Americans have the warmest feelings about former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Republican Sen. John McCain and Democratic Sen. Barack Obama, the poll by Quinnipiac University showed.
The university's "thermometer reading," taken the week after the Nov. 7 election, asked voters to rate their feelings for 20 leaders on a scale of 0 to 100.
Kerry, the 2004 Democratic nominee who was roundly criticized before the election for suggesting that students who don't study could end up stuck in Iraq, came in last at 39.6.
Kerry later apologized for what he said was a botched joke.
Giuliani, a Republican weighing a presidential bid in 2008, scored the highest at 64.2. Obama and McCain, who are also considering a 2008 campaign, finished next at 58.8 and 57.7.
President Bush was 15th out of 20 while his secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, was fourth and former President Clinton fifth.
Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman, who lost the Democratic primary before winning re-election as an independent, ranked sixth with a score of 52.7.
New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton scored ninth of the 20 leaders with a score of 49.
Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi, in line to become the next House Speaker, improved her standing, moving from last to 12th in a few weeks. The next Senate Majority leader, Democrat Harry Reid, was 19th.
"As we enter the presidential campaign of 2008, Giuliani and McCain are in enviable positions," said Peter Brown, assistant poll director. "They are well-regarded and most Americans are quite familiar with them. Obama's showing is impressive, but four in 10 Americans still don't know enough about him to have an opinion."
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