LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Democratic candidate John Kerry leads President Bush 51 percent to 44 percent among American voters in a two-way race for president, according to a Los Angeles Times poll published Thursday.

Kerry's margin of 7 percentage points shrinks only slightly to 6 percentage points, 48-42, in a three-way race with independent candidate Ralph Nader getting 4 percentage points, poll results show.

More than a third of those surveyed said they don't know enough about Kerry to decide whether he will make a better president than Bush. Asked who is more likely to flip-flop on issues, they chose Kerry by 2 to 1.

But by 56 percent to 16 percent, voters felt that Bush was ``too ideological and stubborn.'' They gave Kerry better marks for ideas for strengthening the economy, building respect for the U.S. around the world, and handling the problems of cost and access to health care.

The telephone poll surveyed 1,230 registered voters nationwide from Saturday to Tuesday. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.