- The Washington Times - Friday, April 25, 2003

New York voters who historically have supported Democrats would vote for President Bush over all potential Democratic challengers, including home-state Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, according to a new poll released yesterday.

Mr. Bush would best Mrs. Clinton 47 percent to 44 percent, said the Quinnipiac University poll. Fifty-nine percent say the former first lady shouldn't even enter the 2004 race.

New Yorkers were not so keen on President Bush three years ago. Mr. Bush was so far behind in the state back in the 2000 presidential election campaign that he minimized his campaign there.

The president now seems to be the darling of the Empire State, with a 58 percent approval rating, up from 50 percent in February.

Mr. Bush would defeat other Democratic presidential hopefuls there. He leads Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, 50 percent to 38 percent; Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, 50 percent to 38 percent and Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri, 49 percent to 38 percent.

A Republican has not won New York in a presidential election since Ronald Reagan in 1984.

But is it all just war bounce those good feelings that traditionally linger after a successful military campaign?

"Yes, there's some war bounce in there," said poll director Maurice Carroll yesterday. "But I don't think this is going to go away. I also think it's an indication that we've had a real cultural change in the United States. You don't get laughed at for being patriotic anymore."

Mr. Carroll recalled the president's visits with rescue workers and firefighters at ground zero after September 11.

"He's been decisive. He's been politically savvy," Mr. Carroll continued. "This is going to make the Democrats work a little harder and spend more money to keep a hold on New York."

Voters would rather have Mrs. Clinton "call Chappequa home than to try to go back to Pennsylvania Avenue," Mr. Carroll added.

There is some Democratic dwindling in another state as well.

"Californians' impression of the overall job performance of Democrats in Congress has declined, while those of Republican members have increased during the last year," noted a Field Research Poll released yesterday.

A year ago, 47 percent of Californians approved of the jobs their Democratic lawmakers did in Washington; 34 percent disapproved. The new survey found approval had dropped to 42 percent, while disapproval was up by six points to 40 percent.

Republicans, meanwhile, had a 43 percent approval and a 41 percent disapproval rate last year. Approval has now risen to 48 percent, while disapproval has dropped to 36 percent.

"My instincts say that this rise has to do with war bounce," said poll director Mark DiCamillo. "Usually, judgment of congressional lawmakers has more to do with domestic policy and the economy. We'll have to wait and see on this one."

Democratic lawmakers are getting mixed reviews in California.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein's ratings have slipped according to Field, a nonpartisan research group based in San Francisco. Mrs. Feinstein has a 49 percent approval rating, down from 56 percent in 2001, and a 28 percent disapproval rating, up from 24 percent.

Sen. Barbara Boxer's numbers have also slipped somewhat. The new poll now finds her with 44 percent approval rating, down from 48 percent in 2002, and 28 percent disapproval rating, up from 26 percent.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi garnered tepid numbers: 44 percent approved of her performance, 20 percent disapproved and 44 percent had no opinion.

The Quinnipiac poll of 885 New York registered voters was conducted April 15 to 21. The Field poll of 1006 California adults was conducted April 1 to 6.

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