Most Americans want their next president to be strong, decisive and of good moral character, but
fewer seem to care if he or she has been unfaithful to their spouse, or
even tried drugs.
A Gallup poll released on Thursday showed that while Republicans and
Democrats are essentially looking for the same qualities in the next
president of the United States, they differ on some important issues.
Some 77 percent of the 1,006 people polled across the country said the
next president must be a strong and decisive leader, although only 34
percent said the next incumbent
must have experience of government.
But where the two camps divided was on personal qualities. Only 37
percent in total said it was "absolutely essential" that the next US
leader has been a faithful spouse -- but broken down along party lines the
figure was 52 percent among Republicans and only 25 percent among
Gallup said this was the "starkest partisan gap" in the poll carried
out late last month and "may stem from opposing partisan perspectives on
the marital foibles of former president Bill Clinton."
As for the thorny issue of drugs, voters showed themselves to be more
tolerant with a total of 19 percent saying the next president should be
someone who has never tried drugs -- 22 percent among Republicans and 17
percent among Democrats.
Around a third of those polled said the next president had to be honest
and straightforward, making it the top of the five most desirable personal
qualities in the country's leader.
But Republicans also cited integrity and good moral character, while
Democrats preferred that he or she should listen to the people and not
lobbyists, and focus on domestic issues rather than foreign policy.
"Democrats have a greater interest than Republicans in wanting a
president who will consider public opinion when making decisions," the