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Gary Younge
Voters fail to back Bush priorities

An Associated Press poll showed voters support, by a huge majority, cutting the country's enormous deficit rather than slashing taxes.

By a narrow margin, voters also back the nomination of a supreme court judge who will preserve abortion rights.

More than 25% of the respondents, who were questioned in the three days after the election, listed Iraq as the top priority for Mr Bush's second term, ahead of terrorism, the economy and healthcare in that order. Seven out of 10, including a majority of Democrats, said they would prefer US troops to stay in Iraq until the country is stable.

Only 2% named taxes as the top priority and when asked specifically whether they would prefer the president to balance the budget or cut taxes further they favoured balancing the budget by two to one.

Following his victory President Bush said: "I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it."

Yet few of his priorities, namely the privatisation of social security, tax laws and medical malpractice surfaced as being a big concern for voters.

Most were relieved that the election had been concluded quickly compared with 2000.

Though there have been some claims that ballots in some quarters were tampered with, 54% said the election results had improved their confidence in the electoral system. Six in 10, including a third of Democrats, said they felt "hopeful" after the election.

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