August 25, 2004


Bush Overtakes Kerry in Latest L.A. Times Poll (Ronald Brownstein, August 25, 2004, LA Times)

President Bush heads into next week's Republican national convention with voters moving slightly in his direction since July amid signs that John F. Kerry has been nicked by attacks on his service in Vietnam, a Los Angeles Times Poll has found.

For the first time this year in a Times survey, Bush led Kerry in the presidential race, drawing 49 percent among registered voters, compared to 46 percent for the Democrat. In a Times Poll just before the Democratic convention last month, Kerry held a 2 percentage point advantage over Bush.

That small shift from July was within the poll's margin of error. But it fit with other findings in the Times Poll showing the electorate edging toward Bush over the past month on a broad range of measures, from support for his handling of Iraq to confidence in his leadership and honesty. [...]

The Times Poll, supervised by polling director Susan Pinkus, interviewed 1,597 adults, including 1,352 registered voters nationwide, from Aug. 21-24. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. [...]

The poll spotlighted another challenge for Kerry. After a Democratic convention that focused much more on Kerry's biography than his agenda, just 58 percent said they knew even a fair amount about the policies he would pursue as president; nearly four in ten said they knew not much or nothing at all.

By comparison, even though Bush has put forward few specifics about his second-term priorities, 70 percent said they had a good idea of the policies he would pursue. Compared with the trend of modest erosion for Kerry in the poll, Bush either slightly gained ground or stabilized his position on several measures.

Bush's overall approval rating, which many analysts consider the best single gauge of his prospects in November, stood at 52 percent, with 47 percent disapproving; the numbers last month were 51 percent to 48 percent.

Still not paring down to likely voters but even that can't save the Senator. If you think he's been acting crazy this week just wait.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 25, 2004 11:10 PM

oj, are you implying that the Kerry death march, aka THE WORST PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN EVER, can possibly sink lower?

Posted by: andy at August 26, 2004 12:15 AM

In addition to ignoring likely voters, this poll has a typical LA Times oversample of Democrtats (39%-32%). If you adjust for sample likely voters AND a more representative sample, Bush is probably leading by 10 points.

Posted by: sam at August 26, 2004 6:23 AM

I told my husband it would be advisable for authorities to close all bridges and tall buildings on election day.

Posted by: Buttercup at August 26, 2004 8:30 AM

Any chance that the results are skewed in Bush's favor to show he didn't get a bounce after the convention?

Posted by: Jana at August 26, 2004 8:31 AM


Why? Think of it as evolution in action.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at August 26, 2004 9:03 AM


A less violent alternative: lease about 30 jumbo jets, have them parked at LAX, JFK, and Logan, and then be ready to fly to Paris on Nov. 3. But upon landing, all passports must be surrendered.

Posted by: jim hamlen at August 26, 2004 10:29 AM

This sounds like great news, so I'll just ask my fellow BroJudd regulars if there is any reason I should also balance this result with the latest Zogby poll (which reportedly has Kerry up by 7).

Posted by: Matt Murphy at August 26, 2004 12:17 PM

I'd like to see Kerry-who-by-the-way-Served-In-Vietnam have a Dean-scream meltdown on the air. We need more craziness in our politics -- keeps things from getting too dull.

Posted by: Ken at August 26, 2004 12:21 PM


We're about two weeks away from the first mahjor re-examination of the race asking if the Democrats made a mistake choosing Kerry over Dean. I think they did.

Posted by: oj at August 26, 2004 12:25 PM

Yeah, I've heard rumblings that Bush is going to let Kerry-who-Served-In-Vietnam tire himself out then come back swinging in September and October, with the GOP Convention as a kickoff. Sort of a Muhammad Ali style of "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" until your opponent gets tired, then "rope the dope" for the kill.

Bush was also quite a poker player during his party-animal college days. One of the classic strategies in poker is to bluff in a way that looks like you're holding a weak hand, let the other guy get confident enough he's got you to up the ante big-time, then at the end you drop the Royal Flush in his face and rake in the chips.

Posted by: Ken at August 26, 2004 8:40 PM