September 17, 2004


Bush Bounce Keeps On Going: President leads Kerry by 13 points among likely voters; 8 points among registered voters (David W. Moore, 9/17/04, GALLUP NEWS SERVICE)

In a new Gallup Poll, conducted Sept. 13-15, President George W. Bush leads Democratic candidate John Kerry by 55% to 42% among likely voters, and by 52% to 44% among registered voters. These figures represent a significant improvement for Bush since just before the beginning of the Republican National Convention.

In the immediate aftermath of that convention, a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll showed Bush receiving a modest bounce from his standing before the convention. Among likely voters, Bush's support was up two points and Kerry's was down two points. Among the larger sample of registered voters, Bush's support was up two points, while Kerry's was unchanged.

The bounce was small, whether measured among the likely or the registered voter groups, so that it was well within the margin of error of the post-convention poll. Given the sample sizes of the two groups, one could not say with 95% certainty that Bush's support had actually increased.

Now, in the new poll, the figures show Bush with a 13-point lead over Kerry among likely voters and an 8-point lead among registered voters. Both sets of figures represent significant increases in Bush's standing in the race since just before the beginning of the Republican convention in late August, when likely voters chose Bush over Kerry by a slight three-point margin (50% to 47%), and registered voters leaned toward Kerry by an even smaller margin of one point (48% to 47%). [...]

Bush's job approval rating has not changed in the past week and a half, though it did increase from 49% before the Republican National Convention to 52% right after -- where it has remained.

It's been pretty amusing watching Democrats cling to on-line poolls that show a tighter race this week even though every state poll has shown movement towards the President.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 17, 2004 8:54 AM

I suppose it would be nice on Election Night if someone at the Bush campaign headquarters would go on with the network correspondents and personally thank Dan Rathers for his help in the 2004 election. A crowd chant of "Dan! Dan! Dan!" would also be nice, and at the same time would make watching CBS' coverage of the returns fascinating to see.

Posted by: John at September 17, 2004 9:16 AM

Good news but plenty of time to go for the Dems to throw some stinkbombs and bring it close. I remember feeling pretty good the weekend before the 2000 election with polls showing Bush up about 4-6. Then the DUI hit and it went south quickly. And of course even if Bush wins big the GOP needs to bring along as many Senators and House people as possible.

Posted by: AWW at September 17, 2004 9:26 AM

The give-away is that both campaigns are acting like Gallup is right.

Posted by: David Cohen at September 17, 2004 9:40 AM

Like AWW I'm sure the Dems have some last minute slime in reserve, but it may be that the CBS debacle may innoculate Bush against even ironclad mud.

In any case Kerry's certainly going to narrow the poll gap in the next few weeks, so I'm still nervous. I'm not sure that any of the polls are accurate these days -- not spun, but just not able to tell the whole story. It seems like there are many unascertained variables in play the polls just aren't able to track.

Posted by: Twn at September 17, 2004 11:07 AM

We should give thanks to Dan because what he did has make it much harder for those stinkbombs to be effective. Unlike the one they dropped in 2000, now there will be a large number of people who will immediately think it's a fraud-- "There they go again". Also, as the speed that Dan got debunked shows, even droppping it on Friday, 29 Oct is enough time to counter anything obviously bad.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at September 17, 2004 11:36 AM

Polling is such fun. Rasmussen and Gallup closely agree on Bush's approval rating. 52% from Gallup, 53% from Rasmussen (Thursday 9/16 tracking poll).

So you'd think the two organizations would see the prez race pretty similarly, too, right?

Wrong. Rasmussen has the race close at 49-45 Bush. Gallup shows a blowout at 55-42 Bush.

The Bush approval rating numbers show the two pollsters are getting pretty similar samples, and probably doing pretty similar weightings. So why the huge diff?

Wish I had an answer. Rasmussen blew the 2000 prez race to smithereens, so maybe they always shade their numbers toward the scaredy-cat too-close-to-call cop-out.

Gallup got the 2000 race pretty close, so they may just let the numbers ride.

Posted by: Casey Abell at September 17, 2004 12:13 PM


It seems pertinent that within the profession on-line polls like those Zogby, Rasmussen and Harris are doing are considered suspect.

Posted by: oj at September 17, 2004 12:22 PM

AWW-- It's not the stinkbombs I'm worried about.

Posted by: Timothy at September 17, 2004 12:27 PM

Rasmussen's poll isn't any more "online" than Gallup's is. You can find the results of both surveys on the web.

The real difference in methodology is that Rasmussen uses machines to call, while Gallup employs old-fashioned carbon-based organisms.

Still doesn't explain how they can get such similar job-approval ratings for Bush but such different horserace numbers.

Posted by: Casey Abell at September 17, 2004 12:38 PM

Re future stinkbombs, some speculation has been that the forged memos were supposed to set up Bush for a charge of cocaine use back in his Guard days. Maybe they're even now recreating some "documentation" with their new appreciation of the limits of '70s typography.

Posted by: PapayaSF at September 17, 2004 1:20 PM

The DUI charge was effective then because people didn't really know Bush. To 90% of the country, he was an unknown politician from Texas.

But in 2004, people *do* know Bush, and the reaction to a DUI-type bombshell would be a shrug and "WHATever." "I know what the dude believes in and I know how he works, and if he snorted crack 35 years ago, so what?"

Posted by: ray at September 17, 2004 3:45 PM

It's just the same with the National Guard stuff, Ray, as I've concluded over the course of this week. This story is _old_ - it's been kicking around in various guises since 1999 and was flogged to a fare-thee-well this past spring. I suspect a lot of people, aside from the Schadenfreude of watching CBS News immolate itself, are just plain tired of that story.

Posted by: Joe at September 17, 2004 6:49 PM

I saw an item (I think from CaptainsQuarters or PowerLine) that women like seeing pictures of Bush in his Guard uniform. Especially in comparison to Kerry in fatigues, testifying and protesting.

For a campaign that picked Edwards based on looks, one would think they could figure this out. But perhaps Kerry thinks he is irresistable.

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 18, 2004 12:09 AM