Voters Want Leadership, Vision from Candidates, Surveys Show

Article excerpt

Americans generally know what they're looking for in a president this year, even if only about a third of them are paying much attention to the coming election.

Of 1,496 adults interviewed for the most recent CNN-USA Today-Gallup Poll, the largest portion (44 percent) said they think it's "most important" for their candidate to possess "leadership skills and vision."

The candidate's "stance on the issues" is the prime consideration for 37 percent, while 17 percent rate that criterion equal to leadership and vision.

Seventy-four percent of 1,027 adults that Gallup questioned in a similar, but separate, survey said they think it doesn't matter who is "the wife or husband of the candidate." Just one-fourth of those queried think the candidate's spouse is in any way important to the selection of a president.

That separate survey also asked respondents, "What issues will be important to you when you vote in this year's presidential election?" The question has been asked in many news media surveys recently, and the results vary little from the latest Gallup findings. For example:

A large majority of the public (86 percent) is "extremely" or "very" concerned about "public education at the elementary and high school levels." It tops the list of 25 issues from which respondents could choose to select more than one.

"Policy on Social Security and Medicare for future generations" was listed by 82 percent. It ranks second.

Then, in order among the top concerns of 80 percent or more, come "the cost of health care," "the nation's economy" and "current policy concerning Social Security and Medicare benefits."

The poll of 1,027 persons solicited opinions on a variety of other issues too, among them the environment. …