WASHINGTON (AP) _ If Democratic voters had their say, John Edwards would be the choice as John Kerry's running mate, according to a poll released Monday.

Edwards, the North Carolina senator who dropped out of the presidential race last week, was the choice of 30 percent of voters who are Democrats or lean Democratic, according to a CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll.

Almost a dozen prominent Democrats were mentioned by poll respondents, but they drew support in the low single digits.

In a matchup of the presidential candidates, Kerry and President Bush were about even, Kerry at 47 percent and Bush at 45 percent with independent candidate Ralph Nader at 5 percent among registered voters. Kerry was slightly ahead 50-45 percent when only he and Bush were included in the question. In a three-way matchup among likely voters in the Gallup poll, Kerry had 50 percent, Bush 44 percent and Nader 2 percent.

An ABC-Washington Post poll out Monday found that almost six in 10, 57 percent, believe it's time for a new direction in the nation's leadership. The survey also found when people were asked whether Bush or Kerry would do a better job with the campaign against terrorism, Bush held more than a 20-point lead _ 57 percent to 36 percent.

In the ABC-Post poll, Kerry led Bush among registered voters by 53 percent to 44 percent, and had a slight edge in a three way race, 48 percent to 44 percent, to 3 percent for Nader.

The Gallup poll of 1,005 adults, including 892 registered voters, was conducted March 5-7 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, 4 percentage points for results with registered voters.

The ABC-Post poll of 936 registered voters was taken March 4-7 and has a margin of sampling error of 3 percentage points.