The Iraq war looks set to be the biggest factor affecting the way U.S. voters cast their ballots in next year's presidential election, according to a poll published Thursday.
Forty-three percent of the respondents in the USA Today/Gallup poll said the conflict would be the most important issue when they decide who to vote for in 2008.
The poll found that 57 percent of the respondents thought the Iraq war was a mistake while 41 percent were of the opposite opinion.
Economy ranked second in importance, with 15 percent of those surveyed saying it would be the biggest issue at the polling station. Next was healthcare (10 percent), homeland security (7 percent), education (6 percent) and illegal immigration (5 percent).
Only 3 percent chose terrorism as their most important issue.
Among the Democratic presidential candidates, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and former senator John Edwards of North Carolina were separately favored by 52 percent of those surveyed. Hillary Clinton, a senator from New York, was favored by 45 percent. Among Democratic voters and those leaning toward the party, however, Clinton is supported by 31 percent, followed by Obama with 26 percent and John Edwards with 16 percent.
Former vice president Al Gore, who has not announced candidacy for next year's presidential election, was favored by 15 percent.
In the Republican field, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani was favored by 57 percent of the respondents. He was followed by Senator John McCain of Arizona with 51 percent, and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney with 23 percent.
Giuliani was favored by 35 percent among those who identified themselves as Republicans or lean that way, McCain by 22 percent and Romney by 9 percent.
The poll was taken between last Friday and Sunday among 1,007 adults and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.