Poll shows Kerry scores debate success


US presidential challenger Senator John Kerry has pulled ahead of President Bush in a poll published by Newsweek magazine showing Thursday's television debate erased the lead Mr Bush had enjoyed for the last month.

In a two-way contest, the Kerry/Edwards ticket in the November 2nd presidential election led by 49 per cent against 46 per cent for Bush/Cheney, according to 1,013 registered voters polled by Princeton Survey Research Associates International.

According to the poll, 61 per cent of Americans who watched the debate said Mr Kerry won, 19 per cent said Mr Bush won and 16 per cent said they tied. The number of debate viewers surveyed was 770.

Mr Bush's job approval rating dropped two points from the September 10th Newsweek poll to 46 per cent - a 6-point drop since the Republican national convention a month ago. Fifty-seven pe rcent of all poll respondents - a total of 1,144 adults - said they were dissatisfied with the way things were going in the United States now.

Sixty per cent of registered voters said Bush administration policies and diplomatic efforts had led to more anti-Americanism around the world and 51 per cent said the administration had not done enough to involve major allies and international organizations in trying to achieve its foreign policy goals, the poll showed.

However, 46 per cent of registered voters said they would still like to see Mr Bush re-elected, against 48 per cent who said they would not like to see him re-elected.

When registered voters were asked who would handle issues better overall,  Mr Bush led Mr Kerry 52 to 40 per cent on terrorism and homeland security.

Mr Kerry scored better on the economy - 52 per cent against 39 per cent - and health care, including Medicare - 56 per cent to 34 per cent. He was also seen to be better at handling American jobs and foreign competition - 54 per cent against 36 per cent.