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Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) has a 10 percentage point lead over incumbent President George W. Bush among college students, according to a recent survey released by the Harvard University Institute of Politics.

The study reports that 48 percent of students intend to vote for Kerry, 38 percent for Bush and 5 percent for independent candidate Ralph Nader.

The support for Kerry was called "soft" in a press release from the IOP. The poll found that 37 percent of students said that they were not familiar enough with Kerry to form an opinion, or that they did not recognize his name.

College and Wharton sophomore Jennifer Bunn of the Penn Democrats said that these results are likely a reflection of "anti-Bush sentiment" among college students. She pointed out that many Penn students turned out to support Kerry at a rally on Friday in Center City.

College junior Stephanie Steward, chairwoman of the College Republicans, said that the poll was not likely a good reflection of Penn because she believes there are many students, especially in the Wharton School, who have conservative beliefs.

"As Kerry's policies become clearer," students will realize that "voting for him will be a mistake," Steward said.

The poll also found that support for the war in Iraq among college students fell from 58 percent six months ago to 49 percent in March.

Harvard sophomore Caitlin Monahan, one of the students who worked on the study, said that the poll was designed by Harvard students in conjunction with professor of Public Policy David King.

The results were then sent to a "private, nonpartisan polling firm," Monahan said.

The study also included an 11-question survey, called the "IOP Political Personality Test," which was designed to assess the political beliefs of America's college students in general.

The questionnaire included statements about taxes, minority issues, trade and religious values. Students were asked to select the degree to which they agreed or disagreed with the comments.

The study found that 41 percent of students identify themselves as independent of the traditional labels of "conservative" or "liberal," Monahan said.

The study was based on phone interviews with 1,205 randomly selected college students drawn from a database of 5.1 million students nationwide. It was conducted from March 12 to 13 by polling firm Scheiders/Della Volpe/Schulman.

The poll has a margin of error of 2.8 percent.

Students who wish to see how they compare can take the Political Personality Test on the IOP Web site.

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