April 19, 2004


Poll Shows New Gains For Bush: Lead Over Kerry Widens On Issues of Security (Richard Morin and Dan Balz, April 20, 2004, Washington Post)

President Bush holds significant advantages over John F. Kerry in public perceptions of who is better equipped to deal with Iraq and the war on terrorism, and he has reduced the advantages his Democratic challenger held last month on many domestic issues, according to a Washington Post-ABC News Poll.

The poll also found that Iraq and the war on terrorism have surged in importance, and ranked with the economy and jobs as top voting issues. Despite signs of concern among Americans about the violence in Iraq, the poll showed Bush's approval ratings holding steady and Kerry's slipping on a variety of issues and attributes.

By 49 percent to 44 percent, Bush was viewed as better able to deal with the country's biggest problems. Five weeks ago, those numbers were reversed. By comfortable margins, voters saw Bush as stronger than Kerry on key national security issues.

On the economy, Bush has erased Kerry's 12-point edge and is tied with the senator from Massachusetts on who can better deal with the country's economic problems.

In a matchup, Bush held a lead of 48 percent to 43 percent over Kerry among registered voters, with independent Ralph Nader at 6 percent. In early March, shortly after he effectively wrapped up the Democratic nomination, Kerry led Bush by 48 percent to 44 percent.

Poll: Bush increasing lead on Kerry (CNN, April 19, 2004)
President Bush increased his lead over Sen. John Kerry in a CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll released Monday, but fewer than half of the respondents said they approved of the way Bush is handling of the war in Iraq.

Bush led Kerry, the presumptive Democratic nominee, 51 percent to 46 percent in the survey of likely voters, which was conducted Friday through Sunday. The survey interviewed 1,003 adults, including a subsample of 767 respondents deemed most likely to vote in November.

When consumer activist Ralph Nader's independent candidacy was factored in, the survey's results were 50 percent for Bush, 44 percent for Kerry and 4 percent for Nader among likely voters.

The previous CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll, conducted April 5-8, showed Bush leading Kerry 48 percent to 45 percent among likely voters.

U.S. Leading Economic Indicators Rose 0.3% in March (Bloomberg, 4/19/04)
The index of leading economic indicators rose 0.3 percent in March and had its greatest year-on- year increase in two decades as the U.S. expansion gained momentum.

Companies took longer to fill orders in March, showing an increase in demand, while jobless claims fell, building permits rose and tax refunds put more money in the hands of consumers. The indicators helped push up the Conference Board's index, which was unchanged in February after 10 consecutive increases.

The increase suggests that economists may need to reconsider their projections for growth in the second quarter. The economy is forecast to expand 4.3 percent at an annual rate this quarter, compared with 4.4 percent in January-March, according to the median forecast in the most recent monthly Bloomberg News economist survey. For the year, growth may average 4.6 percent, the fastest since 1984, according to the survey.

It's morning in America. [Mourning in France.]

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 19, 2004 11:07 AM
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