (Read the complete poll data -- PDF)

Taken together, terrorism and Iraq were at least moderately important to 96 percent of respondents.

The Iraq war was opposed by 59 percent of those responding and favored by 40 percent.

The numbers from the September 22-24 survey were statistically unchanged from a poll conducted in early August.

The margin of error on the Iraq and terror questions was plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. The margin for the other questions was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The last day of the recent survey coincided with reports on leaks from a classified U.S. intelligence document that says the Iraq war has increased the threat of terrorism. (Full story) (Watch how parties spar on report leaks -- 2:12)

Asked which party in Congress would better handle specific issues, respondents backed Republicans on terrorism (47 percent to 41 percent), while Democrats were again seen as better able to handle the economy (51-39), health care (57-32), immigration (44-40) and moral issues such as same-sex marriage and stem cell research (47-40).

By a margin of 47 percent to 42 percent, Democrats were seen as the party better able to handle the situation in Iraq -- another figure that is virtually unchanged since August.

Among the 573 likely voters responding, 55 percent said they would vote for a Democrat if the election were held now, while 42 percent said they would vote for a Republican.

The poll also showed President Bush's approval rating is holding steady, virtually unchanged since the start of August.

Forty-two percent of the adults questioned approve of how the president is handling his job, while 55 percent disapprove.

In early August, a CNN poll showed an approval rating for the president of 40 percent.


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