WASHINGTON (AP) _ More than 1.5 million people have called Texas billionaire Ross Perot's 800 number to volunteer their services for petitions drives to get him on ballots as an independent presidential candidate.

Why are people flocking to Perot? Here is a sampling of how people answered that question in interviews by The Associated Press in all 50 states.

- President Bush ''took his eye off the ball when it came to the national economy,'' said Jayme Duff, 28, a Boston accountant who voted for Bush in 1988. He called Perot ''a straight talker'' with good ideas on fighting the deficit.

- ''Bush has shown that he is somewhat weak when it comes to dealing with Congress. I think Ross Perot would be much better at being strong with Congress,'' said Hal Gibbs, an attorney in Jefferson City, Mo.

- ''The thing about Ross Perot is that he isn't making big promises. He says people need to act like owners of Congress,'' said Matthew Tilley, Perot campaign coordinator for northern Maine. ''You can't reform from within. You have to come from the outside.''

- ''We need him, the people need him and the system needs him to come in and clean things up,'' said Yvonne Conway, 59, an Olympia, Wash., hairdresser.

- ''Ross Perot has the experience. He would make an extremely good diplomat for the country, and he has a no-nonsense, common sense attitude,' said Barbara F. Marsh of Pocatello, Idaho.

- ''For me, he's just a plain-talking fellow with positive ideas about getting the country in order and restoring its solvency,'' said John Schenk, an attorney in Glenwood Springs, Colo.

- ''We're just sick of politicians promising us the moon'' and doing little or nothing, said Rod Madsen, a Bozeman, Mont., businessman.