02/19/2004 - So far, the presidential primary campaign has been very good for the Democratic Party. Public interest in the race has been relatively high. Nearly half of Americans (45%) have a positive overall impression of the Democratic field, up from 31% just a month ago. And while a slim majority of the public continues to believe that President Bush will win the general election, there also has been a sharp rise in the percentage who feel a Democratic candidate will prevail in November from 21% in January to 36% in the current survey.
Democrats themselves have become much more engaged, and confident, since the start of their party's primary campaign, but the shift has been notable among independents as well. In January, 47% of Democrats and just 27% of independents gave positive ratings to the Party's field. Currently, 61% of Democrats and 44% of independents express a positive opinion of the Democratic candidates. And significantly more Democrats and independents predict Democratic victory than did so in January.
At a time when President Bush's approval ratings and personal image are in sharp decline, the leading Democratic presidential candidates have made a positive impression on the public. Two-thirds (67%) of those familiar enough with Sen. John Kerry to rate him have a favorable view of him; Sen John Edwards' favorable rating is nearly as high (63%), though fewer people are familiar with him than they are with Kerry.
Read the full report Democratic Primary Campaign Impresses Voters on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Web site.