- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 20, 2004

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Four in 10 of Iowa’s Democratic caucusgoers decided in the past week which candidate to support, and they went toward Sens. John Kerry of Massachusetts and John Edwards of North Carolina over the other hopefuls, an Associated Press survey found.

Mr. Kerry and Mr. Edwards each won support from one-third of those who decided in the past week, while former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean got about 15 percent of that group and Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri 10 percent, according to the entrance poll conducted for AP and television networks by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International.

Mr. Kerry got an especially strong boost from voters who said the most important candidate quality was that he “has the right experience.”

Among the roughly 15 percent of voters who said that, more than half told pollsters they supported Mr. Kerry last night.

Mr. Edwards did best among the one in four caucusgoers who said the most important quality was that their candidate “cares about people like me.” Mr. Dean did best among those whose top quality for a candidate was that he “takes strong stands on the issues.”

About three in 10 caucusgoers selected the economy and jobs as the most important issue in their decision; about as many picked health care. About 15 percent picked the war in Iraq, and about 40 percent of those voters favored Mr. Dean.

Mr. Gephardt won support from more than half who cited U.S. trade policy as the top issue, but only about 5 percent said that.

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