Ratings of Bush and Kerry follow a similar pattern as vote choice. Married men and women are more likely to approve of the job Bush is doing as president and to have a favorable impression of him. Among singles, though, some gender differences appear -- single men are closely split on their ratings of Bush, while single women by double digits disapprove of Bush's work in office and view him unfavorably.
Married likely voters are also more apt to call Bush the stronger leader and the more honest and trustworthy candidate. Again, single women are particularly negative on Bush. They're the least likely to call Bush the stronger leader, and the most likely to call Kerry more honest, clearer in his positions, and -- by 25 points -- to say he better understands their problems. Marrieds, in contrast, call Bush more empathetic.
Married voters are more likely to be Republicans, while single voters are far more likely to be Democrats (especially single women) -- helping to explain their vote differences. Singles are also more apt to be liberals, to be younger, to be minorities and to be in lower-income households -- all groups that are part of Kerry's base.
Bush's base, however, is larger. If, as usual, many more married voters show up at the polls on Election Day than single ones, Kerry will need to close the gap with Bush among married women.
This poll was conducted Oct. 19-21 among a random national sample of 1,803 adults, including 1,592 registered voters and 1,110 likely voters. The results have a three-point error margin for the likely voter sample. ABC News and "The Washington Post" are sharing data collection for this tracking poll, then independently applying their own models to arrive at likely voter estimates. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by TNS of Horsham, Pa.
See previous analyses in our Poll Vault.