Poll: Presidential Personality Contest


Religion is a dividing factor in vote preferences. About two-thirds of white Protestants support Bush, including evangelical white Protestants (a core Bush group, they favor him by 68 percent to 27 percent) and non-evangelicals (61 percent to 36 percent) alike.

Bush's support jumps to about nine in 10 among conservative evangelical white Protestants, who account for about one in 10 likely voters. Kerry, meanwhile, holds a 27-point lead among likely voters who profess no religion (also about one in 10 voters).

Bush has an edge among white Catholics, who, along with independents, are a key swing voter group in presidential elections (their majority preference changes from election to election, and there's enough of them to affect the outcome). Fifty-two percent favor him, 45 percent Kerry. But Kerry has narrowed this gap after trailing Bush by 17 points among white Catholics before the debates.

Vote by Religion
Support Bush Support Kerry
White Protestants65% 31
White Catholics52 45
No Religion35 62

White Protestants are more likely to say Bush better understands the problems of people like them, but on this question evangelicals and non-evangelicals differ: Evangelical white Protestants say Bush better understands them by a 40-point margin; non-evangelicals, by a smaller 11-point margin. White Catholics are nearly evenly split, while nonreligious people say Kerry better understands their problems by 38 points.


This poll was conducted by telephone Oct. 9-11 among a random national sample of 1,808 adults, including 1,575 registered voters and 1,232 likely voters. The results have a three-point error margin for the likely voter sample. Sampling, data collection and tabulation were done by TNS of Horsham, Pa.

Click here for PDF version with full questionnaire and results.

See previous analyses in our Poll Vault.

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